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I HATE going to barbecues and finding frozen sotong balls, fish sticks and chicken franks on the grill. It's as if we don't have anything better readily available at the markets for a decent barbecue. Personally, I also don't like to barbecue chicken wings because the edges always burn before the inside is properly cooked. My favourite items include stingray, salmon fillets, chicken legs and pork collar. Sausages are also excellent barbecue items that need to be poached in hot water before being set on the grill. This prevents the skin from splitting and also takes out the excess salt.
Strong marinades work best for barbecues because the smokiness imbued by the charcoal fire is intense so weak flavours will be drowned out. So bring out the ginger, garlic, sambal and all the other strong aromatics you can think of.
White meat and fish is cheaper than red meat but it's still expensive, so load up your guests with a tasty starch. Potatoes are evergreen favourites and go great with barbecued food mashed or roasted in an oven. Serve up vegetables too like bell peppers and corn. When barbecued, these vegetables become really sweet and tasty and most people will not say no when these are served up.
To cook, you need a fire and the best way to build one is to light up 2 or 3 firestarters and pile up a lot of charcoal over them. Fan it up and once half the coals are white, level out the pile, put on your grill and keep fanning for a good 5 minutes. Once the fire is hot enough that you can't leave your hand over it for 5 seconds without pulling away, you're good. Keep cooking while the heat is at this optimum level.
Here's a simple recipe to end this off.
For enough to marinate 10 legs, blend together:
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 5 daun limau purut (kaffir lime leaves)
- 1 chilli padi
- 1tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper