Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meat on a Stick

Hi there, 

I don't about you, but there's something super-fun about eating food on a stick. Popsicles, candy apples, lambChicken n' Waffles; all made better by sticking 'em on pieces of wood. Food on a stick is kind of a universal fixture in pretty much all cuisines, but maybe the most widespread example is the Kebab. Kebabs are a cornerstone of all kinds of cuisines (CLEARLY!), but I've never made them before. 

The idea to make kebabs actually started with Kari having a hankering for roasted cauliflower, which to me always calls for Indian flavouring.  But, it was the night of SummerSlam and it seemed like a good night to fire up the BBQ and put some meat on a stick (with a bunch of veggies intertwined). With that in mind, I looked to the spice rack for some ideas on how to give the meat an Indian flair without relying simply on a whack of curry powder.  

Luckily, I still had lots of panch poran spice mix leftover from when I made Dal in the Winter. I find this is a great way to add lots of flavour to any dish and make it taste authentically Indian without relying on the more "pedestrian" curry powder. So, using that, a whack of other spices and a few other marinade/wet rub basics (ginger, garlic, oil, salt, etc.), I put together a very potent marinade for beef. 

Indian-Spiced Beef Kebabs

Makes 6 kebabs


- 1 lb. beef, cubed (I used hanger steak for this recipe because I love its deep beefy flavour, but stewing beef cubes will work, or really any cut of beef; it's up to you - Note on hanger steak: there's a lot of membrane and sinew to trim, so if you want to do things easy, stick to beef cubes)
- 1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 large red or yellow or orange pepper, cut into chunks
- 24 large cherry tomatoes 
- 6 wooden skewers, soaked in water for an hour


- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp panch poran spice blend
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 whole star anise
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- pinch cayenne pepper (or more for more heat)
- 1 tsp favourite hot sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp orange juice 
- 1 tsp orange zest

Beef, meet a metric ton of flavour. You kids have fun. 


- Grind panch poran, coriander. star anise and fenugreek in spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add meat and toss together until well coated. 
- Place meat in a large zipper bag and marinate for at least an hour, 5-6 hours is best. 
- Thread meat and vegetables on skewers, alternating between meat and various veggies (tomato, meat, onion, meat, pepper, meat, etc.).  
- Grill kebabs on 350 degree BBQ until meat is well cooked, but not burnt (do as I say, not as I do).

Ignore the black bits, otherwise it's delicious

I might sound a bit conceited, but goddamn I make tasty meat! The marinade was perfect, instilling a lot of strong Indian flavours while doing its job to tenderize the beef (which is important for so many cuts of meat). Also, the veggies were cooked the way I like them, with the tomatoes being nearly stewed in their own skins, the peppers being balanced between crunch and soft and the onions being crisp without being raw. For my first attempt at kebabs, I think I nailed it. Well, minus the burnt parts. 

Now, this meal was inspired by a craving for cauliflower, so I needed to make the ever popular and easy Roasted Cauliflower:

Roasted Cauliflower

- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces 

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic


- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large bowl, mix cauliflower, oil and seasoning until cauliflower is well coated.
- Roast in oven for about 20-30 minutes until cauliflower is tender and golden.

Tasty veggie goodness!
This is one of those methods of cooking cauliflower that's become the norm in our household. It's simple, easy and the spices always bring out the richness of the vegetable. 

Now, just kebabs and cauliflower isn't quite enough to make a full meal, is it? I figured some potatoes would be a good idea. I also figured that just boiling wouldn't be quite tasty enough, so what I did was boil them, then pan fry them with some Indian-style seasoning. I couldn't come up with a clever name, so I'm just going to call them "Twice Cooked Potatoes":

Twice Cooked Potatoes


- 4 medium sized potatoes, diced 
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric 
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 cup cilantro. chopped
- juice of half a lime


- Bring water to a boil and boil potatoes until slightly tender.

- Drain potatoes in a colander. 
- Heat oil in large frying pan and saute garlic for 2 minutes. 
- Add potatoes and spices and fry in pan until potatoes develop a golden crust.
- Once cooked, toss potatoes in a large bowl with lime juice and cilantro and serve. 

Something different than "regular" potatoes, but still super-easy to make

Now, I am not the biggest fan of potatoes (my Irish roots are ashamed of my taste buds), so adding as much flavour to them as possible just makes sense to me. So, the seasoning gave some much needed flavour to them, but the lime juice and cilantro made them jump up and do a can-can in my mouth. I wouldn't be surprised if just boiling the potatoes and adding the lime juice and cilantro would be enough on its own to make a kickass side dish. But then again, might as well take the extra ten minutes to fry them in seasoning to add that much more flavour. Regardless, I'm calling this one a success. 

All in all, this was a fantastic late summer feast to enjoy while watching Daniel Bryan kick John Cena's head off...