The lamb shawarma recipe in Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem is one of my favourite things to do with a kilo of dead sheep. It’s rich and deep and tasty, and a great workaround for not having a rotating vertical spit. With its four hours of cooking time and day of marinating, however, what it is not is especially practical.
Chicken is a fuck of a lot quicker to cook, so here’s a rich, spicy, kebab-style dish that’s lightened out a bit to play nicely with chicken thighs and a more realistic timetable. You still need the long marinade, but the cooking’s much shorter. Oh, and the spices are remixed with an achari-influence to be kind of lighter and hot-sour.
Obviously, at this point, everything that would qualify it as shawarma has been reinterpreted, worked around, modified, or otherwise engineered out, leaving only a vague shell of the concept, an association in mind and palate. It’s the wrap of Theseus, if you will. And for those who quite rightly won’t, it’s a tasty thing to put in pita bread with a load of peppers and green bits.
Continue reading Hot sour chicken shawarma
A combination of going out for Chinese on Friday, and some stubbornly-tough stewing steak cluttering up the fridge left me mulling over tenderizing techniques. Stir fried beef in restaurant Chinese food often seems oddly tender given a taste that implies one of the cheaper, tougher cuts. I was curious.
A little leafing through McGee, and some idle Googling suggest there’s little enough mystery. A blend of acidic marinades, beating the fuck out of it, cutting across the grain, and occasional freezing or additives seem to be largely responsible. Nonetheless, it seemed worth a go.
Acidic marinades break down the meat tissue, and McGee pointed me to ginger as another source of chemical assault. Cornflour seems hotly debated. Half the internet is convinced it’s just for thickening, the other that it has a softening effect. McGee is oddly silent on the subject, and it turns out I don’t own a Chinese cookbook with which to cross-reference. This is a troubling oversight.
In any case, I decided to just do everything I could think of and see what happened; then add garlic.
Continue reading Garlic & ginger beef with pak choi
Yesterday we decided to eat all the meats. Being a bank holiday weekend with the promise of rain, it seemed like the British thing to do. So we made ready.
I don’t have all the recipes for everything that was made, but here’s a run down:
- Slow-smoked pork ribs
- Slow-cooked brisket
- Burnt ends
- Pork burgers with garlic & Parmesan
- Red cabbage coleslaw with garlic & tahini
- Aioli-marinated aubergines
- Double blue cheese dip
- Skewers of prawns in lime & garlic
- Miscellaneous grilled vegetables
- The obligatory halloumui
Continue reading Barbecuing in the rain