Here's a dish i cooked recently...inspired by yes, you guessed it, the food of David Thompson (who's currently a little preoccupied setting up Nahm in Bangkok). It's actually a technique I learnt doing fish dishes at the restaurant, but works well with all sorts, like quail, which I'm a big fan of.
The sauce is a something I made after chatting to one our Thai chefs, it uses vinegar as opposed to the normal lime juice found in many Thai dipping sauces (nahm jims), works well methinks.
Garlic, coriander root and white pepper is central combo here. It's one of the fundamental Thai flavour bases, dating back to way before chillies arrived in the country (about 1500 i'm told).
Cant take the credit for the nice pic.... my friend Ben took it.
Thai quail with crispy garlic & chilli-vinegar sauce
Ingredients (serves 4 - 6 as part of a Thai meal)
- 4 quail, 'oven ready'
- kecap manis (a dark sweet soy which you can find at most asian stores)
- a good handful of garlic cloves, skin on (ideally the small Thai garlic cloves but about 2 bulbs of normal if you cant find)
- 5 - 6 coriander roots, washed
- a tablespoon of whole white peppercorns
- plentiful plain oil to deep fry with
- some fresh coriander and a lime for garnish
- 4 fresh long red chillies
- one clove of garlic
- 2 coriander roots
- pinch of salt
- pinch white sugar
- Thai coconut vinegar, failing that white rice vinegar - about 2 tablespoons
Cut each quail in to 4 pieces leaving the meat on the bone. Marinate in about 3 tablespoons of kecap manis (you could use light soy plus pinch of sugar if you don't have KM) for a few hours, overnight is better still.
When you're ready to cook make your sauce first: de-seed the chillies, chop and pound in pestle and mortar with the salt, coriander roots an garlic clove until smooth. Now add the vinegar and pinch of white sugar to taste.
Next make your paste for the quail by pounding together the roots, peppercorns and garlic (yes with skin still on) until a coarse fragrant paste, not too fine is err... fine.
Get plenty of oil heated up to deep fry, when it's really hot add half your paste and then half the marinated quail. What you want to do now is wait until the paste turns to light golden crispiness, skim it off and set it aside to drain on some paper and then continue to fry the birds until they're cooked (which should take about 4-5 mins in total), then fish them out a let rest for couple o mins.
Repeat with the other half the paste and quail, make sure you give your oil a good skim in between to remove any gubbins that'll go black n 'orrible.
Serve the quail with crispy garlic mix and some coriander sprinkled over and then a lime wedge and dipping sauce on the side.
Thanks again to Ben for the pic.