Right in the middle of summer, a few recipes that focus on the BBQ.
Casual visitors might easily take on the belief that all I cook in the warmer months is based around the BBQ, but in fact it’s probably only half right! The following offerings are all meaty things on sticks, but mostly originate in different food cultures, so may well increase your BBQ vocabulary now that the season is well and truly upon us.
Almost every barbecued skewer recipe highlights the finished article residing on suspiciously unburnt skewers. I wonder if they hurriedly rethread the cooked elements on new sticks for presentation, as it is a real challenge to barbecue these items without charring the sticks in the process. I know the idea is to soak your bamboo sticks in water for 30 mins before you start, but I’m yet to find that makes any difference. My solution is to use stainless steel skewers instead. Not only are these infinitely re-usable, but cooking with them rapidly conducts heat right to the centre of the protein you are charring, so there is a higher likelihood that the inside will be cooked as well as the exterior…
Anticuchos is street food in Lima, a place that against serious odds must rate highly as a food destination even when ranked against Bangkok, Paris, San Sebastián etc. One of the reasons this happened was as a result of the influence of the Japanese who migrated to Peru in the 19th century as labourers. And in time, had an important, positive effect on local food options, often making a lot more out of the raw ingredients already found in this part of the world. Anticuchos is usually prepared using chicken (or beef) hearts and, even though these can be readily sourced from butchers at Belconnen Markets, I am yet to convince my core clientele to embrace these. In the meantime, bits of thigh fillet do the job pretty well. The actual recipe I use is based on the one from Jennifer Joyce’s My Street Food Kitchen.
500g chicken thigh fillets (cut into about 4 segments for your average-sized thigh fillet).
1 small red chilli (if you can find aji panca (red) or aji amarillo (yellow) chillies they would be perfect).
1 garlic clove
juice and rind from a lime
3 tspns soy sauce
3 tspns chilli sauce
1½ tblspns rice wine vinegar
1 tspn ground cumin
To make the marinade, puree the chilli, garlic and all the remaining ingredients in a blender, then season with salt & freshly-ground black pepper.
Combine the chicken with the marinade in a bowl and then cover and refrigerate for several hours (overnight if you’re organised). Thread the chicken onto skewers.
Preheat a barbecue and cook the skewers for 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Serve with Aji Verde sauce, finely chopped red onion & coriander sprigs.
Aji Verde sauce
Makes 250 ml (this is heaps, enough for two lots of the skewers)
¾ cup coriander, including stems
1 small green chilli, seeds removed
2 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lime
4 tblspns sour cream
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour into a serving bowl & season with salt & freshly-ground black pepper. This sauce recipe will make enough for a kilo of chicken so if you’re going to double the recipe you won’t need to double this bit.
Korean Ginger-Soy Beef with Chilli Tomatoes
If you’ve never worked out how to integrate Coca-Cola into your culinary exploits, here’s a good place to start. These tender chunks of barbecued beef never fail to impress. This recipe makes a skewer of beef each for 4 lucky customers. You could marinate twice as much steak with this marinade if you have a larger audience. This comes from Debbie Lee’s Seoultown Kitchen book. There are a few other skewer-based recipes in there that have also proven their worth.
½ onion, cut into quarters
1 tblspn finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tblspn finely chopped fresh garlic
4 tblspns brown sugar
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tspn onion powder
½ tspn ground black pepper
8 tblspns soy sauce
4 tblspns mirin (rice wine)
4 tblspns cola (not the artificially-sweetened ones, please!)
4 tblspns sesame oil
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tblspn chilli powder
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tblspn sesame oil
1 tblspn olive oil
salt & black pepper to taste
450g rib-eye steak (about 2.5cm thick) cut into 8 cubes
2 tblspns chopped spring onions for garnish
Make the Ginger-Soy marinade first. In a food processor, finely chop the onion with the ginger, garlic and other dry ingredients. Add the soy sauce, mirin, cola and finally the sesame oil. Marinate the beef cubes in this for at least 30 minutes.
Add the chili powder, smoked paprika, sesame and olive oils in another bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss until they are well-coated. Season with salt & pepper.
Once meat is marinated, assemble skewers starting with a cherry tomato, add a cube of steak then a cherry tomato, then finish off with another cube of steak and a final cherry tomato.
Cook for two minutes each side on a preheated barbecue and continue to cook and turn until the steak is cooked to your desired doneness. 10 minutes should be ample. Season with salt & pepper and garnish with spring onions for serving.
Moo Ping (หมูปิ้ง)
To complete a triumvirate of barbecued proteins, here’s one done with pork to finish. This is another street food find, but you can also try a more refined version at Khao Pla in Sydney. This particular version is based the recipe found in David Thomson’s Thai Street Food book.
Coriander roots keep well in the freezer for this dish. Just cut them off & save them when using the coriander for other things.
1 tspn cleaned & chopped coriander roots
pinch of salt
1 tspn chopped garlic
½ tspn white pepper
2 tblspns palm sugar
dash of dark soy sauce
1 tblspn fish sauce
2 tblspns peanut oil
400g pork fillet
First make the marinade. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the coriander root, garlic, salt & pepper into a fine paste. Combine with the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and oil. Slice the pork into thin pieces. Marinate the pork for ~ 3 hours. Or overnight in the fridge.
Thread the pork onto skewers and barbecue them on a low grill, turning often. You can dab them with coconut cream as they grill to impart more of a smoky flavour, but I find this just makes more of a mess on the BBQ…