Batair or quail is a delicacy on Pakistani festive menus. My father loved cooking quails for parties. I still remember, an old villager used to come a few times every year with a sackful of live quails to sell them to my father. My father prepared them himself for cooking. Sometimes he roasted or grilled them but what I loved most was his dish of quail cooked in curry.
There isn’t much meat on quails but the meat is very flavourful. The best way to cook them is to keep them tender so that you can enjoy every morsel of that delicious meat.
People find it hard to cook quail meat, maybe because it gets either overcooked and chewy or under cooked and stiff. The formula I’ve discovered about cooking perfect quails is never to cook them for more than 15-20 minutes.
This is a family recipe that I’m sharing with you is my father’s recipe with a very fond memory attached to it. My mother cooked quails in masala with this recipe for quite a large gathering over my engagement dinner. Out of all the things on the menu people still remember, after many years, the taste of her masala quails.
The best thing about this food blog for me is that I’m compiling my family recipes and favourite recipes not only to pass on to my daughters but to many more food lovers and explorers out there. Happy cooking you all !
6 whole quails
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger
2 pods black cardamom
4 pods green cardamom
1 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground garam masala
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
This Is What You Do:
Heat oil in a deep pan over medium heat, fry onions till golden brown.
Take the onions out of the pan, whiz them in a blender with ginger, garlic, yogurt, red chilli, turmeric and garam masala, till a smooth paste forms .
Fry black and green cardamoms in the same pan, add the quails and fry another 2-3 minutes.
Pour the masala into the pan, fry another 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat after 10 minutes, garnish with chopped coriander and green chilli peppers, serve with nan bread.