Grilled quails with salted egg yolk sauce

"There's not a lot of meat on quails so the best way to eat these is with your hands - pull them apart, dip them in the sauces and get a bit messy," says Mat Lindsay. "There are two sauces: a tare, made with chicken wings; and our take on a Singaporean salted egg sauce."

Begin this recipe a day ahead to cure the yolks.

You'll need

4 quails, butterflied 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve   Salted egg yolk sauce 500 gm caster sugar 500 gm fine salt 8 egg yolks 1¼ tbsp milk 1¾ tbsp skim-milk powder 1 tsp caster sugar 50 gm butter, diced 1¾ tbsp milk powder   Chicken wing tare 500 gm chicken wings (about 4), jointed 100 ml cooking sake 200 ml mirin 300 ml light soy sauce 4 star anise


  • 01
  • For the salted egg yolk sauce, combine salt and sugar and spread half over the base of a container about 16cm x 22cm. Make 8 indents with the back of a spoon and sit yolks in indents. Cover with remaining salt-sugar mixture, cover container and refrigerate until you can squeeze yolks gently without them popping (24 hours).
  • 02
  • Lightly rinse yolks and dry on paper towels (discard curing mixture). Blend salted egg yolks, milk, skim-milk powder, sugar and 1½ tsp salt with a hand-held blender until smooth and set aside. Bring butter and milk powder to the boil in a small saucepan, stirring constantly until combined (2-3 minutes). Add to blended ingredients, and blend on medium-high speed until fully emulsified (20-30 seconds). Refrigerate in an airtight container and bring to room temperature before serving. Egg yolk sauce will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days.
  • 03
  • For tare, preheat oven grill to high and grill wings on a tray lined with foil, turning halfway through until golden and charred (18-20 minutes). Transfer to a saucepan large enough to stack wings in no more than 2 layers and place over medium-high heat. Add sake, bring to the boil and reduce by half (2-3 minutes). Add mirin, soy and star anise, return to the boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until chicken fat renders and sauce is sticky (30-40 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  • 04
  • Bring quails to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat a charcoal barbecue until embers have ashed over (30-40 minutes), or preheat a gas barbecue to medium heat. Season quails with sea salt, drizzle with olive oil and lightly toss to coat. Grill quails, turning every minute and brushing with tare regularly until legs are completely cooked, breast is pink and skin is caramelised (14-16 minutes). Rest in a warm spot for at least 5 minutes.
  • 05
  • Halve quails, dress with extra tare to taste, and serve with a drizzle of oil, seasoned with white pepper to taste, and a tablespoon of yolk sauce (piped if desired) to dip into.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Descombes Beaujolais gamay.

Featured in

Nov 2017

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