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Thursday 22 October 2009

Grilled Quails with Rose Petals and Bitter Chocolate

Grilled Quails with Rose Petals and Bitter Chocolate

I love this dish and have served it numerous times at home. It works well as a starter for a Middle Eastern dinner or as part of a meze or tapas. Most of the work can be done a day in advance, and last minute preparation should not take more than a few minutes. It looks stunning, and your friends will be highly impressed. The heady scent of roses marries beautifully with the sweetness of the quail meat, cinnamon and bitter chocolate. A real winner! 

Ingredients - (Serves 4)
  • 4 quails
  • Pistachio nuts, very roughly chopped (Optional – to decorate)
  • Shavings of bitter chocolate (Optional – to decorate)
  • Fresh rose petals, preferably red (Optional – to decorate) 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon bitter chocolate powder 
  • 3 tablespoon rosewater
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
        Rose Petal Sauce
  • 6 tablespoon rose petal jam (from Turkish Grocers or substituted by 125gr apricot Jam diluted with 3 tbsp rose water)
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous squeeze of lemon
  • Sea salt and black pepper

  •        Prepare the marinade - mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and rub all over the quails. Place in a dish and marinade for at least two hours or preferably overnight in the fridge.

  •        Make the sauce – mix the rose petal jam or substitute, garlic and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and taste for seasoning. This can be done a day in advance.

  •        Grilling the quails – before serving, place the quails under a very hot grill, breast side down, for 7 minutes. Turn them over and grill, breast side up, for a further 6 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink but is still juicy.

  •        Serving – place a quail on a plate, spoon the rose petal sauce over and around the quail, scatter some roughly chopped pistachios, bitter chocolate shavings, and fresh rose petals over the top. Grind some black pepper over the plate and serve immediately.


  1. Hello there London Foodie, I'm really glad you found my blog as it gives me a chance to discover yours too! It's really nice to know that you enjoy Nyonya cuisine and have been to Melaka/Malacca & Singapore. Do you know that there is a "The Way of the Matriarch" recipe book selling in bookstores here in Singapore? However, there are so many Nyonya recipe books out there now but some of the recipes are not very authentic at all. Singapore Nyonya cuisine is very much a branch of the original Melaka Nyonya cuisine, as Melaka is the birthplace of the Nyonya heritage. You have a really exotic cultural background too since you're half Japanese & half Italian. You get the best of both worlds' cuisines! I've been to London once 3 years ago & I loved it! I didn't have much chance to check out the popular restaurants there so I hope to visit this fabulous city again someday & taste the great food there. You have really fantastic reviews on your blog! I wonder, is there any Nyonya restaurant in London?


  2. Hi Petit Nyonya - I am so thrilled to have found your blog, I have added you to my bloglist. I bought "The Way of the Matriarch" when I was in Singapore last year. I just LOVE Nyonya cuisine, there are two restaurants in London which have Nyonya dishes in their menu but I do not believe they are solely Nyonya, they are Sedap and Rasa Sayang (I have posted about this recently). Being half Japanese and half Italian makes me really relate to the Peranakan culture and cuisine, it was one of the best culinary discoveries I have made. I cannot wait to get through your recipes on your blog and cook them at home. I am setting up a Cookery Club with two good friends from "Travels with my Fork" (another wonderful blog) and I will suggest cooking from your blog's recipes! I will certainly let you know how we get on. Have a lovely weekend... Luiz

  3. Hi Luiz,

    I LOVE your blog! I have just signed up to it! You're definitely MY kind of foodie, because everything on your page has made me drool so far! I love your Quail recipe, being Persian myself, i love using Rose petals and rose water in my cooking. One spice mix i cant live without is called "Ras-el-Hanout" - its a blend of 14 different spices including Rose petals and Lavender, its fab. I spend far too little time on my blog, but with all my Foodepedia writing and my day job, its hard to do anything! By the way, your heritage are two of my favourite food countries! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Italy and its food and the same for Japan. First time in Japan was this year, incredible! Italy is where my heart is...!

  4. I LOVE your blog! Did write a huge comment, but it deleted it! :-( Love your recipe for Quail, i use Ras-el-Hanout spice mix when im feeling lazy! Its great! x

  5. Hi again :), thanks for your reply, I shall be more encouraged to post more Nyonya food on my blog in the future. These days I just don't cook Nyonya food as often as I should due to my busy schedule, but I definitely will from now on. There is another site called Nyonyafood.com, the lady behind it is a Nyonya from Penang, Malaysia. It's a sister site to Rasa Malaysia. You might also be interested to take a look. Have fun trying out the recipes in the "Matriarch" cookbook. It doesn't matter if the result turn out exactly as it should or not, what matters is just have fun trying it out :D. Would love to see how your cooking adventure with your friends turn out to be, so I've also signed up to follow your blog :D. Have a nice week ahead too! Cheers!

    p/s I've always wanted to learn to make sushi but haven't had the time to really get to it. I saw some other bloggers who were so skilled at it.

  6. Hi Petit Nyonya,

    Thank you for all these great tips, I have checked the sites you mentioned, they are great too, but I think yours is still the best! Thank you for the tips and for becoming a follower of my blog. I hope that we can meet up for a meal in London next time you visit the city.

    I went to Sushi classes in London provided by a Japanese woman called Reiko Hashimoto, she has taught me a lot about Japanese cuisine. I will be posting a review of her school (hashicooking.co.uk) this week.

    Hope all is well with you!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  7. Dear Sabrina,

    I can't believe you are Persian - I am crazy, crazy, crazy about Persian food! I went to a cookery class by Eat Drink Talk called "Flavours of Persia" and since then, I have been cooking loads of Khoreshs at home and just can't get enough of it... My favourite cookery books are New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij and Persia in Peckham by Sally Butcher. I love both equally, although they are very different. This weekend, we had some friends over and I made a delicious warm salad of shredded pheasant with barberries, pomegranate, fennel, chicory, rose water among other things... I also made saffron rice with sour cherries and managed to get my tahdig to work this time!! I was so happy with the results. Thank you for telling me about Ras-el-Hanout, i have looked it up, it sounds amazing. I will try a recipe out with this spice mix, hmmmmm....

    Have a lovely week!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  8. Hi great stuff you got there ! I loved Quails but hardly can find it where I am from. Glad to known what exactly is Rose water, very foreign to me. Heard of it but never knew how to use it ! Thanks

  9. Hi NyonyaChef,

    Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you liked the posting. It is a shame you cannot find quails locally, but you can substitute them by other smaller birds like spring chicken or partridge (although it would be more gamey than quails). The rose water is an amazing ingredient used quite frequently in Middle Eastern cuisine.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  10. this was a show stopper! So happy you have shared the recipe as will definately make. And you can do it in 15 mins! Amazing!

  11. WOw Luiz that looks amazing. I must give a go even though you know I didn't enjoy them at all last night ;)

  12. So pleased this recipe is on your site - I was blown away by your quail at the Green & Blacks evening. Can you give us the tips for how to simplify and speed it up, as you did for that 15:15 challenge?

  13. This recipe is interesting for me because of the rose jam. The pictures are great and looks delicious. I will give it a try and hope i can achieve the same presentation and taste.


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