Ingredients: (Serves 6)
1 packet of pre-packaged frozen Quail (usually comes in packs of 6)
3 Tablespoons Cooking Oil, 1 small pot of Low fat yogurt or 1/2 can coconut lite milk, 2 large onions, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger
Spices: 4 coriander seeds, 2 bayleafs, 2 cardamoms, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 black peppercorns, 3 cloves, 2 heaped teaspoons of coriander powder, 2 level teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder.
Handful of lightly toasted slivered almonds for garnishing
1. Prepare the quail by washing it thoroughly, taking care to remove all skin and any tiny feathers. Drain off any excess water and pat dry.
2. Finely dice 1 onion and fry it in 3 tablespoons of cooking oil until the onion is golden brown.
3. Using a blender, blend the other onion along with the ginger and garlic as indicated above and add to the browned onions. Stir well on medium heat allowing the blended mix to fry with the already browned onions.
4. Next add all the massala as follows: 4 coriander seeds, 2 bayleafs, 2 cardamoms, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 black peppercorns, 3 cloves, 2 heaped teaspoons of coriander powder, 2 level teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder. Stir well.
5. Add 1/2 cup of water and allow the spices to blend in well, stirring all the while on low heat. (Add water as necessary to make a smooth paste like massala. Don’t add too much since the yogurt or coconut milk that we’ll be adding later on will make sufficient massala).
6. Add the quail and fry on high heat for 7-10 minutes, making sure you turn them over frequently for even browning.
7. Lower the heat then add 1 small pot of plain non-fat yogurt or lite coconut milk and stir well. (Before adding the yogurt/coconut milk, stir it well for a smoother massala). Mix the yogurt/coconut milk into the massala really well ensuring it doesnt curdle and allowing for the flavours to go in.
8. Lower the heat, cover with lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is soft and soaked in the massala. Then remove from heat.
The next step is optional but really does enhance the flavour.
9. To make “beresta” (or crispy fried onions) – slice 1/2 onion into really thin strips and fry until brown in one tablespoon of oil. You’ll want to brown them really well until almost crispy. Add just a dash of salt. Once done, add to the pan by sprinkling all over. Put the lid back on.
10. Finally, in a teaspoon of oil, fry a handful of slivered almonds until fairly brown and then sprinkle over the top of the dish when serving. (Remember to remove the bayleafs and cardamoms when serving).
Recommendations: Serve with pilau rice.
Recipe & image by Sabina Huq