Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Quail With Red Chiles
Serves 12 as an appetizer
12 boneless whole quail
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. turmeric
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbs. peanut oil
10 dried whole California or Mexican chiles or arbols (or other long, red, thin chiles)
5 fresh red Thai chiles or 1 scotch bonnet/habanero chili
4 stalks lemongrass, cleaned, trimmed and minced
6 minced shallots
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup white vinegar
5 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. salt
1 cup diced carrots, blanched and cooled
1 cup cooked peas (frozen are fine)
40 fresh mint leaves
Toss the quail with the salt, turmeric and cinnamon. Set aside.
Cut off and discard the chile stems, shake out the seeds.
Place the dried chiles into a cup of boiling water and let them sit for 10 minutes.
Drain and puree them with the fresh chiles, the shallot, garlic and lemongrass in a food processor. Set aside.
Heat the peanut oil in a very large pan or wok over high heat. Brown the quail and set aside.
Add the chile mixture to the pan and cook for 4 minutes until fragrant and mahogany colored. Add the quail back into the pan and cook, tossing until it is all cooked thoroughly.
Stir in the ketchup and vinegar, the salt and the sugar.
Cook for several minutes after the mixture boils, to heat through and consolidate the flavors; add the vegetables and mint.
Toss and serve immediately with small side bowls of steamed Thai sticky rice at room temperature.