Buttermilk-Marinated Quail with Herbed Raita and Blood Oranges

Maneet Chauhan, cookbook author, TV personality, and chef-owner of Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville, designed this dish to help get through a long, cold winter. “What I love about this recipe, in terms of the ingredients and method, is that the mint and charred flavors are reminiscent of summertime despite the chill of winter,” she says. All of the components may be prepped ahead of time, leaving only the last-minute broiling and plating of the dish.

Buttermilk-Marinated Quail with Herbed Raita and Blood Oranges
Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 35 mins
4 to 8


  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 2 packed cups)

  • 1 bunch fresh mint (about 3/4 packed cup)

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 medium Indian green chiles or serrano chiles, stems removed

  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

  • 1 tablespoon ground toasted cumin

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 8 (4-ounce) semi-boneless quail

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice

  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 blood oranges

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/2 teaspoon chaat or garam masala


  1. Combine bunch of cilantro, bunch of mint, buttermilk, garlic, chiles, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and 2 teaspoons salt in a blender. Process until smooth, about 40 seconds. Transfer marinade to a large ziplock plastic bag, and add quail. Seal bag, pressing out air, and turn until quail are well coated. Place in a dish (to protect against leaks), and chill 8 to 24 hours.

  2. Stir together yogurt, scallion, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, lime juice, black pepper, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl until combined. Cover raita, and chill until ready to serve.

  3. Using a small sharp knife, cut off tops and bottoms of oranges, exposing the red flesh and making the fruit sit flat on the cutting surface. Arc the knife along the natural contours of the fruit to remove peel, including the bitter white pith. Once the peel is removed, hold the orange over a strainer set over a large bowl, and carefully cut on either side of each section to free it from the membrane. Drop the segments (supremes) into the strainer as you work. Remove or cut around any seeds you encounter. Once all supremes are cut away, squeeze membranes to capture all the juice. Cover and chill supremes until ready to serve. Reserve juice for another use.

  4. Remove quail from marinade, scraping off excess. Discard marinade. Pat quail dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

  5. Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Brush quail with melted butter, and arrange, breast sides down, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven until lightly browned and crispy, about 2 minutes. Flip quail, and broil until lightly browned and crispy but still rosy and juicy inside, 4 to 5 minutes.

  6. If desired, cut each quail into halves or quarters. Divide quail among 8 appetizer or 4 dinner plates. Sprinkle with chaat masala, and serve with blood orange supremes and herbed raita for dipping.

Suggested Pairing

Substantial California rosé.

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