We visited Oman during one summer, and it was so hot that practically nothing happened during the day. When the sun finally went down, we were delighted to find that many little mishkak stands that sell kebabs were open then. In Muscat, Oman, we were told that the best food was in fact in an area by the airport known for its street stalls. There we saw vendor after vendor with the same thing: kofta (ground meat) and regular kebabs. What stuck out above all the other tastes were the shrimp kebabs we got at one stand—they had a kind of fire to them.
We were determined to get the recipe from the very confused proprietor, who gamely entertained our many questions while we scribbled down notes in the dark, but mostly he couldn’t fathom why we cared so much. Between our notes and what we managed to communicate between us using only the common language of food, we figured out that their marinade included tamarind, lime, and local chiles. A bit of trial and error upon our return to DC led to this recipe for the best grilled shrimp I’ve ever had. I love using dried black limes, which add a zesty sourness to dishes and drinks. These limes are dried whole, and many of them turn black during the process, though don’t be alarmed if you see much paler ones. They can be found whole and ground in Lebanese, Persian, and Indian grocery stores and online. Before grinding whole limes yourself, break them up first by crushing them under a heavy pot.
Citrus and oregano make this grilled chicken taste sophisticated. It is inspired by my mom’s traditional pollo en oregano, which is usually fried. (You can find that recipe in our first cookbook Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico.)
There is something about making a salsa in a molcajete that makes it taste better. I swear that something magical happens when you crush chiles between two pieces of stone that no blender will ever replicate. We like to bust out the molcajete to make a salsa as regularly as we can to remind us of this magic and continue this ancient tradition with my children.
Ribs are one of the dishes that my parents ask me to make the most whenever I host family dinners . My parents loved going to BBQ joints for birthdays, and after spending hundreds year after year on dry mac and cheese and ribs with very little to no meat, I decided to make everything myself for half the cost . I like to braise the ribs in a mixture reminiscent of the flavors of a michelada—beer, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce—and braising them makes them really juicy and tender so the cooked meat just falls off the bone . I love deviled eggs, so along with the ribs I like to serve a creamy deviled egg macaroni salad, the cheesiest rajas con mac and cheese (mac and cheese with diced jalapeño and poblano chiles), and sweet and buttery corn bread muffins made with a mixture of cornmeal and masa harina to enhance the flavor of the corn . Recipes for those favorites follow so you can easily make your own BBQ-style dinner at home!
Autumn Beer & Food Pairings from Stephanie Grant of The Share: Bi-weekly musings about beer, food, cocktails, and the dope Black women behind them.
In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the oil and salt until coated. Transfer to a grill basket (or a wire rack set on top of the grill), piling them a few beans high so the ones on top will steam as the ones below char over the fire. Toss the beans every couple of minutes, just until they’re tender and slightly charred, about 10 minutes total.
Sometimes the sauce makes the dish, and when you find a great one, it is worth having different preparations for the different seasons. We are evoking the spirit of tahini (one of our favourite sauces) with this, but making it with almonds in their skins, which brings a great nuttiness. We serve this at Honey & Smoke with peaches in summer, pears in autumn and sweet potatoes in winter. Spring is reserved for green vegetables and they don’t really work with this almond tahini, so we make a special, luxurious pistachio version instead to drizzle over grilled spring greens, dressed with lots of lime juice.
There is nothing like a market stall piled high with cabbages in a huge variety of shades from pure white to bright lime green or deep purplish red. Some may be larger than your head, their huge leaves used for stuffing; some may be small and crunchy and perfect for salad; some may be more fibrous, lending themselves to slow stewing. White cabbage is possibly the most underrated of all, but we absolutely love it. This is hands down the best way to eat any cabbage. You don’t even really need the dressing if you don’t fancy it – just grill a cabbage and eat it.
Big Islanders have a habit of reversing certain words and phrases, especially with food. We call it chicken barbecue; other islands call it barbecue chicken. Same for “ice shave” vs. “shave ice” and “broccoli beef” vs. “beef broccoli.”
All you novice grillers out there: This recipe is going to be your go-to. Chicken thighs are one of the most forgivable cuts of meat to grill. Inattentive cooks are often surprised to find that they are still moistand juicy inside even if over-charred outside. I don’t recommend that, but it’s nice to know. To add even more depth and moisture, I love to serve meaty grilled thighs with a fresh herb salsa, typically just using a mix of whatever fresh herbs I have on hand. The secret of the salsa is the anchovy. Don’t skip this ingredient! It provides the savory umami flavor that brings all the other flavors together.