This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
KEITH BEATY/TORONTO STAR Meat, fish and Indian fresh cheese create mouthwatering tandoori with the help of dried spices, yogurt, fresh ginger and a dash of lime juice. This summer, spice up your backyard grilling with Indian flavours May 02, 2007 04:30 AM Smita and Sanjeev Chandra SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO STAR
Love tandoori dishes? Don't have a tandoor? It's easy to recreate this distinctive Indian taste on your backyard grill. A tandoor is a traditional clay oven that resembles a large pot with a narrow opening at the top, and is filled with charcoal. Food is marinated in yogurt and spices, skewered, then lowered into the tandoor. The intense heat sears the food (usually meat) and seals in juices, making it succulent and tender. The aroma of charcoal smoke, clay and marinade permeates the food, giving it the characteristic tandoori flavour. Though similar clay ovens are found across the Middle East and northern India, the tandoori cuisine served in Indian restaurants originates in Punjab. Since maintaining a tandoor is expensive and laborious, few households own one. Punjabi villages traditionally maintained a communal tandoor that became the centre of social activity every evening. These days, city dwellers craving tandoori food dine out for it. Indian restaurants are often so proud of having tandoors that they place them in windows so they're visible to diners. The chef becomes the star of the show, conjuring spicy, smoky aromas from the depths of the tandoor, brandishing skewers of marinated food before thrusting them into
the glowing mouth of the oven, or whirling handfuls of dough and magically transforming them into fluffy naans. With a backyard barbecue grill, the yogurt and spice dripping from food into the flames sizzle and smoulder, reproducing the heady aroma of smoke and spice characteristic of tandoori food. The key to tandoori food is in the marinade – the longer it sits in yogurt, the more tender and flavourful it becomes. It's best to let things marinate overnight in the refrigerator so the spices soak into the meat and mellow, and the flavours develop. Start grilling on medium heat so that the meat cooks through without burning. Turn the food occasionally and baste it with leftover marinade to prevent it from drying out. Finally, turn the heat up to char the surface and make sure that none of the marinade is left uncooked. If you wish, you can lightly brush the meat with melted butter and squeeze lime juice over it before serving to bring out the flavours.
Use one-foot long wooden skewers, soaked in cold water 1 hour. Lift food out of the marinade and thread about four pieces to each skewer, leaving a 1/8-inch gap between pieces. Place skewers diagonally over the preheated grill to prevent food from falling into the coals. Each recipe makes about 14 skewers. All the following recipes can be served with naan or rice pilaf, or can be wrapped in warm flour tortillas.
Tandoori Chicken With Sun-Dried Tomatoes Sun-dried tomatoes are a modern twist to this classic recipe, adding delicate colour and subtle tomato flavour to the chicken. Saffron is traditionally used to tint tandoori food with a golden hue, although modern restaurants prefer to substitute food colouring, which is cheaper. 3 cloves garlic, peeled 1/2-inch piece ginger, scrubbed 10 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained 2 cups plain, full-fat yogurt Salt to taste
Pinch saffron 1 tsp each: ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, toasted and crushed cumin seeds 1/4 tsp ground black pepper 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves 2 tbsp lime juice + juice of 1 lime 2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves 2 lb (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
In food processor, mince garlic and ginger. Scrape down sides. Add sun-dried tomatoes; mince. Add yogurt, salt, saffron, coriander, cumin, garam masala, cumin seeds, pepper, fenugreek and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Process until well blended. Transfer to large bowl. Add cilantro and chicken, tossing to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight or at least 4 hours. Remove chicken from marinade. Thread onto skewers (about 4 pieces per skewer for about 14 skewers). Reserve marinade. Grill directly over medium heat, covered, 10 to 12 minutes, turning skewers and basting occasionally with reserved marinade. (Make sure marinade is completely cooked before removing food from grill and don't apply any during last 4 minutes of grilling.) When almost cooked and lightly browned, uncover grill, turn up heat slightly and char lightly 2 minutes, brushing with melted butter. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with remaining lime juice. Makes about 14 skewers for 4 servings.
Seekh Kebabs Cheddar cheese, although not strictly an Indian ingredient, adds moistness to these skewers of spiced ground meat, melting into the meat as it grills, making the kebabs really tender. Moulding ground meat onto skewers may seem tricky, but is actually very easy. Just dampen your hands, apply gentle pressure to the meat as you mould it to the skewer and keep rotating the skewer to achieve an even thickness. 3 cloves garlic, peeled
1-inch piece ginger, scrubbed 1 onion, quartered 1/2 cup cilantro, washed, dried well 1/4 cup mint leaves, washed, dried well 8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, dried 1/2 cup grated medium cheddar 1 large egg 2 slices white bread, cubed Salt to taste 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, to taste 1 tsp each: ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves 1 lb (450 g) lean ground lamb, beef, chicken or turkey 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (optional) Juice of 1 lime In food processor, mince garlic, ginger and onion. Add cilantro, mint, sun-dried tomatoes and cheddar; mince. Add egg, bread, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, garam masala and fenugreek. Add meat; process until well blended. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. To make kebabs, wet hands lightly, shake off excess water and pick up 1/4 cup meat mixture. Mould it onto 1-foot long metal skewers in 6-inch long sausage shapes, squeezing gently to hold meat in place. (If this is difficult, make round patties instead.) Grill directly over medium heat, covered, 10 minutes, turning once. When lightly browned and cooked through, uncover barbecue, turn up heat to medium-high and char lightly 2 minutes. Brush skewers lightly with melted butter (if desired). Slide kebabs off skewers onto plates. Serve sprinkled with lime juice. Makes about 14 skewers for 4 servings.
