Tag Archives: grill

Herby Paneer Parcels – a BBQ idea for Vegetarians

Herby Paneer Parcels

Herby Paneer Parcels

My brother-in-law and I have a tradition of sorts. For the past few years, every Mother’s Day, he and I get together and cook brunch for our better halves. This year, we started out by thinking of doing a grill-based brunch. However, lacking time and ideas, we ended up with just one dish that used the grill. And it was this one.

Surprisingly easy to make, it tastes great. The trick is to really get the paneer (recipe here) to marinate. With summer and Memorial Day approaching, I thought I’d put this out there as an idea to throw in a vegetarian BBQ dish in the mix.

For a change I followed the recipe to a T so here is the link for it.

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Rotis on the Grill

Grilled Rotis

Grilled Rotis

Ask an Indian housewife of my parents’ generation what is the easiest thing to cook, and I’ll bet you my bottom dollar most will say Rotis (Chapatis). Having been brought up in North India, I love Chapatis (Rotis), Tandoori Rotis and Naans. However, making Rotis for me or my wife is a particularly arduous task. And we suck at it. What is easy for many is very hard for us. It probably is the 10,000 hour rule at play here. Rotis are made every day in most households and people who make them, really get good at it. We don’t make Rotis every day ergo we aren’t very good at it.

However since everyone in our family enjoys Indian bread, I have explored ways to make other Indian breads and generally succeeded with the help of my grill. The Naan recipe (read here) works beautifully. The Tandoori Rotis are serviceable (read here). So, a couple of weeks back, on a whim I decided to make some dough (Whole Wheat Flour aka Aata, Salt and Water – kneaded really well till the gluten formed and the dough was soft) and try making Chapatis on a Grill.

I rolled out a batch of Rotis like I normally would. Then, cooked them four at a time on a very hot (500F), preheated grill. Less than a minute on each side. You have to watch them carefully. They cook fast. I was done with enough Rotis to feed six in less than 5 mins of cooking time. The verdict? They were good. A sort-of cross between a Chapati and Tandoori Roti, they tasted really good, and they were easy to make. You can’t go wrong with that combination. The best part? It gave a cheapskate vegetarian like me, another reason to justify the purchase of a grill.

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Homemade Naans (Indian Flatbread)

Homemade Naans

Homemade Naans

I have struggled with making Naan at home. I have tried to use the basic Foccacia/Pizza dough type recipe with results that are edible but lack the softness. So when I decided to try making Naan (again) yesterday, my wife rolled her eyes and asked me to make some rice for her (as a backup). Anyway, this time I turned to Allrecipes.com (great website) for a recipe and tried one of the top rated recipes there (link here). It was great! I finally have a recipe that works beautifully and I have found another use for my grill.

As always, I didn’t make the recipe exactly like suggested. Here are some notes/lessons learned from my experience.

1. The dough is really soft and somewhat sticky. That’s cool.

2. I used about half the sugar suggested in the recipe – the amount of suggested sugar just looked excessive.

3. When you roll out the dough use a lot of dry flour to keep it from sticking.

4. Roll the Naans pretty thin – about what the thickness of a Tortilla. They puff beautifully.

5. Kalonji/Nigella Satica seeds work very well on top. I used Ajwain/Carom seeds. They work well too.

6. To make the seeds stick, I brushed the top of the uncooked Naan with some melted butter. I did not use butter like the recipe called for.

7. The bread cooks FAST on a grill. Keep an eye on it. The recipe said 2-3 minutes on either side. I think in my super hot grill each side cooked in under a minute.

 

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Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Pistachio

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios

Brussels Sprouts get a bad rap. When I told my kids that we were going to have them for dinner, they made a face. This is conditioning. My kids have never had Brussels Sprouts but kids at school have talked about yucky veggies and B Sprouts in particular. Never mind the fact that most of them are likely eating steamed veggies as a side to their meat-laden diet. And steamed veggies, as any vegetarian cook worth their weight in asparagus, will tell you usually are the blandest things on the planet.

Well, I like Brussels Sprouts. So does my wife. The fact is I haven’t made them in years because they weren’t a top-of-mind veggie. However, chancing upon some at the last grocery store run, I bought some. Then some Internet searches revealed that steaming, roasting and sauteeing are all appropriate treatments for this member of the cabbage family. I decided to go for a combination of steam and grill.

Since I was winging it, I don’t have the exact proportions but this is what I did.

1. Washed and steamed the sprouts for about 8 mins.

2. Cut them up in half.

3. Tossed them with minced garlic, Slap Ya Mama seasoning (good stuff), some brown sugar and olive oil.

4. Grilled them till they were slightly charred.

5. Served them tossed with some salted pistachios.

They were good. I want more. In fact, my wife reminded me of Brussels Sprouts that a chef friend of ours: Jordan Swim, makes, which are exceptional. I need to get that recipe from him and see if I can replicate his magic.

