Prawn Curry with Quail's Eggs

This luscious Indonesian recipe is characterized by the mix of flavours - galangal, chillies, turmeric and coconut milk.


serves 4
12 quail's eggs
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
4 shallots or 1 medium onion, finely chopped
2.5 cm (1 in) fresh galangal or root ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cm (2 in) lemon grass, finely shredded
1 - 2 small, fresh red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2.5 ml (2 tsp) ground turmeric
1 cm (1/2 in) square shrimp paste or 15 ml (1 tbsp) fish sauce
900 g (2 lb) raw prawn tails, peeled and deveined
400 ml (14 fl oz) 1 2/3 cup coconut milk
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
115 g (4 oz) Chinese leaves, roughly shredded
10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
2 spring onions, green part only, shredded, and 30 ml (2 tbsp) shredded fresh coconut, to garnish


1. Put the quail's eggs in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 8 minutes. Refresh in cold water, peel by dipping in cold water to release the shells and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a preheated wok. Add the shallots or onion, galangal or ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute, until soft but not coloured. Add the lemon grass, chillies, turmeric and shrimp paste or fish sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute.

3. Add the prawns to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Strain the coconut milk and add the thin liquid to the wok, together with the chicken stock. Add the Chinese leaves and sugar and season to taste with salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes.

4. Turn the curry out on to a serving dish. Halve the quail's eggs and toss them in the sauce. Scatter over the spring onions and shredded coconut and serve immediately.

Quail's eggs are available from speciality grocers and delicatessens. If you cannot find them, use hens' eggs -- one hen's egg is the equivalent of four quail's eggs.

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