Asian Foods Ep.3

Asian Foods : Laotian Fried Quail - Sweet Marinade

by Thomas M. Tillman
; If you've ever had the chance to try out the crispy and savory Laos fried quail, you most likely remember how delicious it is. While it's often referred to as street food in Lao cuisine, it's actually also a delicous homestyle meal that you can eat with sticky rice and jasmine rice. Lao style quail is uniquely flavored with deliciously sweet and earthy undertones that make it great grilled, fried, or even oven baked. I've got the perfect recipe for you for the fried variety. Read on to find out how you can make authentic Laos fried quail quickly and easily.
All About Laos Fried Quail
For those not familiar with the taste of quail, it can be described as a much more tender version of regular chicken wings. It's a softer and tender meat. Some people may even eat the bone on the quail because it's so small. Laos fried quail has a sweet and savory marinade. It's often cooked over a hot flame. You'll often find quail on a stick when visiting the streets of Vientiane.

Regional Variations

Aside from the Lao version, there are variations of this dish in Vietnamese cuisine as well, such as Chim Cut Chien. Laos quail is usually marinaded overnight and prepared baked, grilled, or fried on its o a side of lemon, seasoned with salt and pepper. A lime wedge and a bowl of jasmine rice also go really with this dish. There are many other variations of this dish that includes Hoisin sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, etc. In fact, it is also pan-fried on some occasions.

Tips and Tricks Before Making Laos Fried Quail

Even though the most authentic method of cooking this dish is to deep-fry it, it is equally as good when you grill them. Not to mention, it is a much healthier alternative to deep-frying, as mentioned earlier. Other than that, this recipe sticks to the classic version of Laos Fried Quail.

Choosing Quail

For these recipes, you'll want to get quail that is the size of your hand. Often, these have the most tender meats and the most flavor. If you absolutely can't get your hands on a quail, you can always substitute it with a chicken wing or other poultry. Ultimately, you are working with a versatile bird that is enjoyable in many different ways

Cleaning Quail

When it comes to the bird itself, make sure you pat it completely dry if you are defrosting a frozen quail. Any moisture will prevent it to crisp up and can increase the chances of a soggy fried quail. The body cavity should also be wiped clean using a paper towel if you are using a freshly bought quail.

Alternatives for Preparations

Grilling over a charcoal flame is a much better alternative than deep-frying if you are looking for a healthier option. Taking the cooking outdoors is a great way to make it enjoyable and prevent the house from smoking up because this does give off a strong aroma. Grilling gives the emat of the quail a wonderfully smokey aroma and enhances the flavor.


The best way to infuse flavors into any kind of meat is to let it rest in the marinade for an adequate amount of time. Letting the quails marinate overnight will intensify the flavors and improve the overall taste.

Asian Grocery Store Ingredients

Even though most ingredients for this recipe are pretty straightforward and common in every grocery store, some are a bit special and should be sought for at an Asian grocery store. Going to an Asian grocery store for the first time might seem a little intimidating. However, you'll often find some affordable options and an amazing array of varieties if you visit your local market. Here are some of the ingredients from this recipe that you will be sure to find at your nearest Asian Grocery store.


Fried quail are usually made with smaller-sized birds rather than larger ones. This is so that people can eat the whole bird along with the bones. However, if you are not a big fan of bones, go ahead and pick the larger quails so that you can get bigger meat portions, minus the bones. You will find both fresh and frozen quails in the fresh meat and frozen meat sections respectively.

Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is a fairly popular ingredient in almost any Southeast Asian cooking that calls for a bit of sweetness. It is found in a few regular grocery stores. But if you need some right away, you better make your way to an Asian Grocery Store. They always carry it in stock, as most of the dishes that are fairly popular call for this ingredient.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is used in various ways in Southeast Asian cuisine. You will see the use of fish sauce in curries, soups, marinades, and even as a condiment on the table in dips. This is why you can blindly trust Asian Grocery stores to carry it. While there are many different brands available, make sure that you get your hands on to the squid brand one. It is of the highest quality of them all and provides the perfect finishing touch, making a huge difference.

Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce is also quite popular, just like fish sauce. Oyster sauce is used in many dishes outside of Southeast Asian cooking too. Once you get to the sauce aisle in the grocery store, it can get a bit confusing to know which one to buy. Instead of guessing the quality of the sauce, go for the panda brand one. It is a tried and tested oyster sauce that works well in most dishes.

How to Make Authentic Laotian Fried Quail

So, now that you have picked out your preferred size of the bird and have gathered all the ingredients together for the marinade, you can move on to cooking.


  • 6 small quails, clean with insides removed
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. Clean and pat dry the quail and dry out the inside. Add salt and pepper across the quail.
  2. Mix shallots, garlic, palm sugar, oyster sauce, and fish sauce together in a fairly large bowl.
  3. Add your quails onto this mixture and thoroughly coat them with the mixture. Cover the bowl with cellophane.
  4. Allow it marinate overnight or at least 4-6 hours.
  5. Heat up the vegetable oil to 360°F.
  6. Once vegetable oil is to temperature, add in the quail. Fry it for around 5 minutes or till the color is golden brown.
  7. Serve with sticky rice or bowl of jasmine rice.