Aubergines Stuffed with Quails

Patlıcanlı bıldırcın

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

Quails are often boned and flattened, trussed up and grilled, then eaten in the hollow of a pide. As they are so small, they can be wrapped in vine leaves, stuffed with fresh cherries and gently roasted or, as in this Palace creation, they can be fitted snugly into whole aubergines.


  • 2 plump aubergines, partially peeled in zebra stripes and soaked in salted water for 1 hour
  • sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 2 quails, cleaned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • small bunch of fresh parsley and mint, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 325F/Mark 3/170C
  • Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and brown the quails on all sides. Take them out, place a bay leaf in the cavity of each, and put them aside.
  • Now make the sauce. Add the onion, garlic and sunflower seeds to the olive oil in the pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, aniseed and sugar. Cook gently for about 10 minutes and then stir in the mint and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Rinse and drain the aubergines. Heat a thick layer of sunflower oil in a frying pan and roll the aubergines in the oil to brown them all over. Drain them on kitchen paper and slit down the middle lengthways without quite reaching the ends, taking care not to cut the bottoms of the aubergines. Prise the slit wide open with tongs and carefully fit a quail snugly into each one.
  • Place the stuffed aubergines in an oven-proof dish and spoon the tomato sauce over them. Cover with a lid or foil, and place them in the oven for 1 hour. Then remove the lid, baste with the sauce, and cook for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve straight from the oven with wedges of lemon.