Tea-smoked quail with apple and watercress

Nic Watt shows how quick and easy it is to make your own version of Japanese street food
By Nic Watt
Tea-smoked quail with apple and watercress
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 1
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1-2 quail, jointed
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 orange
  • 40 g lapsang souchong tea leaves
  • 95 g uncooked rice
  • 45 g brown sugar
  • 1 sheet of nori, torn up
  • small bunch lemon thyme
  • 1 pink lady apple
  • 1-2 umeboshi, pickled plums
  • handfuls watercress

For the dressing

  • large knob ginger
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds


1. For the dressing:grate the knob of ginger, then squeeze the grated pulp to extract the juice. You need 2 tablespoons juice.

2. Whisk the ginger juice with the remaining ingredients to make the dressing. Set aside until needed.

3. To smoke the quail:
4. Transfer the foil to the bottom of a wok and put the wok over a high heat until the tea mixture begins to smoke.

5. Season the quail with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a little oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the quail pieces until the skin is crispy.

6. Put a circular metal rack into the wok above the smoking ingredients and arrange the quail pieces on the rack. Cover the wok and hot-smoke the quail for 5 minutes. While the quail is smoking, prepare the salad.

7. Slice the apple into a bowl, tear the plums into pieces, add the watercress and toss until well combined.

8. To serve, put the quail and salad on a plate and drizzle over a little of the dressing.

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