By Nancy Gerlach, R.D.
Because grilling is so popular in the United States, people often ignore spicy outdoor cooking in other parts of the world. But not us! Here are some of my favorite grilling recipes from Dave’s any my latest book–our tenth together.
Sesame Chicken Yakatori with Wasabi Ginger Glaze
Yakatori got its name from the Japanese words “yaki” for grilled and “tori” for poultry or chicken and refers to small pieces of marinated, grilled chicken. But, since we’ve already taken some liberties with traditional recipes in making this version, you can also make them with pork. Yakatoris are probably the most popular snack food in Japan and make a great appetizer hot off the grill. The glaze can be prepared 3 to 4 hours in advance, be refrigerated, and then warmed to room temperature before using.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 green onions, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
15 bamboo skewers
1 cup rice wine or dry sherry
2/3 cup mirin (sweet sake, available in Asian markets)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced green onion, including some of the greens
1 tablespoon Asian chile oil (available in Asian markets)
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Togarishi Seasoning, commercial or see recipe, below
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Cut the chicken into either 1-inch cubes or cut crosswise into pieces 2-inches long and 1/2-inch thick and wide. Thread the chicken strips crosswise in a S-shape on the skewers alternating with the onion.
Combine all the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and over a medium high heat and bring to just boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced by half and forms a glaze, about 5 minutes.
Grill the yakatori over a medium heat for 2 minutes per side or until slightly browned. Brush liberally with the glaze and continue cooking for a couple more minutes per side until the chicken is done.
Brush the yakatoris a final time with the glaze, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
This favorite Japanese seasoning sometimes goes by the name of “Seven Flavor Spice” or just Togarashi. Named for the togarashi chile, it’s a mixture of seven spices with the chile being the most important ingredient. Sometimes more than seven spices are used, but even then it’s called by the same name. This is very hot seasoning with a definite citrus flavor that is a common seasoning to spice udon noodles, soups, and yakatoris. It’s used as both a seasoning and a condiment added to finished dishes.
3 to 4 tablespoons crushed togarashi chile, or substitute takanotsume, santaka, or piquin chiles
1 tablespoon dried orange or tangerine peel
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Sichuan (sansho or fagara) pepper (available by mail order), or substitute equal amounts of anise and allspice
1 teaspoon shredded nori (seaweed) (available in Asian markets)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Place all the ingredients in a spice mill or coffee grinder and process to a coarse powder.
Store the mixture in an airtight container.
Yield: 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Heat Scale: Hot
Kurdish Shish Kebabs
Shish kebabs made from both ground and cubed meats, and are very popular throughout the Middle and Near East as well as Central Asia. This recipe is based on kebabs from southern Turkey where chiles are more widely used, but since authentic Turkish chiles are hard to find, we use either cayenne or piquin as a substitute. Serve with a rice pilaf or in a pita bread pocket for a Middle-Eastern-style sandwich. Using flat skewers rather that round to mold the meat onto, will make cooking a whole lot easier. We separate the vegetables and meat on different skewers because they cook for different lengths of time. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
1 1/2 pounds finely ground lamb
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baharat Seasoning, commercial or see recipe, below
1 teaspoon ground cayenne or piquin chile
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut in wedges
1 small onion, cut in wedges and separated
4 Italian frying chiles, cut in half, stems and seeds removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 pieces of pita bread, cut in half, optional
Combine the lamb, onion, garlic, egg, walnuts, mint, flour, and seasonings in a bowl and knead with your hands until smooth like dough. Break off pieces of the meat and form on the skewers into ovals cover and refrigerate, for a couple of hours or overnight.
Alternately thread the onion wedges, bell pepper, and chiles on separate skewers, beginning and ending with a pepper. Brush the vegetables with the oil. Preheat a grill to medium-high and grill the skewers until the meat is browned about 4 minutes on each side and the vegetables are tender but still crisp.
To serve, arrange the kebabs on a serving platter along with the warmed pita bread, if using.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
(Saudi Mixed Spices)
Baharat means “spice” in Arabic and is derived from the word “bahar,” which means pepper. So the definition of this recipe is “mixed spice with black pepper.” Used to flavor dishes throughout the Gulf states and in Iraq, Baharat varies to fit individual tastes, but all the variations use black pepper as a dominate spice. It’s’s traditionally used to flavor kibbeh which is a ground lamb and bulgur wheat dish, meat stuffings, with tomatoes, and in sauces, soups and stews.
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder, such as Cape Curry Powder, see recipe, page 00
1 1/2 tablespoons ground dried limes, omit if unavailable
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to blend.
Store the mixture in an airtight container.
Yield: 1/3 to 1/2 cup
Heat Scale: Mild
Grilled Tuna Steaks with Salsa Pimentón
In this seafood specialty from Spain, the pimentón is used in the marinade and in the sauce that seasons it at serving. Salmon steaks or the steaks of any large fish may be substituted. Serve with a Caesar salad and saffron rice. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons hot pimentón or substitute New Mexico chile powder and chipotle chile powder in equal proportions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tuna steaks, 1-inch thick
1 cup chopped red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, and chopped
1/2 cup minced green olives
Garnish: Flat-leaf parsley
Combine 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 tablespoon of pimentón, parsley in a bowl and stir to mix. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over each side of the tuna steaks, cover, and marinate for an hour at room temperature.
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat, add the remaining oil and when hot, add the onion, garlic, and another tablespoon of pimentón and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers and cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Place the onion mixture in a blender or food processor, add the remaining pimentón and the olives and puree to a smooth sauce.
Return the sauce to the saucepan gently simmer.
Grill the fish over a medium fire to the desired doneness, or cook under the broiler.
To serve, place the fish on individual plates, pour the sauce over the top, and garnish with the parsley.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
Grilled Lemon Pepper Shrimp
These tasty shrimp have a definite Asian flavor. The combination of sweet and hot is classic and in this dish, the sweetness of the ginger and citrus zest is paired with the heat of the chiles and black pepper. Great as an appetizer, they can also be served as a main course with sticky rice. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
2 pounds medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left on
12 bamboo skewers
1/2 cup vegetable oil, peanut preferred
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
4 green onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest, or substitute orange zest, divided
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red chile, such as piquin or santaka
2 star anise, crushed
To make the marinade, in a wok or heavy skillet, heat the oils over moderate heat until a piece of ginger will foam when dropped into the oil. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the ginger and onion, 1/2 of the zest, black pepper, zest, soy sauce, chile, and anise to the oils. Let the marinade sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours to allow the oil to flavor. Strain the oil and press on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible.
Put the flavored oil in a sealable plastic bag, add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate the shrimp for 4 hours to 8 hours, turning the bag a couple of times to make sure all the shrimp are marinated.
Remove the shrimp and reserve the marinade. Thread the shrimp on the skewers using 2 skewers spaced about 1/2 inch apart. This will hold the shrimp in place and make turning them easy.
Heat the grill to medium hot, and grill the shrimp, turning and basting occasionally with the seasoned oil for about 5 minutes or until they are pink and opaque.
Garnish the shrimp with the remaining zest and serve warm or hot.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings as an appetizer or 4 as a main course
Heat Scale: Medium
(Article excerpted from The Spicy Food Lover’s Bible, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2005.)