Today I will bring to you a low capital intensive option of making barbecue. Wikipedia defines barbecue as art of cooking meat over low and slow indirect heat over high smoke fuel where the flame does not touch the meat.
There come the first myth, that Barbecue is meant for meat eaters (it is true that where it has wide spread use like in Gulf countries, it is primarily used to cook meat). The second myth is it's set up is costly and making Barbecue is time and labour intensive work (second part of the second myth is not really a myth but a reality).
Objective of the blog is to bring the pleasure of slow cooked pure heavenly food option to more people by breaking those one and half myths.
All kinds of meats and vegetables can be cooked on Barbecue. Most meats need marination for making them soft and tender for cooking over slow heat and most vegetables may or may not need marination. Depends on type of vegetable.
If meat is to be cooked, particularly mutton and chicken, they need to be brought, cleaned and marinated well in time (more hours under the marination the better). How to marinate? Simple one is, give cuts to the meat post cleaning so that it absorbs the marinade, apply Ginger Garlic paste, cover for sometime and finally apply thick (but not hung) curd and chicken / mutton masala mix (add salt if needed as commercial ginger garlic paste has salt in it) to the meat and keep it covered.
Vegetables like Cauliflower, etc can be parboiled with little salt and can be marinated the similar or same way (with or without curd marination). Similar marination is needed for Paneer pieces also. In any case, type of marination is a personal choice and it gives scope for individual innovation based on taste.
If you want to Barbecue onions, take whole onions pierce them with fork, dip them in vinegar and salt for some time and remove and keep them. Sweet Potatoes and baby potatos (pierced with fork) need parboiling (but it is not essential, they can be cooked without parboiling but will take little while longer). Tomatoes need to be cut in half and nothing else is needed for them. Ripe bananas need nothing and so is Pineapple.
We will need Charcoal for Barbecue. Where to buy? Usual source of information is local Dhobi (if still using coal iron) or local kabab wala. As for New Delhi, sector 12 market in RK Puram is one place where it is available (there may be many more places). In Colaba, Mumbai, it is available between Sasoon Dock and Colaba Post office.
There is no need to buy costly Barbecue. A Rs 100 Tasla or Tagari of tin will do the job. It is generally available at Bartan (utensil) store or hardware store (See photo below).
If Charcoal is ready, vegetables are ready (and meat also if non veg eaters are there), The tagari (our Jugaad Barbecue) is ready then are we ready for Barbecue? Not really.
we need skewers to put the vegetables (or meat or veg followed by meat) on the flame for Barbecue. Few options are, buy ready made skewers from a super mart selling Barbecue, buy thin iron rods from a hardware store and get them cut to required length and if you can get none of them, just pick up cycle spokes of longest length from a cycle shop (this is what I used the first time on 31 Dec 1998). If none of these things can be managed, just buy iron wire mesh (Jali) of half inch square. Now we are ready.
Make sure that the improvised Barbecue (maker) is put in open ventilated space like balcony or roof top. Fill it up to half level with Charcoal.
Would the Kerosine be needed? I used to use it once upon a time but it is messy. Just put two - three Charcoals on gas stove and let them become partial red hot.
Transfer them on the Barbecue and then fan them with a board or a table fan. As the nearby charcoal start lighting bring in newer ones on top of them. In about 15 - 20 minutes of extensive fanning the flame would be ready.
What goes on skewers and what goes direct on flame? All the meats should go either go on skewers or on a wire mesh. Don't forget to apply oil to skewers or wire mesh. Full onions, Paneer, Cauliflower, Capcium, Pineapple, Tomatoes and cut onions (if liked) also go on skewers.
Potaoes (baby or normal) and Sweet Potato can be put on to the coal directly and so is banana. However, potatoes and sweet potatoes should be put when the flame gets reduced little bit and Bananas only at later stage.
In order to honour feelings of Vegetarians, the skewered vegetables and paneer should be made first. Once that is done, they will have to wait for potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and bananas at a later time. Notice Potatoes in silver foil in the left bottom corner of the photo.
Now the meats can be cooked. The skewers need to be turned regularly (for both veg and meat skewers) at certain interval (based on the strength of fire) for uniform cooking and oil needs to be applied to the veg or meat. best way to apply oil is to take oil in a bowl and apply it by Dhaniya stick, shown below:-
Easy way to identify that the items are cooked is to look for change of colour (of meat or paneer) from normal to little caramelized (but not burnt). b Tomatoes and pineapple, etc would look juicy when cooked.Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes will have their skin caramelized and wrinkled when cooked. Banana skin also will turn black when cooked.
The Barbecue is ready. Enjoy it with Mint Chutney or Chat masala or just plain. Happy Barbecuing (is there such a word, I don't know, but I have coined it).
Once all cooking and eating is done, one can sit around the fire (particularly in winter) and there would be enough heat in the Tagari (aka Jugad Barbecue) to warm milk for hot cups of Coffee (that I prefer) or tea while every one chats and enjoys.
Don't fence sit and wait, go out, do it and let the pleasure of slow cooked food begin.