Hot and Spicy Quail (Chim Cut Ro-Ti)
Vietnamese are fond of game birds, especially in the North where there is not as great a variety of food as in the South. The use of chile peppers is the legacy of Portuguese visitors who arrived as early as the sixteenth century.
4 dressed quail
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed or 1 tablespoon garlic purée
4 green onions, chopped
1 l/2 inch of lemon grass root, chopped
1 teaspoon chile powder or paprika
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nouc mam)
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
- Split quail down the bony side and flatten to get a broad breast. Score breast with deep cuts.
- Make the marinade by heating vegetable oil in a skillet and frying garlic, onions, and lemon grass for a few minutes. Add chile powder, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and water and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove and cool.
- Marinate quail and chill for two hours.
- Heat broiler or barbecue and broil for 15 minutes on each side, basting frequently with sesame oil and marinade, until bird is crisp, aromatic and sizzling. Serve with a good squeeze of lime juice over quail.
Makes 4 servings.
Tip: If you don't have a broiler, roast quail in a hot oven for 30 minutes, turning once and basting frequently.