Grilling has always fascinated me. My family was introduced to grilling by two Swedes (thank you Christopher and Martin) when I was about 10 years old. We were taught to make only one marinade which is similar to barbeque sauce and the only meat we grilled was chicken. We used to build our own make-shift grill using loose bricks and home-made metal skewers (not sure what we used to make the skewers). All the kids in the family were very involved in the process and I have very fond memories from my grilling days back then.
Anyways, grilling today is a totally different experience. Thanks to Weber, I have an efficient and easy-to-use grill that I can just pull out in a jiffy and get grilling. Although a gas grill is a lot less work and user-friendly, I am a fan of charcoal grills and hence I bought myself a charcoal grill. I just love the flavour the charcoal adds to the food while grilling. Smoked food is even better. What I really love about this recent advance in grilling is the briquettes. Back in those days, lighting up the grill was a laborious process. It took a long time and sometimes starting the fire was a bit tricky. We would use kerosene to light the fire and sometimes end up with food that smelt of kerosene. Starting the grill today involves very little effort and a lot less messy!
The first time I used the grill, which was about 2 weeks ago; I was entertaining a group of 14 for lunch. I marinated prawns, chicken and mutton in marinades from different cuisines and also did a paneer tikka and asian-flavoured mushrooms for the vegetarians. To go with the grilled food, I served pita chips with hummus, couscous with grilled vegetables and a baked dish that contained baked beans.
Last night when I entertained a group of 4 people, I decided to do an Indian-themed barbeque dinner. For this, I marinated the fish cubes in a paste of onion, coriander leaves, garlic, green chillies, turmeric and cumin. I marinated the chicken in Bombay flavors which involved paprika, garlic, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric. I marinated the mutton in a blend of spices and ground fried-onions to prepare ‘Pathar Ka Ghosht’. With paneer, I just repeated the paneer tikka because it was a real hit the last I grilled it and paneer was so soft and was just melting in our mouths. To go with the grilled food, I made corn pulao, warm carrot salad and a potato and curd curry.
The best part of the dinner last night was the dessert. I grilled fresh figs on the oiled grill until lightly browned before I put the meat and paneer on it. I put away the figs while we were eating the other grilled food. At the end of the meal, I served the grilled figs with rum-flavoured ice-cream, a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. It was simply fantastic. That to me was the highlight of the dinner and I’ll definitely be serving that dessert again as long as I can lay my hands on some fresh figs. Grilled pineapples can be a great alternative and I think its flavours will blend well with cinnamon and honey. Also just plain vanilla ice-cream should go well with the above flavours if you can’t find rum-flavoured ice-cream.
I am looking forward to many more encounters with my new grill. It sure is good times with the grill…………….