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Some grilling lessons from a vegetarian using a gas grill

Margarita Pizza made on a gas grill

Margarita Pizza made on a gas grill

As I had mentioned a few posts back, I did buy a grill, much to the amusement of my meat eating buddies. The first time I used it, it was a disaster. I was making veggie burgers on it, that I had made from scratch, and they essentially, disintegrated (the recipe was good though, see here). I was smarter the next time. I cooked the burgers on a stove top and finished them on the grill. They were perfect. Next up was pizza.

While I had made pizza with some success (see here), on a stone in an oven (our oven goes up to 550F, which is nice), I always wanted to try a grill. I did and the pizza was fabulous. However, along the way I did learn a thing or two about using the grill so I thought I’d pass those lessons on.

1. Don’t cook veggie burgers on a grill but be sure to finish them on it – Veggie burgers tend to disintegrate because the binding that is used (egg, as is often the case in homemade burgers) has not set in. A better option is to cook the burgers on a stovetop and then finish them in the grill. If you think about it, even the veggie burgers that you get in grocery stores are semi-cooked and hence can be safely put on a grill without fear of dismemberment.

2. Do melt cheese on the patty in the grill – Nothing like melted cheese on a burger patty. I used to use a frying pan with a lid to get a nice melt going, but the grill takes it to a whole new, more fabulous level.

3. Do make pizza on a grill but make sure the stone is super hot – I used a pizza stone on a grill for the first time and I made the classic mistake of not letting the stone heat long enough on the grill. As a result my pizzas started getting better and better as the evening went on. So, the lesson learned is that you need to put the pizza stone on the grill at least for an hour with the gas going at max. While super high temperatures (600F+) will likely not be achieved, the pizza does turn out much crispier than the oven. For me, the grill is the go to place to make pizza going forward.

Nice crispy bottom on a gas grill pizza

Nice crispy bottom on a gas grill pizza

4. Do watch the pizza like a hawk – With the high, direct heat in the grill, it is easy to burn the pizza. So watch it like a hawk till you get a sense for how long it takes to cook pizza on your grill.

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A South American Veggie Burger V2.0

A South American Veggie Burger V2.0

A South American Veggie Burger V2.0

A few weeks back I had posted a recipe for a veggie burger that was inspired by South American flavors. Lissa, from New Zealand had made some suggestions that were intriguing, so I decided to try them. She has suggested using black beans, coriander (cilantro) and jalapenos. So I set out to experiment.

I decided on using sweet potato, black beans and quinoa as the base, but when I looked at my sorry looking sweet potato, I decided to toss it rather than risk food poisoning. I had a couple of potatoes in the pantry, I decided to use one instead. I had some fresh corn so I decided to throw that in as well. I used “Slap yo Mamma” seasoning and some salt. But you can use salt and pepper and it should work. Overall the recipe worked very well. Enough for my picky kid to say this is awesome and that I should make it again.

Below is a list of ingredients. And, I am playing around with an application (Vignets) that one of my clients has developed to show you the recipe. This is just a first, very rough attempt at using it. LMK, what you think.

INGREDIENTS (for 8 patties)

1 Boiled Potato – peeled and mashed

1 cup cooked Black Beans (I had made Black Bean stuffing for enchiladas, I used the leftovers)

Kernels from a corn husk – boiled till slightly soft

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa – cook according to instructions

1 egg

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1/2 Jalapeno – chopped fine

Seasoning – Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Fajita Seasoning etc etc. whatever takes your fancy

Panko breadcrumbs

STEPS

See the slideshow(Vignet) here

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A South American Veggie Burger

A South America inspired Veggie Burger

A South America inspired Veggie Burger

I bought a grill. When I mentioned this to a meat-eating friend of mine, he burst into laughter. He wanted to know what a herbivore would do with one. I had big plans for the grill, visions of veggie burgers, pizzas and grilled veggie salads floated past me in my imagination. I was ready for a rude awakening though. The first time I tried to make veggie burgers, they fell apart on the grill. I salvaged what I could and finished them off on a frying pan on a stovetop. I am thinking of using a pizza pan next time to cook them. Maybe they’ll hold up better. I still have high hopes for my new acquisition.

The flavors of the burger though were good enough to merit a foodydoody post. So here goes. In an inspired moment (these are few and far between) I decided to use ingredients typically found in South American/Latin American cooking to put together a veggie burger.  A combination of Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa and Pinto Beans seemed like a good idea and so I went with that. I used an egg as a binder and that was it.

INGREDIENTS (for 4 burger patties)

1 Sweet Potato – peeled and boiled

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa – cooked according to instructions

1/2 cup refried beans – I wanted to use real pinto beans but decided to use them too late, hence didn’t have time to cook them. Ended up using canned refried beans instead.

1/2 tsp Ground roasted cumin

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp Red chili powder

1/4 tsp Black pepper

1/2 Chipotle in adobo sauce – chopped fine

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 egg

STEPS

1. Mash the sweet potatoes.

2. Add everything else.

3. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Shape into patties.

5. Pan fry with a little oil on a frying pan. NOTE: You may want to finish in the oven for 10 minutes at 400F.

6. Serve with fixins.

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