Afghan Grilled Quail
If you've always found quail to be a little on the dry side, this recipe is for you. The spiced yogurt marinade makes the birds exceptionally moist and succulent. The only difficult thing about the recipe is remembering to drain the yogurt ahead of time. By the way, even if you don't like quail, you can enjoy this dish. The marinade makes a wonderful dip for crudités. This recipe was inspired by the Khyber Pass restaurant in New York.
4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
2 teaspoons hot or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
or more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 quail (about 2 pounds in all)
Set a yogurt strainer, or regular strainer lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth, over a bowl. Add the yogurt to the strainer and let drain, in the refrigerator, for 2 to 3 hours.
Remove the drained yogurt from the refrigerator and discard the liquid. Transfer the yogurt (it will be semifirm but not dry), to a large nonreactive bowl or baking dish. Add the paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, the coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper and whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and cayenne as necessary; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Set aside while you prepare the quail.
Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities. Rinse the quail inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Spatchcook the quail (cut the bones down the back with scissors).
Add the quail to the bowl with the marinade, turning to coat thoroughly. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, 12 to 24 hours, turning the birds occasionally.
Preheat the grill to high.
When ready to grill, oil the grate. Remove the quail from the marinade and place them, skin side down, on the hot grate. Cook until nicely browned and the juices run clear when the tip of a skewer or sharp knife is inserted in the thickest part of a thigh, 4 to 6 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all).
Transfer the quail to serving plates or a platter, and serve immediately.
As prepared, each serving contains 170 calories, 10g total fat, 60mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate and 15g protein.