Millennials should be excused for not being cooking fanatics. After all, our pace of life is faster, and at the rate that technology is progressing, we’d soon be able to 3D-print a kitchen, an apron and several rounds of fish fillets in the time it took the previous generations to check their Orkut accounts on dial-up.
But what about those who genuinely enjoy cooking and at the same time want to spend just as much time chilling with friends? Is it possible to make a pot of Goan prawn curry while discussing the latest greatest memes? Not really. The truth is that anyone who truly digs cooking would tell you that a crowd in the kitchen ruins the broth.
This is where a barbecue set comes in. A BBQ set. Or a ‘barbie’, if you prefer. Cooking on fire is nothing new to Indian culture, but this Western-style equipment is arguably easier to acquire and set up (and make the most of!). In fact BBQs have become increasingly popular in the recent years across Indian metros, especially with the knowledge that they make for a healthier alternative.
You don’t need a license to grill. Nor is a sprawling terrace or garden a necessity; an extended balcony would work just as well. You don’t even need winter to pull this off. Monsoon grills are great fun as long as you’ve got shade (and some culinary enthusiasm to plan food that complements the weather). What you need is equipment.
Acquiring a good BBQ set is fairly easy these days, and you can get a basic tabletop grill for as little as Rs 2000. But make sure that the affordability is accompanied by safety. For help on deciding which barbie to invest in (charcoal or gas), read more here.
A successful BBQ requires planning- from choosing the meat (and getting it home safely) to setting up of the outdoor area. Simple tips go a long way – make sure the space is clean, remember all good chefs are obsessed with cleanliness. Use gloves to avoid messing with flavours. It is also important to know your temperatures and marinades. You don’t want to douse the meat in oil (that would beat the whole purpose of BBQ!), nor do you want to leave out fat. So do your research before lighting the fire.
As far as the food choices go, it might help to know that Indian recipes are a rage amongst BBQ enthusiasts abroad, and tandoori chicken is in fact very easy to grill. Unlike curries, grilling retains the flavour and texture of the meat. You can also barbecue veggies like sweet potatoes, aubergines and bell peppers, as well as cheeses including paneer.
So the next time you fancy getting all your buddies together and can’t find a common ground, invite them to the terrace – nothing like gathering around slow cooking food on a cool night. Start with this mix of recipes from well-known Indian chefs.
Our last tip: Go easy on your booze intake, unless you fancy charred chakhnas!