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Simple bistro food – that’s the style of food I most enjoy both eating and cooking! Nothing overly complicated, nothing too froufrou (that means you foams!) but something damn tasty, thank you. One of my most used cook books – used as in splattered, marked and well thumbed – was published back in 2002 – Australian Gourmet Traveller: Food For Friends. I only brought it really for the ideas on wine and food pairing. Each recipe has a specific wine suggestion. Being so old now I doubt many of the wines will be the same, perhaps not even now available (especially in the UK) but the ideas certainly give a good push towards the style of wine that should work with each dish.

So rather than trying to hunt down a bottle of Stonier Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula for this Poached Quail dish I cracked open a bottle of the Invivo Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand as an alternative.

One quail is suitable for one person as a light lunch; serving two for a dinner doesn’t seem too extravagant or greedy.

Poached Quail With Somen Noodles and Spinach


Poached Quail with Somen Noodles and Spinach

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours, 00 minute

Poached Quail with Somen Noodles and Spinach


  • 4 large quail
  • 6 trimmed green onions
  • 10cm piece of sliced ginger
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 1 stick of lemongrass split lengthwise
  • 5 star anise
  • ½ cup tamari
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 125ml rice wine
  • 150g somen noodles
  • 400g spinach leaves


  1. Put an onion and a slice of ginger in each of the birds. Put the quail in a pan and cover with remaining onions, ginger, chilli, lemongrass, star anise, tamari, brown sugar and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil for one minute. Turn off the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid and cool for 4 hours then refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove quail from liquid. Strain and reserve the liquid. Remove flesh from each bird, tearing into bit sized pieces.
  4. Place two cups of the cooking liquid in a saucepan and heat until reduced by half. Cook noodles in a separate pan until just cooked, about 2 minutes. Drain well and add to reduced cooking liquid. Cook spinach in boiling water (or steam) until just wilted. Drain well.
  5. Serve noodles topped with spinach and quail. Pour broth over the top.


One quail is suitable for one person as a light lunch; serving two for a dinner doesn’t seem too extravagant or greedy.

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