A traditional Thailand quail recipe with a complimentary black rice creation!
Chinatown Las Vegas is a fun place to shop for food. There are several great markets in Chinatown that sell hard to find items at a nice price. Many items that the western world considers to be gourmet items have been cooked for thousands of years by chefs in asian countries.
A typical American market sells quail, duck and squab at a very high price, because they know that those with gourmet tastes will pay the price. A Chinese market sells those items at such a high volume, that the price can be much lower than an American market. Pork is the most popular meat in asia and the price of fresh pork cuts at a Chinese market are nearly half the price of a regular grocery store's pork products. The 99 Ranch Market in Chinatown sells so much pork, that the sound of meat saws can be heard from opening to closing time everyday!
Quail that is quartered and quickly stir fried is a popular entree in Japan, China and Thailand. I have watched a few asian movies that had a scene where wealthy guests dine on stir fried quail that was cooked table side. Quail is a delicacy worldwide and quail is often a bargain priced wild meat at a good Chinese market. I happened to purchase six quail for a little over $9.00 at the 99 Ranch Market last week. That is a very nice price! The only way to get quail cheaper is to go quail hunting.
I purchased six quail at the Chinese market and was browsing around for a couple of other items in the store. A nice gentleman from Thailand saw me carrying a package of quail and he asked me how I was going to cook the quail. I responded by saying that I was going to debone and truss a couple of the quail for a French recipe. I told the gentleman the French quail recipe that I was going to prepare. Thai people know how to cook, and the Thai gentleman was able to understand the recipe.
The Thai gentleman verbally gave me a recipe in return. The Thai quail recipe involved stir frying quail with green serrano peppers and a thin spicy savory sauce finished the entree. He stressed that green serrano chiles were the correct hot chile pepper for quail and green Thai peppers were too strong for the flavor of quail. He also stated that there is no coconut milk in the recipe, because coconut milk tastes awful with quail.
Issan Thailand is farm country. The recipe that the gentleman from Thailand described was nearly the same as an Issan duck recipe that I had for dinner at the Weera Issan Thai Restaurant in Las Vegas a few week ago. The sauce that he described, seemed like it would be good with quail.
As I was eying the guy up, to see if he was an Issan Thai farmland "good old boy", the gentleman said that he had never seen anyone buy quail before. That confirmed my suspicion! The Thai gentleman was from Issan farm country, where they hunt quail, rather than purchase quail! I responded to him by saying that my family back east had a very large farm with plenty of quail and pheasant. I said that there is nothing like fresh bagged quail! The Thai guy smiled and we both agreed that quail are few and far between out here in the middle of the Mojave desert!
So, we bid adieu and I purchased my quail. I remembered the Thai gentleman's quail recipe and I decided to cook it and post it as a recipe for all to see. I decided to serve the quail with a sweet cinnamon spiced black rice. Thai black rice pudding is a popular dessert in Thailand. I didn't want the accompanying black rice to be as sweet as a Thai black rice pudding, so I made the rice just sweet enough to compliment the flavor of the spicy entree. There is no coconut milk or fruit in this black rice recipe, like there is in Thai black rice pudding.
Sweet Cinnamon Black Rice Recipe:
Black jasmine rice is not starchy and it cooks like Native American wild reed grain rice. Black jasmine rice is also called forbidden rice or emperor's rice.
Place 3/4 cup of black rice in a sauce pot.
Add 2 cups of water.
Add 1 pinch of cinnamon.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Place the pot over high heat.
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Cover the pot with a lid.
Cook the black rice for 20 to 25 minutes, till the rice becomes tender. (Black rice take a little longer to cook than white rice, so the proportion of water to black rice is slightly higher in this recipe than a white rice recipe.)
Keep the rice warm on a stove top.
Thai Stir Fry Spicy Quail Recipe:
Be sure to have all the ingredients prepared and ready ahead of time for a stir fry recipe. Stir fry cooking is quick cooking!
Cut 3 quail in half lengthwise through the breast bone and back bone.
Cut off the thin back bones and discard them.
Leave the wings attached to the quail breasts.
Cut the legs off of each quail half at the hip joint.
Set the quail quarters aside.
Heat a wok or a large saute pan over medium/medium high heat.
Add a generous splash of vegetable oil.
Place the quail quarters in the pan, after the oil becomes hot.
Stir fry and toss the quail in the pan, till brown highlights appear and the quail are more than halfway cooked.
Remove the quail from the pan and set them aside on a dish.
Drain off most of the oil from the pan, but leave about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan.
Add 8 to 10 small whole garlic cloves.
Add 3 thin sliced green serrano peppers.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
Saute till the garlic just starts to turn a golden color.
Add 2 teaspoons of minced ginger.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce.
Add 1/2 cup of dry rice wine.
Add 1 generous pinch of yellow curry powder.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch that is mixed with 1 cup of water. (Cornstarch slurry.)
Stir as the sauce comes to a boil and as the sauce thickens.
Return the quail to the sauce.
Reduce the temperature to medium heat.
Add 2 green onions that are cut into bite size pieces.
Finish cooking the quail in the sauce. Be sure to turn the quail in the sauce, so the quail finishes cooking evenly.
Allow the sauce to reduce, till the sauce generously glazes the quail.
Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. (Only a few drops of sesame oil is needed!)
Add 1 generous squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Add 8 to 10 sliced Thai basil leaves.
Toss the ingredients together.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Use a large steel ring mold to place the sweet cinnamon black rice on the center of a plate.
Leave the ring mold in place, till the quail are placed on the plate!
Place the quail quarters around the ring mold, so the breasts and legs alternate around the rice.
Spoon any sauce in the pan over the quail.
Place 2 split lime slices on the rice as a garnish.
Remove the steel ring mold.
Wow! This is a great tasting Thai quail stir fry entree! This Thai spicy savory sauce is very different than traditional european savory sauce or fruit sauce for quail. Serrano peppers are full of flavor and they are mildly spicy. Mildly spicy is all that is needed for quail. The curry powder is only used to season this recipe and this stir fry is not made like a Thai curry entree at all.
The Thai gentleman's quail recipe turned out to be a very good tasting entree! Thanks Mr Thai Guy Quail Chef! It does pay to shop in Chinatown Las Vegas! Yum! ... Shawna