Surprisingly, there are plenty of recipes for quails in Indian cuisine, and a biriyani seems as popular as anything else.
I’ve written about quails in the past and I think that cooking them with rice is a good way to go, because it stops them drying out.
For this recipe I made a marinade with Greek yoghurt and a teaspoonful each of Kashmiri chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric and ground cardamom seeds, plus salt and black pepper.
I cut the quails in half and marinated them overnight.
Before cooking the rice, I fried the quails in hot sunflower oil until they were coloured on the outside, but not cooked through.
In a separate oven-proof pan, I heated up more oil and frieda piece of cinnamon stick, a couple of dried bayleaves, a black cardamom and four or five whole cloves for a couple of minutes before adding a finely chopped red onion.
When this was coloured and softened, I added in a tablespoonful of garlic and ginger paste and fried this for a minute or two longer and then added in a pinch of saffron threads, salt, black pepper and a curry masala made from a teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, a ready-made garam masala and Kashmiri chilli.
Then, once this was frying, I added a couple of diced tomatoes and a measuring cupful of Basmati rice.
Once the rice was coated, I added two cupfuls of hot water and simmered the rice on the hob for a few minutes.
Then, I added the partly-cooked quails and the rest of the marinade, covered the pan and put it in a 150C oven for about 30 minutes before taking it out again.
At this point, the rice was done, so I stirred in some chopped fresh coriander and left it on one side while I boiled a few quail’s eggs.
These were used to garnish the dish, together with more coriander.