Holiday Feature

Hot and Spicy Quail

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 chili peppers is the legacy of Portuguese visitors who arrived as early as the sixteenth century. As quail are small, allow one whole bird per person.


4 dressed quail
4 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed or 1 tbsp garlic purée
4 spring onions, chopped
1-l/2 in of lemon grass root, chopped
1 tsp chili powder or paprika
1 tbsp nouc mam (fish sauce)
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
Lime juice


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 chili powder, nouc mam, 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.

Note: If you don't have a broiler, roast quail in a hot oven for 30 minutes, turning once and basting frequently.

Recipe from:

A Little Vietnamese Cookbook
by Terry Tan
Illustrated by Sherry Tay
$7.95 (Hardback)
Chronicle Books
ISBN: 0-86291-8118-1
Recipe reprinted by permission


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006