Roast quail with crisp curry leaves

Roast quail with crisp curry leaves

Burung puyuh goreng berempah

Street Food Asia
4–6 As part o f a shared me al
Alan Benson

Another dish I enjoy at Ikan Bakar Pak Lang in Kampung Baru is roasted quails with curry leaves. The quails look (and smell) so appetising, nestled in a fluffy bed of fried onion, chillies and curry leaves. This dish is part of the restaurant’s mind-boggling, help-yourself, nasi kandar selection, where you start with a big mound of steamed rice on your plate and then select curries, salads and other tantalising dishes arranged on trays to go with it. The quails are very simple to cook and they’re packed with flavour, not just from the curry leaves, but from five-spice powder, fresh ginger and soy sauce too. All you need to do is marinate the quails and roast them in the oven and, while they’re in there, you deep-fry the curry leaves, chillies and onions. Just don’t overcook those birds – they should be slightly pink and juicy in the middle.


Quantity Ingredient
6 x 100g quails, cleaned
500ml vegetable oil
50 fresh curry leaves
4 long red chillies
1 large onion, sliced
steamed jasmine rice, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
3 teaspoons five-spice powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
100ml vegetable oil


  1. Put all the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the quails, coating them well with the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Transfer the quails and marinade to a baking dish and roast for 15–20 minutes until the quails are lightly golden and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a wok and bring to 170°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Flash-fry the curry leaves in small batches for a few seconds, just until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.
  5. Now fry the whole chillies in the hot oil for 3 minutes, or until softened. Remove and drain. Reduce the heat to 150°C, then stir the sliced onion in the oil for 4 minutes until softened and slightly caramelised. Remove and drain.
  6. Arrange half the crisp curry leaves and half the fried onion on a serving platter in an even layer. Top with the whole roast quails and garnish with the remaining curry leaves, onion and fried whole chillies. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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