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Spice-crusted quail with buttered rice and figs

Rodney Dunn recipe for spice-crusted quail with buttered rice and figs.

By Rodney Dunn
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Spice-crusted quail with buttered rice and figs
Quail make for a very hands-on meal, but this is all part of the fun. If you wish to dine a little more elegantly you can ask your butcher to partly bone the birds by removing the ribcage.


  • 8 butterflied quail (about 900gm)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 figs
Buttered rice
  • 100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 115 gm vermicelli, broken into 4cm lengths
  • 400 gm basmati rice
Baharat spice mix
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 small cinnamon stick, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • ½ nutmeg, finely grated


  • 1
    For buttered rice, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vermicelli and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Add rice, 1 tsp salt and 1 litre water and stir to combine. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff up the rice with a fork.
  • 2
    For baharat spice mix, grind all the spices in a spice grinder or with a mortar to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 220C. Place quail flesh-side up on a tray and pat dry with paper towels, then turn and season skin with sea salt and baharat. Heat oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat, add quail skin-side up and fry for 1 minute, then transfer to the oven and cook until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Serve with rice and torn figs.


Drink Suggestion: Spicy young grenache. Drink suggestion by Max Allen