Scotch quail's eggs

Scotch quail's eggs

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

I loved Scotch eggs when I visited England in my summer holidays as a teenager. I wanted them for a snack, on picnics and as part of my lunch! They were so very British to me. So British, in fact, that they were brought to Kolkata during the Raj and can now be seen on some menus in that corner of India. I use quail’s eggs, but you can use hen’s eggs instead and serve them with a salad for lunch or brunch. If you do not eat eggs, make this vegetarian sausagemeat into kebabs instead: add a diced tomato to the mixture, shape on to skewers and cook in the oven or in a frying pan.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more to deep-fry
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced
20g root ginger, (peeled weight)
200g red lentils, washed well and soaked overnight
2 large slices bread, crumbed
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
large pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons greek yogurt
2 large shallots, finely chopped
4 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped
12 quail’s eggs


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small non-stick frying pan and fry the garlic until colouring. Then tip into a blender with the ginger and drained lentils and blend until smooth. Do not add any water.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the lentil paste and cook over a medium-low flame for six to seven minutes, turning often. The mixture gets tough, but you need to persevere. I spread it out in the pan, let it cook for 10 seconds, turn it, then repeat. Keep moving and squashing it with a spoon so it cooks evenly. There is no elegant technique!
  3. Take off the heat, add the remaining ingredients except the eggs and mix well together; it will resemble a dough. Leave to cool. At this point, you can cover the mixture and chill overnight, if it’s more convenient. When you are ready to make the Scotch eggs, boil the quail eggs for four minutes, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Peel the eggs. Take around 25–30 g of the lentil mixture and flatten it in your palm. Place an egg in the middle and envelop it with the mixture. (It is easier than it sounds.) Repeat with the rest.
  5. Meanwhile, heat 3 cm of vegetable oil in a small saucepan and heat to about 180°C or until, when a scrap of bread is dropped in, it sizzles immediately but does not brown. Add the eggs, in batches, and cook over a moderate flame until they are golden all over.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm while you fry the remaining eggs, and serve hot as they are, or with a little of your favourite chutney.
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