from one generation to the next
Marinades and spice rubs can make or break meat grilled on the BBQ and there is no better place to look for inspiring flavours than the street food of SE Asia where vendors grill their skewered offerings over small smoky fires and sell them for a few loose coins.
Those humble vendors are masters of flavour balance, knowing the exact quantity of hot, sweet and salty ingredients to add to their marinade to balance out their secret blend of aromatic herbs and spices. Many have been in the business for decades, proof they know what they’re doing.
I make no claim to this spice bomb being authentic, nor can I attribute it to a particular cuisine. I confess the combination of ingredients was inspired by a recipe I saw on FB. The temperatures in Brisbane are on the rise so I’m keenly watching out for ideas to help with the preparation of quick, do-ahead delicious meals to get me through the long hot summer.
Turmeric is currently being promoted as a wondrous anti inflammatory so I’m trying to include it as much as possible in my diet to counteract the swollen joints in my fingers. I know they’ll never reduce from their current size by maybe, just maybe I can prevent them from getting worse, and if it means eating more Indian food, more food inspired by SE Asia then I’ll be doubly happy.
The marinade preparation is fairly straightforward. The ingredients can be blitzed in a food mill or for a more authentic experience, pounded in a pestle. The chicken is then best left in the marinade for 24 hours before skewering and handing to the grillmaster to BBQ.
Steam some rice, make a salad of Asian greens and crack open icy cold beer. Dinner’s done.
Peppery Turmeric and Lemongrass Chicken (serves 2)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 fat coriander roots, scraped and chopped
40g peeled turmeric root
2 stems lemongrass, tender centres only
20g peeled ginger root
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
4 boneless chicken thighs, halved
8 bamboo skewers soaked for 30 minutes
extra freshly ground black pepper
Pound the peppercorns into a coarse powder then set aside.
Pound the coriander root, turmeric, lemongrass and ginger into a coarse paste.
Add the sugar and fish sauce and pound to incorporate. Incorporate the round pepper.
Put the chicken into a non reactive dish, pour over the marinade and massage into the chicken.
Thread one piece of chicken onto each skewer, then top generously with extra freshly cracked black pepper.
Grill until cooked through and nicely charred.