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Regional dishes keep barbecues flavorful


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POSTED: Wednesday, July 01, 2009

No matter if a region's cuisine favors sweetness or tang, a mellow blending of flavors or fiery contrasts: The taste of grilled fare appeals.

To broaden our local repertoire of barbecue options, here are mainstay grilling recipes for Thai, Indian and Greek cuisine.

It's been noted and double-checked that the Thai Barbecue Chicken recipe includes lots of salt, lemongrass and fish sauce; we figure that's why it tastes so good. And while the portion size for the Chicken Tikka is rather generous, that's probably because it's a restaurant-sized portion from Bombay Indian Restaurant.

Happy grilling!

THAI BARBECUE CHICKEN

Thip Nguyen, owner of Sweet Basil Express and Creative Cookery Catering

10 pieces boneless, skinless chicken or 1 large whole chicken (about 5 pounds), cut in half at chest and flattened
1/4 cup salt
1-1/2 cups minced garlic
1/4 cup white pepper
2 cups minced cilantro
1 cup sake
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped lemongrass
1 cup sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients, except chicken, in a mortar, or mix in a bowl. Marinate chicken in mixture at least 6 hours in refrigerator.

Broil chicken slowly over low fire until done. Serves 4 to 5.

Note: Serve with sweet chili sauce (available bottled in grocery stores), papaya salad (see recipe below) and sticky rice.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 750 calories, 24 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 155 mg cholesterol, greater than 2,000 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 40 g sugar, 58 g protein.

PAPAYA SALAD

Thip Nguyen

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tamarind juice
2 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste (optional)
1 teaspoon dry chili flakes (optional)
3 cups shredded green papaya (fruit should be hard and very green, with crisp flesh)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup long beans, cut into 1-inch long pieces
1/2 cup lime juice
Chili pepper, to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts

In a mortar, crush garlic, then add salt, mixing thoroughly (or use a bowl, crushing with the bottom of a glass or back of a spoon).

Add tamarind juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste and chili flakes. Mix.

Add and gently crush papaya, tomatoes, carrots and beans. Add lime and mix. Add chili pepper. Garnish with peanut. Serve with lettuce and other sliced vegetables. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 140 calories, 2.5 g total fat, no saturated fat or cholesterol, greater than 1,200 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 17 g sugar, 4 g protein.

CHICKEN TIKKA

Executive Chef Ashwani Ahuja, Bombay Indian Restaurant

4 pounds boneless, skinless white meat chicken, cut into pieces (about 3 pieces per breast)
32 ounces plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon paprika

Whip yogurt thoroughly and add all ingredients except chicken. Stir well.

Immerse chicken and marinate overnight, about 18 to 24 hours.

Cook over slow fire for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 720 calories, 21 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 300 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,500 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 113 g protein.

SOOKHI SABZI (MIXED VEGETABLES)

Executive Chef Ashwani Ahuja

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 pound cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound carrots, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound petite green peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon chili powder

Put oil in pan and heat on low. Once hot, add cumin seeds and cook 30 seconds.

Add vegetables, then all other ingredients, and mix.

Cover pan and let cook over low heat, stirring every couple minutes. Cooking time should be between 10 and 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 300 calories, 15 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 8 g protein.

SKEWERED LAMB SANDWICH

Chef Savas Mojarrad, Olive Tree Cafe

2 to 2-3/4 pounds leg of lamb (2 pounds if boneless, more if bone in)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cooking sherry (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or passed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste

If lamb is not cleansed, remove bone, fat, tendons and shank. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes.

Combine with remaining ingredients and mix well.

Marinate for at least 1/2 hour at room temperature.

Place on bamboo skewers, and broil or grill until medium done.

Serve with pita bread and salad of tomatoes, cucumber and chopped onion. Top with Tsatziki. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste pita bread or salad): 280 calories, 15 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, no fiber or sugar, 34 g protein.

TSATZIKI (YOGURT SAUCE)

Chef Savas Mojarrad

1 cup yogurt
1 cup sour cream
1/3 of medium size cucumber, chopped fine or grated
4 cloves garlic, passed through garlic press
2 tablespoons mint, dry or chopped fresh
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
Salt and white pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients gently. Let stand at least 6 hours in refrigerator. Yields 2-1/2 cups.

Approximate nutritional information, per 2 tablespoon serving (not including salt to taste): 45 calories, 4 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 1 g sugar, 1 g protein.

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Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.