Grilling it right

To say that barbeque has caught on like wild fire in city foodie circles would be an understatement.

Written by Shalini Rai Narayan | Published:January 10, 2009 4:32 am

The growing craze for American-style barbeque notwithstanding,this method of cooking goes back a long way in India

To say that barbeque has caught on like wild fire in city foodie circles would be an understatement. Not only has it become way more popular than other ways of cooking,it also scores on the nutrition and calorie front. But,in the frenzy of getting the BBQ or Bar-B-Que right,aren’t we missing one very obvious fact? That BBQ goes back a long way in India,almost to the beginning of man’s evolution,when he was just about getting the hang of cooking.

“Barbeque dates back to the Stone Age,when all that was available for cooking was fire and raw meat. It’s quite a healthy method of cooking,as only minimal oil is used and the food cooks in its own juices,” says Koteshwari Pillai,partner,Tribal Tikka,a kebab joint in Koregaon Park. “Isn’t cooking on a sigree similar to the American-style barbeque? We make a variety of kebabs the traditional way and they are a hot favorite with our customers,” she adds.

In fact,BBQ has always been a hit in gourmet circles in Pune,with barbeque parties,especially during the pleasant winter months,being a much-awaited affair. As Chef Anupam Kumar Shrivastav,corporate head chef,Barbeqube Nation,Kalyani Nagar puts it,”Barbeque has always been popular in private get-togethers. It’s only now that it has caught on really well among the masses. What else is the roadside kebab if not Indian-style barbeque? The evergreen paneer malai tikka,sweet and spicy tapioca,nalli ke kebab and murg tikka lasooni are all Indian barbeque delicacies,which have been appreciated for a long time.”

This is a fact seconded by Sahil Singh,owner of Tunday Kebabee,Wanowrie. He says the galouti kebab,made of goat meat,with a crisp exterior and melt-in-the-mouth filling,is a much-desired dish and the pick of many Bollywood stars. “We deliver the galouti kebab on demand to Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan and it’s also the favourite of Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor. Just recently,we delivered this dish and a chicken dum biryani to Randhir Kapoor’s home in town,” adds Singh,whose joint in Lucknow is nearly 110 years old.

What works for BBQ really well is that it’s a healthy alternative to the traditional Indian style of cooking – deep and shallow fry. Just adding a little dab of butter or a spice rub gives it a great flavour,with minimal fuss and very few calories. “I find it a very healthy form of preparing food; more often than not,when I dine out,I head straight to a barbeque joint,” says Pillai.

Well,apart from being healthy,barbeque is also a whole lot of fun and that’s what works for it. The recession notwithstanding,a barbeque party at home is a real good idea as it involves very few frills. A barbeque grill,a few homemade sauces,spice rubs,marinades and accompaniments (salads and baked beans) and you’re ready for the grub fest. So go ahead and indulge in an Indian-style BBQ,while the weather’s still favourable and the larder stocked full!

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