This was inspired by my many trips to India, where quails are often cooked with spices and aromatic sauces. The dish should be accompanied by basmati rice and a bowl of yoghurt. If you don’t have all the spices, simply add
Peel the onions and garlic, cut them up roughly and put into a food processor. Cut open the green chilli under cold running water, discard the seeds and stem and put the chilli halves in the food processor with the onions and garlic. Whizz very thoroughly until the mixture has become as smooth a mush as possible.
Put the whole spices and the bay leaves into a coffee grinder and whizz until finely ground. Mix these spices with the ground turmeric. Cut the peppers in half lengthways, discard the seeds and stem and slice thinly. Preheat the
Put the oil and butter into a large cast iron casserole over a high heat. When melted, add the ground spices and then the onion mixture. Allow to bubble in the open casserole, stirring on and off, for about 5 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, sliced peppers and tamarind paste and season with the sugar and some salt. Cover the casserole and cook in the centre of the oven for half an hour. Then brush the quails with
Meanwhile, semi-hardboil the eggs, then plunge them into cold water, peel and cut in half lengthways. Wash the spinach, remove any thick stalks and chop up only roughly. After the quails have cooked for an hour, take them out of the casserole and set aside on a plate. Stir the spinach into the hot sauce just until limp. Check the seasoning and add salt and
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.