How to host the perfect Indian Barbeque
We are not always blessed with the best summer weather in Britain, so it's important to make the most of any sun we do get by readying the barbeque and hosting an outdoor feast for friends and family. While barbequing is often considered a mostly Western tradition and associated with fast cooking of meat over coals, it does not have to revolve around meat in bread buns. When done correctly, a barbeque can be a very Indian affair, overflowing with the distinct aromas of traditional cuisine.
To help you get tongues tingling and juices flowing, here is our guide to hosting the perfect Indian-inspired BBQ.
Indian cuisine is a vast world filled with choices to satisfy every palate, so catering to a range of different tastes is a must in hosting the perfect BBQ.
Indian dishes are characterised by their extensive use of spices and you should embrace as many as you can on your menu option.
Preparation is essential in ensuring your event is a successful one, so meat such as chicken and lamb should be marinated in a mixture of herbs, spices, yoghurt and citrus juice overnight before it goes on to a skewer. While meat can be cooked directly on the barbeque, we are going to save the coals mostly for our vegetarian dishes and desserts and cook our tikka and tandoori dishes in a Tandoor Oven.
If you are unfamiliar with what one is, a Tandoor Oven is quite similar to a BBQ, except for the fact it is tailor made for Indian cooking and gets food ready in half the time â€“ a definite benefit when there are hungry mouths to feed!
The combination of spices, 400°C temperature and the ability to cook food from outside and inside (using heat from the clay pot and metal skewers), makes this little machine perfect for your hot and spicy dishes. Chicken and meat kebabs are ready in around 12-minutes, a whole chicken in around 30-minutes, and a leg of lamb in under an hour.
If you are looking for something easy to prepare and quick to cook, some delicious sheek kebabs will go down a treat with meat-eaters.
While these cook, you can utilise another useful Indian cooking tool, the Tandoor Pot. Designed to fit into any standard oven, these pots are perfect for readying some paneer kebabs or tandoori chicken, basting the food in its own juices, and delivering tender, full-flavoured results.
Meanwhile, on the main grill, some tandoori lamb chops can be served alongside our vegetarian options.
Who said barbeques have to be all about meat? You are going to be catering to everyone at your gathering and you will be blowing guests away with your range of meat-free options.
Paneer kebabs will already be going down a treat in the Tandoor Pot and you can complement these with some wonderful barbequed corn.
This is easy to make and is ready in minutes. Simply hold a skewered corn over a glowing bed of coals, turning it until it is reddish brown all over. Once that is done, rub lemon over the kernels, add a sprinkling of salt and cayenne, and serve while hot.
Barbequed eggplants will also thrill vegetarians. Cooked over the grill, hand-mashed and seasoned with plain yoghurt and a quarter teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander powder, and turmeric, this dish is simple and flavoursome. Serve with Tandoor Oven-cooked naan bread.
Finally, for the open grill, some vegetable and tofu kebabs made up of eggplant, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and onions, and marinated in yoghurt will go down a treat.
An Indian BBQ is unlike any other in that the side dishes are every bit as desirable as the main course. From tandoori potatoes to dahl, there is no shortage of things to satisfy taste buds. Salads, chutney, pickle and a choice of breads would be classed as essential sides, but there is no limitation of the type or amount of dishes you can serve up. Take a look at our Vegetarian recipes for an idea of what can be offered.
Most of the food we have prepared so far will go down a treat with kids as well as adults; however, alongside kebabs, there are several non-barbeque dishes that the little ones will love.Mustard and honey glazed sweet potatoes, baby corn with dal and soya vegetables are all healthy meals that are low on spices.
Despite full stomachs, there is always room for dessert at a barbeque, which gives you a chance to serve up some grilled fruit. Peach and apricots, sprinkled lightly with pepper and served with yoghurt will cap off the perfect barbeque.
For those that prefer fruit the traditional way, a large platter decorated with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes, served with honey and yoghurt dips, will make the perfect table centrepiece.
A wonderful feast of food is going to need to be washed down with a choice of beverages. Chai (tea) is, of course, the obvious choice of drink and should be readily available (you can find a good recipe for chai here); however, in warm weather many guests may prefer to drink something chilled. In this case, iced coffee; jaljeera, a drink similar to lemonade; mango lassi, a mango and yoghurt blend summer refreshment; and panna, made with green cooking mangos, are all excellent options.
For guests that enjoy an alcoholic tipple, an Indian-inspired Chocolate Spiced Martini, blending cinnamon and nutmeg with a chocolate liquer is sure to impress.
An Indian barbeque is more than simply a gathering of family and friends to socialise over food; it is a festival of colour, spices, aromas and everything that is great about Indian cuisine and a chance to enjoy a unique approach to the best recipes in the world.