The French call them 'Brochettes', the English 'Skewers', the Spanish 'Pinchos', the Italians 'Spiedino' and the Greek 'Souvlaki'. And then there are the countless versions of the word 'Kebab' from around the globe...
No wonder this way of grilling meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and even fruits is so popular. Cutting whatever it is you want to cook into small pieces, skewer it on a stick and hold it over a fire is probably the oldest way of cooking. But there are more practical reasons to go this way. Smaller pieces make for shorter cooking time and ensure the product is cooked all the way through. It also allows for better seasoning or marinating and for combinations of food such as meat and vegetables. Last but not least: little bite-size pieces are easy to serve and eat, even if there are no plates or kitchenware in sight.
So, here's a selection of recipes from around the world as inspiration for you next grilling extravaganza. Enjoy!
Equipment: pestle and mortar
500 gr Pork neck or shoulder
1 medium size yellow onion
125 ml plain yogurt
1/2 tsp of peppercorns
1 tsp of sea salt
2 pickled red peppers
1 tbsp of aged balsamic vinegar
We used Hungarian Mangalica pork for this recipe, which is getting more and more available from good butchers and online. It's expensive, but also a real treat!
Grind pepper corns and sea salt to a fine powder using your pestle & mortar. Roughly chop your onion and add to the mortar. Grind unto a fine paste. Add 1 tablespoon of the brine of the pickled red peppers and the yogurt. Mix well. Cut your pork into 4 cm cubes and add to the marinade.
Marinate for 4 - 6 hours in your fridge. Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Skewer the meat and roast over low coals until brown and cooked through, but still juicy. Serve with pilav rice, the pickled peppers and a fresh salad.
Equipment: pestle and mortar; large skewers
1 whole free-range chicken (~1400gr)
250 ml mild olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
125 ml saffron water
2 heaped tbsp of Greek yoghurt
1 yellow onion
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of black pepper
This Persian classic is very flavorful as the chicken is cooked on the bone. we prefer to leave the skin on, but you can opt to take it off. For instructions on how to cut a chicken into 8 or 10 pieces, look here. We recommend to go for 10 pieces.
For this recipe to be really authentic, we need to make some saffron water. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (aka kurkuma or koenjit). To make the saffron water, use a few sprigs of saffron with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Use pestle & mortar to ground it into a fine powder. Add 125 ml of boiling water and stir. Leave to cool in keep in a separate container till needed.
Cut the onion into thin slices and add to a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Make sure all nooks and crannies of the chicken are coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 - 8 hours. We at DiscoverGreatTaste generally do not recommend to use yogurt or lemon based marinades for more than 8 hours, but if you are brave, you can leave it overnight.
After marinating, remove from fridge and allow to get to room temperature before skewering the pieces on large skewers. If you cant get these, you can of course cook the chicken on a grill. Be careful: the marinade burns easily. Grill over low coals together with some onions, tomatoes and bell peppers until core temperature of the bigger pieces reaches a minimum of 75°C. Enjoy!
Serves 2 - 4
2 Ribeye steaks thickly cut (~250gr each)
2 large yellow onions
1 green bell pepper
Fresh ginger (thumb size piece)
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle of your favorite special beer (30cl)
1 tbsp of dark sugar
This is a very versatile recipe as you can rename it after the origin of your favorite special beer used. We use Hertog Jan Grand Prestige, a strong, dark beer from the North of our province - hence the title Limburgian Ribeye Skewers!
Roughly chop the onion and cut the piece of ginger into julienne strips. Open you beer and take a sip (not more!). Add to a bowl with onion, ginger, lemon juice and a dash (or two) of the Worcestershire sauce. Cut your steaks in large cubes, at least 5 x 5 cm and as thick as your butcher cut the steaks. Use well marbled steaks, lean meat will not work here.
Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour - not more! If you marinate for longer time, the lemon will discolor your steak.
Cut the other onion into same size pieces as you steak cubes. If you use wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least 1 hour before use.
Remove steak from the marinade and skewer as shown on the picture, making sure you start and finish with a piece of meat.
Add the remaining marinade to a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce by half and keep warm on your BBQ. Grill your skewers for 2 Min's on all four sides, depending on thickness. Brush with the reduced marinade on each turn.
Serve with a baked potato and some well- buttered corn on-the-cob. Enjoy!
Fish Kebabs from the Orient
Equipment: large skewers
1 kg of salmon fillet
Fresh ginger (thumb size piece)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of turmeric (aka kurkuma or koenjit)
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
2 tbsp of mild olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Cut your salmon into 5 x 5 cm cubes. Don't go smaller as the fish will break from your skewers. You can use any type of firm, fatty fish, but salmon is your best bet here.
Finley mince ginger and garlic and add to a large bowl . Mix with all other ingredients into a marinade and add salmon. Leave to marinade in the fridge for max 2 hrs.
Grill over medium hot coal until nice and golden brown. This is where the turmeric comes into play.
Do not overcook! Salmon should always be pink and juicy in the middle. Serve with a nice salad and some crusty bread & butter. Enjoy!