Achari Swordfish Tikkas, with tomato and cucumber salad. Garlic scape chutney and flatbreads off screen. Recipe adapted from Indian Kitchen by Maunika Gowardhan.
The fish are marinated for 20 minutes in yogurt with garlic, a spoonful of lime pickle, and a crushed spice blend including fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, and cumin seeds. I also added a little salt and black pepper. Then grill for about 8 minutes total, turning and basting with butter as needed.
Beef kebabs tonight, in a simple spice paste I picked up years ago from Epicurious. Copious crushed fresh garlic, equal parts ground cumin and coriander, cayenne to taste, salt, a squeeze of lemon and as much olive oil as you need to get it to nicely coat and stick to the meat. I used flap steak tonight, which is my favorite cut for any large-chunk kebab recipe (whereas I would probably choose flank steak or even eye of round if I were going to do thin slices). Which cuts do you HOs prefer for your skewering needs?
I enjoyed the previously mentioned chicken thighs for my Greek Lemon Oregano kebabs.
For beef, I’ve used sirloin tips/steak tips cut in half or more if they’re humongous, and not packed tightly on the skewer.
For pork, a large boneless center-cut pork chop cut into medium-thick strips works for me.
I don’t make pork skewers all that frequently, but when I do I prefer to use thinly sliced shoulder. I never feel like marinades/spice pastes penetrate larger pieces of pork well, and the leaner cuts don’t seem to work as well with this treatment - by the time you get some good char on the outside, they are overcooked. Any tricks for getting those cuts to take flavor?
I marinate for 4 h - overnight . I admit- I roast my kabobs in the oven . I don’t have a gas bbq, and don’t set up a hibachi for 3 people on a weeknight. I haven’t BBQed for a decade or more. I don’t end up with char. I’ve never mastered broiling.
The combination of a flavorful spice rub at the beginning and the dressing at the end infuse a lot of flavor. It cooks really fast - so they suggest bigger chunks than one might otherwise use with another cut.
Do you bunch it up on the skewers or thread them through?
There’s an Indian dish called pasinda/pasanda (kabab) that uses that trick for beef, which is usually very tough there (thin strips are pounded first, then a yogurt marinade, finally threaded onto skewers).
Typically I bunch any thin sliced meat (beef, lamb, pork) - I like the way bunched meat holds on to marinades/pastes and how you get variations in texture with some crunchy charred bits and more tender inner parts.
My favorite marinade for making lamb kebabs on our kamado style grill – enough for about 4 lbs. of deboned and trimmed lamb meat:
3/4 c. olive oil
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 t. kosher salt
4 t. lemon zest
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. cayenne pepper 4 lbs. trimmed lamb meat, cut into 1-2” cubes 1/4 large onion, thinly sliced
Reserve ½ c. of the marinade for basting. Pour the rest over the lamb meat and sliced onions and marinade the meat pieces, stirring occasionally, for 12 hours. If you have it, soak some applewood chips and rosemary sprigs for smoking. Scrape off the onion before skewering. While grilling, baste the kebabs occasionally with the reserved marinade. I usually cook on an open grill with direct heat at about 400 degrees to an internal temp of 130.
I am here to share, not a delicious dish with luscious pictures, but a kitchen fail.
Last week I wanted to try a variation of vegetarian shami kababs, using up some veg crumbles and canned chickpeas. I cooked up the crumbles with appropriate masala, and lined up the ingredients to be ground on the counter: cooked crumbles, cans of chickpeas, and some toasted chickpea flour (extra binder).
I had some errands to run so I asked DH (who is solid in the kitchen) to grind all these together in the FP, form some patties (we discussed the size and the wet-the-palms hack), and place them in the fridge to firm up.
When I got back, DH had found the mixture too dry in the FP (maybe the order in which he put them in?) and added some water (ohhhhh no!!!)
He had then formed what I will call ‘splatties’ and put them in the fridge. I will spare you the pictures, gentle reader.
We just laughed at it and I pan fried a couple of batches while he oven-baked some (he insisted at 350deg F while I recommended a higher temperature).
Both turned out not too bad, very soft and falling-apart texture, though they held together enough to fry and bake. Tasted good.
The oven took a long time (about 20 minutes per side, total 40 mins).
Some eaters preferred the oven product, some the pan product, and some couldn’t tell them apart. We ate them with TJ garlic naan and raita.
Leftovers were good too, as sandwich fillings / avocado toast toppings.
So, product was okay though the process was a riot.