Monday, June 6, 2011

When we grilled through the night

Soon after the Assamese food festival, the next night, Ms Quiche and Ms BakeAnything invited me to Ms Quiche's place for a night of fun cooking and drinking.

Ms Quiche: "BYOB and BYOF is what it's gonna be."
Me: "Eh?"
Ms Quiche: "Bring your own booze, and bring your own food."
Me: "Oh OK", I said, and I thought to myself, "Wicked!"

The ladies were onto something and were planning on sausages, grilled chicken, salads and what not. The salad was quite a hit even though there wasn't a shred of meat in it. Pineapple, watermelon, and lettuce with a dressing made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. Divine! Quite simply fabulous. I'd personally never thought of using honey in a salad dressing (or anywhere), but then again, my culinary expertise is very limited.

The chicken was marinated with ginger, garlic, chilli and paprika, and some vinegar and sugar with salt. At the end, we were tearing into the chicken like cavemen. Here's the link to their recipes.

Everyone got a welcome drink, a mojito, and it was quite a superb one. I wonder if these women are moonlighting somewhere without my knowledge.

There was also some grilled fruits - pineapple, raw mango, tomatoes and peppers. The pineapple and raw mango was also a hit.

I decided to make bacon-wrapped prawns. This dish is a result of my hatred towards all places that batter-fry this marvelous combination, thus killing two birds with one proverbial stone. Grilling, or pan frying the combo is the way to go, and the best way to go about doing this is by creating a nice pasty marinade for the two main actors in this show.

Recipe for prawn marinade:

20 medium sized prawns (use large ones if you please), deveined, with tails on (keeping the head on is optional, depending on personal preference)
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar (preferably powdered)
2 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp red chilli powder / cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3/4 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp oil (I used olive, but again, your choice)
1 lemon, juiced
10 rashers of Bacon
40-50 Toothpicks

Recipe for bacon marinade:

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp pepper


Wash and de-vein the prawns, and dry them using paper towls. Mince the garlic as fine as possible. Make a paste out of the garlic, along with the sugar, paprika, chilli powder, pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt, lemon juice and oil. Mix well, and then apply on the prawns and allow to marinate in room temperature for about 30-45 minutes. Now, heat a pan (without oil) and once it's hot, add a few rashers of bacon on it and start to fry them. No, no oil. The bacon has enough fat and we want to fry it in that itself. The idea is to partially fry them, until some of the fat melts and is rendered in liquid form. Do not fry until crisp; we need the bacon to be in a state where we can fold it around the prawns. Once the bacon is slightly cooked, take them off and dry them on paper towels. Collect the fat from the pan and keep aside. Repeat this until all the rashers of bacon have been partially fried, and collect whatever fat you can.

Once all the bacon has been partially fried, prepare the marinade. Mix all the ingredients for the bacon's marinade and use the fat collected (as much necessary) to mix all the dry ingredients and make a paste. Apply it on the bacon and allow it to marinate for about an hour. Once both the bacon and prawns have been marinated, take one rasher of bacon and put two prawns, heads together, into it, such that the tail ends stick out of opposite sides. Roll the bacon over them and secure this with 2 toothpicks, criss-crossing each other (or as many needed to secure it - I used 3 in some cases). Repeat this for all the rashers of bacon and prawns. Keep the 'parcels' in the refrigertor until about 30 mins before they are to be grilled.

Once your grill is ready, and the charcoals are hot, use a skewer and brush a little oil on it and run it through each bacon wrapped prawn(s) parcel. While skewering, leave the toothpicks on or it would fall apart. Skewer about two or three per skewer and set on the grill. Turn the skewers over periodiclaly to cook evenly. If you're using a pan, then leave the skewers aside and set the pan on a high flame, and once the pan is hot, add a half teaspoon of some of the fat collected from frying the bacon. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the parcels onto the pan. how you manage to do this with the toothpicks still in the parcels is a test of your ingenuity. But rest assured, removing the toothpicks will spoil the show because you want the prawn(s) wrapped under the bacon blanket to get infused with some of that bacon goodness while it cooks.

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