It’s never a bad time of year to bring out the grill and cook up some delicious food in the backyard that’ll tease the taste buds of your neighbours. However, why settle for the usual? How about spicing up your palette a bit and add some Asian flair to your weekend grill?
There are many delicious recipes, such as this juicy and tender scallop meal, but that’s just touching the surface of Asian BBQ. With the rise of Korean BBQ joints around the world and more Asian markets popping up in our city centres, there’s never been a better time to sample some Asian barbeque delights and get the hang of cooking with these exotic oriental flavours. So put away those burgers, save the steaks for later, and head on down to your local Asian market to pick up some of these unusual, but delicious, barbeque treats.
Some of these ingredients might be difficult to find in an Asian market, so be sure to speak to an employee and ask them for specific ingredients.
This is the type of food that you’ll see at Asian restaurants everywhere. Skewers of tender and juicy meat glazed with a sticky peanut sauce. It’s marinated for a while in a host of exotic spices and usually served with a light salad on the side. This popular mouth-watering appetiser can be prepared the night before or in the morning. The longer the pieces are left to marinate, the more the flavour is incorporated and the juicier they become.
To start with, you’ll need some skinless and boneless chicken pieces. The most popular option is to use chicken breasts, but you can also cut the meat from thighs and legs for a more firm texture. Tenderise these pieces, cut into small pieces and then set them aside. To make the marinade, mix 4 tablespoons of oil, a squeeze of lemon, 3 cloves of garlic, 5 shallots, a teaspoon of turmeric, coriander and chilli powder, a pinch of Chinese five-spice, and then salt and sugar to taste. Place this into a blender and mix well. Add a splash of oil more if it starts to become stiff or hard.
Marinate the chicken in the marinade for roughly 12 hours if you want a deep flavour, but 6 hours is the minimum for the flavours to soak into the chicken. When they’re ready, simply thread them through some skewers and grill for a couple of minutes on either side. Serve them piping hot with a cool salad on the side, such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. The peanut sauce can be bought from an Asian market since it takes a lot of work and ingredients to make it, but you can check out a peanut sauce recipe here if you want to make your own.
You can also substitute the chicken for beef, lamb or even pork. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can even use fish like tuna. It’s a good idea to get fresh fish from a reputable source like Citarella.com. However, you might want to leave the marinade for a minimum of 8 hours if you decide to change the protein. You should also cut the pieces a little smaller to make it easier for the meat to soak up the marinade. If the marinade is a bit too thick, add a splash of water or a little more oil. Keep the meats in the fridge as you marinate them and feel free to adjust the marinade how you see fit. A nice touch would be to have extra chilli powder to give it a nice kick. Cayenne also works well.
Anyone that uses their grill on a regular basis takes their ribs very seriously. Sadly, it can be a tough job trying to cook ribs to perfection. It’s easy to dry them out and destroy all the moist and tenderness from the ribs, and with low-quality meat, it can start to turn flaky and nasty if it’s not cooked properly. Chinese barbeque ribs are known for their delicious glaze, sweet and sticky sauce with a salty hint that blends perfectly with the meat and the signature flavour of Chinese five-spice powder.
For this recipe, it’s a good idea to use baby back ribs. The best results will involve using a mix of the oven and your outdoor grill, but you can also cook them straight on the grill if you prefer, but you need to manage it and make sure one side doesn’t char too much or burn. These moist, flavourful and delicious ribs will drive your guests wild, and you’ll fall in love with this classic Asian barbeque recipe.
Let’s start with the marinade. We’re going to be making a classic Char Siu (Chinese barbeque pork) sauce. It involves a tablespoon of honey, Chinese Hoisin sauce, soy sauce and maltose, white pepper, black pepper, a teaspoon of five-spice powder, sesame oil, and salt and sugar to taste. You want the marinade to be a little sweet but not too overpowering. It should be sweeter than it is salty and you should get a nice scent of Chinese five-spice when you taste it. A pinch of chilli will also add a bit of heat to the dish if you prefer spicy meals.
To start, add all the marinade ingredients into a saucepan and heat it. Don’t boil it, just let it cook and blend the ingredients together. Once it’s done, transfer it off the heat and let it cool. Add the ribs to the sauce and marinate overnight. Reserve some of the sauce later to glaze over the ribs while they cook.
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees (165 c, or gas mark 3). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and lay on the ribs. Cover with foil, but don’t suffocate the ribs. Roast for around 2 hours. Once they’re done, transfer them to an outdoor grill and cook until the surface has a slight char. It’s very easy to burn on the grill, so take care you don’t scorch the meat. Brush the ribs with the leftover marinade and cook for a couple more seconds. Serve hot with a side of salad or fried rice for the ultimate Asian flavour combination.