Carnival ‘Split’ Quail Pelau (Serves 6)
This is my cheat version of making an ace carnival dish! Hearty, a bit trad; the perfect meal to set you up for wandering around Notting Hill’s streets for the day.
What you need
4 quails, cleaned, halved along the back-bone
3 tbsp light Muscavado sugar
1 stick celery, peeled, diced
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, chopped into attractive chunks
1 medium carrot, peeled, diced
250g yellow split peas, dried
1 tin coconut milk
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Garnish: a couple of chopped green finger chillies, a small handful of raw coconut flakes, chunky lime wedges and strained yoghurt
How to make it
- In a bowl, pour half the jar of sauce over the split quail, mix to coat well, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for at least four hours (or overnight in the fridge).
- Next day, take your quail bowl out the fridge and leave to come to room temperature for an hour or so.
- Set your grill to its highest setting and cook the marinated quail for about 1 or 2 minutes each side, to just scorch it. Set aside to cool.
- Set your oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4
- Grab a heavy-bottomed casserole, pop it onto a medium heat, add the sugar and cook until it ‘melts’ and starts to froth slightly, stirring with a fork. Cook for a minute or so until it just begins to darken, this will to help add a desirable slightly sweet, bitter note to the dish
- Add the celery, peppers, carrot and remaining half of the sauce, stir to coat well, then pop in the rice, split peas, coconut milk and water, then stir again.
- Bring up to a bubble and cook gently for 5 minutes
- Then pop the scorched quail halves on top of the rice, pouring in any cooking juices from the grill pan, pop the lid on the casserole pot
- Put the casserole into the oven and allow to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, check after 15 minutes to see if all the liquid has been absorbed, the rice is cooked etc. If you need to add a little extra liquid, then pour in a little water to finish off.
- When cooked, take out of the oven, rest with the lid on for 10 minutes to allow all the liquid to be absorbed.
Scatter over the chillies and raw coconut, take the casserole pot to the table and serve alongside and a generous bowl of strained yoghurt, lime wedges and a crisp green, bitter leaf salad.