Hello, you guys, how you been? I’ve been MIA because I had a busy couple of weeks and I am still trying to get back to routine after a brief holiday back home. Post holiday blues suck!
Anyway, this probably is not the right time of the year to write a post on barbecuing but we recently spent a weekend away from home and spent the night barbecuing with friends (one last time) before summer kills us all.
Yep, I’m still a vegetarian and I am talking about grilling/barbecuing only vegetables and yes, it was fun. We don’t need no meat, thank you!
A barbecue meal always gets me excited and I thought this time, instead of just posting a recipe, I’ll share the barbecue essentials we carry as well. So, here’s my step-by-step guide to packing all that you need to enjoy/host a lovely vegetarian barbecue lunch/dinner.
Prepping your veggies –
Wash your veggies, dry them thoroughly and cube or cut them up into big chunks. If you are using potatoes, parboil them. Baby potatoes as well as regular potatoes work.
We used mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers (cubed), tomatoes (pulp removed and cubed or use cherry tomatoes), onions, paneer, potatoes, babycorn, sweet corn & halloumi this time.
Other veggies that work are eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, boiled and peeled arbi, etc. If you wan to go the fruity way, peaches and pineapples are my favorite. Don’t marinate them. Use a generous sprinkling of cinnamon instead. Mmhmm…
Make a marinade –
In a large, wide bowl – whip thick yogurt, add ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala, amchur (dry mango) powder, chaat masala and salt and mix well. Alternatively, you can use MDH tandoori barbeque masala + chili powder and salt. Both work really well. I love this masala blend from MDH.
Coat your veggies in the prepared marinade and refrigerate at least for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.
Prepare your dips/chutneys/sides –
I usually make a green chutney and what goes in is a bunch of fresh coriander, a handful of fresh mint, juice of one lemon, 1 onion cubed/chopped 2-3 garlic cloves, 1 inch piece of ginger and 2 green chillies. I season this with salt and chaat masala.
You can mix this with some whipped curd/yogurt too for a yogurt based dip or if you want to tone down the chutney for kids.
An imli (tamarind) chutney will work well too. We carried Heinz Spicy Tikka Mayo this time. This stuff is brilliant, you guys.
I also like quickly pickling onions to use as a topping. For this, I thinly slice 2 onions, add chilli powder, salt and the juice of one lemon. I add this to a clean glass jar, shake to mix everything and refrigerate it until I need it.
If you plan to make wraps with the barbecued veggies, you can partially cook the rotis/tortillas and pack these in aluminium foils to use later. This time around, we used readymade chapathis/parathas and my friend prepared half the marinated veggies.
I pack veggies in foil containers too for ease.
Soak your skewers in water for a few hours to help them from burning while you use them to barbecue. This step is optional though because I haven’t had a problem with them burning either way.
Prepare your barbecue set/stand. Wipe the grill grates with newspaper and thoroughly oil the them so that food doesn’t stick to it. Light up the coal. This may take a while, so do this and then start skewering your veggies.
Skewer the mixed vegetables in any order you want and keep them ready. Once the grill is hot enough, place the prepared skewers on it and grill till it’s all uniformly browned/cooked.
You can also finish cooking the partially cooked rotis/tortillas side by side. Do not leave them on the grate for too long because they’d crisp up and/or eventually burn.
Once done, transfer to a plate, adjust seasoning if needed and sprinkle some chaat masala on top. Squeeze some lemon juice on it and serve with tortillas, rotis, jeera rice or eat it as is with the dips/chutneys. Some chopped fresh coriander adds a lovely fresh touch too.
To make it easier to eat, you can transfer the veggies from the skewer on to a tortilla/roti that is smeared with green chutney, top it with pickled onions and imli chutney or tikka mayo or whatever you fancy and make a wrap/roll.
Other essentials to carry –
- Plates, cutlery (disposable works best if you are travelling)
- Extra seasoning/condiments
- Old newspapers
- Trash bags
- Lighter fluid
- Tissue boxes
- Barbecue/Grill (in case they don’t provide one where you’re going)
- A container to carry leftovers, if any
You can put together a BBQ meal at the comfort of your home too. Prepare your veggies the same way and grill them on the stove top on a grill pan or a regular tawa or grill them in an oven/OTG. Whatever fits your bill.
This is a fairly healthy meal since I haven’t used any oil and it’s just all the veggies and some healthy fats.
If you want to make it vegan, use vegan curd/yogurt or skip it altogether and just make a marinade of the masalas with some oil and use this to coat the veggies. Skip the paneer and halloumi and use firm tofu. Works just as well.
- Planning in advance ensures you have some time to marinate the vegetables.
- If you think you wouldn’t be using the marinated veggies soon, store them in the refrigerator till you need them or in an insulated/thermal bag. This is to keep them from spoiling as well as to avoid any unnecessary health risks.
- You can prep your chutneys/dips a day or two in advance to avoid last minute hassles.
- Do not thinly slice vegetables or paneer as these tend to fall off the skewer while they are getting cooked.
- Carry some toothpicks for the kids to use to pick their veggies. This is more fun than using a fork.
How do you like your grilled vegetables? What’s your secret marinade mix? Tell me everything!