Tandoori Paneer Paneer is Indian fresh cheese that has been drained and compressed into a block, somewhat like mozzarella. It holds its shape over high heat, absorbs sauces or marinades and becomes wonderfully spongy and soft. Ajwain is like thyme in flavour and comes in tiny seeds; it's sometimes called carom seeds. 2 cloves garlic, peeled 1-inch piece ginger, scrubbed 1 green chili, stemmed 1 cup plain, full-fat yogurt Pinch saffron Salt to taste 1 tsp each: ground coriander, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves 1/2 tsp each: ground black pepper, ground cumin, toasted and crushed cumin seeds 1/4 tsp ajwain (optional) 14 oz (400 g) diced paneer Juice of 1 lime In food processor, mince garlic, ginger and chili. Add yogurt, saffron, salt, coriander, garam masala, fenugreek, pepper, ground cumin, cumin seeds and ajwain (if desired). Process until well mixed; transfer to mixing bowl. Add paneer, tossing to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. Thread paneer onto 6-inch skewers (about 3 to 4 pieces per skewer). Grill directly over medium heat 5 minutes, until slightly charred and tender. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with fresh lime juice. Makes 14 skewers for 4 servings.
Salmon Tikka This is salmon at its best. The thick marinade of sour cream, spices and herbs clings to the fish, adding flavour as it grills. Surprisingly, the fish doesn't fall off the skewers. The skewers make it
easy to turn the fish for even cooking. Serve it on a bed of seared vegetables with generous drizzles of lime juice. 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp each: finely chopped cilantro leaves, finely chopped mint leaves 1/4 cup sour cream Salt to taste 1/2 tsp each: ground black pepper, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger Pinch saffron Juice of 1 lime 2 lb (900 g) centre-cut salmon fillet, skin removed, washed, patted dry, cut into 2-inch chunks In large mixing bowl, combine garlic, cilantro, mint, sour cream, salt, pepper, garam masala, coriander, cumin, ginger, saffron and lime juice. Add salmon, tossing gently to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour. Remove salmon from marinade. Thread onto skewers (about 2 pieces per skewer). Reserve marinade. Grill directly over medium heat until just done, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn skewers occasionally and baste with reserved marinade. (Make sure marinade is completely cooked before removing food from grill and don't apply during last 4 minutes of grilling.) Makes about 8 skewers for 4 servings.
Pork Kebabs With Herbs and Lemon This marinade is unusual because there's no yogurt in it. There's some Middle Eastern influence in this recipe in the use of lemon juice, parsley and ground cinnamon, which blend well with Indian spices and ingredients. 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp each: paprika, toasted and crushed cumin seeds, ground cinnamon, ground black pepper, ground ginger Salt to taste 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tbsp vegetable oil Pinch saffron 2 tbsp each: finely chopped mint, cilantro, parsley 2 lb (900 g) pork tenderloin (about 2 medium), cut in 1-inch cubes Place all ingredients, except pork, in large mixing bowl. Stir to blend with fork. Add pork, tossing to coat. Refrigerate, covered, overnight or at least 4 hours. Thread pork onto skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer. Reserve marinade. Grill directly over medium heat, basting occasionally with reserved marinade, until done, about 12-15 minutes. (Make sure marinade is completely cooked before removing food from grill and don't apply any during last 4 minutes of grilling.) Transfer to platter and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Grilled Zucchini With Toasted Cumin-Lime Marinade Be sure not to grill your zucchini too much or it will lose its crunch. You could use a medley of vegetables, such as sweet peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes and eggplant. This marinade doubles as a fantastic dressing for salads. 2 tbsp olive oil Juice of 1 lime 1 tsp honey Salt to taste 1/2 tsp each: ground black pepper, toasted and crushed cumin seeds 4 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
In small bowl, combine oil, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper and cumin. Grill zucchini, cut side up, directly over medium heat. Brush with marinade. Grill until crisptender, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning once and brushing with marinade. Place on serving platter and brush with remaining marinade. Makes 4 servings.
Smita and Sanjeev Chandra live in Mississauga and co-wrote Cuisines of India in 2001.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.