Here’s a look at koobah and garam masala spices from Pereg Natural Foods, great in barbecue rubs and marinades.
(Courtesy of Pereg) There’s no denying it: one of civilization’s greatest inventions is the outdoor grill. Why? Because come summer, it doesn’t get much better than spending less time in the kitchen and more time in the backyard.
Grilling is all about easy meals with lots of flavor and fewer pots to clean. As the weather begins to warm, everyone looks forward to that first sizzling burger of the season. But before shifting operations to the great outdoors, it’s important to set up your summertime cooking base. These tips will ensure safe, delicious eating all summer long.
- Clean your arsenal. Your grill has been sitting idle for months. No telling what’s gotten in while you weren’t looking! Even if you gave it a good scrubbing last year, it’s important to make a clean start. Use warm, soapy water (dishwashing soap is fine) and a bit of elbow grease to give grates, racks, the cooking compartment and the underside of the lid a once-over. Don’t forget the utensils.
- Make sure your vessel is ship-shape. Check that your gas connections are safe. According to Char-Broil, you can test for leaks by spraying or brushing a soapy solution on the valve, hose and regulator with the gas turned on. If bubbles form (or if you smell gas), shut off the gas and consult the grill manual for how to replace or repair the damaged piece.
- Check your tool inventory. You don’t need much heavy artillery, but you’ll want to keep some basic gear at the ready. A long-handled spatula, long-handled tongs, and heavy-duty mitts will protect you from the elements, and a grill brush will remove burnt-on food to prevent accidental flare-ups. Experts recommend investing in a good meat thermometer to ensure safe internal food temperatures. Up your grill master game with a chimney starter, baskets for fish and veggies, long-handled basting brush, and grilling sheet. Droll aprons optional.
- Think safety. Before firing up the grill, inspect the area for potential fire hazards including any nearby branches, vines and debris. When prepping and cooking, be mindful of cross-contamination; dishes or utensils that came into contact with raw ingredients should never be used for serving. Always discard unused marinade.
- Stock up on flavor. Now comes the fun part! Thanks to the vast array of readily available spices and seasonings out there, you could grill every single day and never serve the same meal twice.
Pereg Natural Foods (www.pereg-gourmet.com) can take your taste buds around the culinary world. This summer, let the grill be your inspiration for dry rubs, marinades and new spins on standard fare.
Ready for easy backyard cuisine? Here are two savory blends to try.
Baharat is simply the Arabic word for “spice,” but cooks in every Middle Eastern household know it as a basic seasoning blend. This aromatic mixture—different regions favor different blends—is used in a variety of traditional meat, chicken, fish and rice dishes. Koobah is Pereg’s earthy variation on the ubiquitous kitchen staple. It starts with baharat and adds warm layers of cinnamon, allspice, rose, nutmeg and coriander for a complex finish. It makes an excellent dry rub for grilled or roast lamb and chicken. Try it in this Moroccan lamb recipe (courtesy AMIT WOMEN/Albert Einstein School of Medicine Cookbook).
- 2 pounds lamb
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Pereg Natural Foods Koobah
Lay lamb pieces in an open aluminum pan. Sprinkle all ingredients over the lamb except for raisins and almonds. Cover with a plastic bag and let marinate (overnight if possible). Place, covered, on barbecue on medium heat for about 1 hour. Add raisins and almonds the last half hour. Serve over rice or couscous.
Like its Arabic cousin, garam masala is a blend that varies by region. It’s what gives Indian cuisine its characteristic flavor: think curries, paneers, chana masala and tikka masala. Garam masala marries beautifully with meat- and legume-based dishes and stands on its own when sprinkled over roasted veggies (particularly cauliflower and winter squash). Pereg’s garam masala strikes a fragrant balance of cardamom, cloves, cumin, fenugreek, coriander and a pinch of brown sugar. Use it as a dry rub, add it to ground beef for an elevated hamburger, or on ribs and steak for unexpected delicious flavor.