The minute the clocks spring forward and herald the onset of springtime, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of us here in the UK will be waiting with bated breath for the appearance of summer. Forget the April showers – give us sunshine!
However, the best way to ascertain when summer is finally upon us is by lifting your nose to the air… When the neighbourhood fills with the seductively smoky scent of sizzling BBQs, you can be sure that warm, balmy evenings are on the way. Summer equates to BBQ season – a time when carnivores rejoice at the vast array of juicy sausages and tender chunks of marinated meat on offer. Of course, meat-eaters aren’t the only ones enjoying all the fun – just check out any foodie blog as the summer approaches, and you will find countless recipes for tasty halloumi skewers and colourful, summertime salads guaranteed to keep even the strictest vegetarian happy.
But even the biggest BBQ fan might appreciate a little bit of experimentation with the usual offerings. There are certainly other cultures we might associate more readily with BBQs than that of India, but if you are someone who can’t stay away from London’s best Indian brasseries at the weekends, you might relish the opportunity to spice up the grill with a bit of exotic, Indian magic…
- Use an Indian Inspired Marinade
One of the great disappointments of the BBQ is when chicken is served dry and tasteless. Of course, everyone is slightly concerned about cooking chicken – after all, if not grilled properly, it can lead to some rather nasty consequences. But it shouldn’t have to be a choice between food poisoning and a tough piece of meat. Take a leaf out of the Indian cookbook and slather your chicken pieces in a spiced, yoghurt marinade, allowing them to sit overnight in the fridge and absorb some of the flavour. Just like the popular, Indian dish of tandoori chicken, you can expect your final result to be moist, juicy and aromatic.
- Add Some Indian Flavour to Burgers
Using curry powder or chopped green chillies in your burger patties will provide an immediate injection of Indian flavour into every mouthful; but, if you are wary of too much spice, why not mix up some caramelised onions with some chopped chillies and mango chutney and use this concoction as a relish?
- Add Spiced Chickpeas to your Salad
Chickpeas are one of the staples for a wide range of delicious Indian dishes, particularly amongst the vegetarian communities. Try spicing up your salads with chickpeas dusted in an assortment of Indian spices and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Warm or cold, they add texture and flavour to fresh, summer salads of cucumber, tomatoes and greens – chop up a little cilantro or mint to sprinkle on top.
- Grill Exotic Fruits
There are an abundance of delicious fruits on offer in India – plump mangoes, juicy peaches, mouth-watering watermelon… Any of these additions to the BBQ spread would make a refreshing, summer dessert. However, have you ever tried adding fruit to the grill? Try sprinkling a little pepper or spice onto peaches or apricots and give them the BBQ treatment. Served with a dollop of smooth, creamy yoghurt, they make a decadent end to the day.