Holiday In: Skewers from around the world

This is the time of year for placing pieces of meat on metal skewers and grilling batches of tasty brochettes.

souvlaki (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Independence Day marks the opening of the outdoor grilling season. In the early days of the state, Israelis celebrated with parades, hora dancing and sandwiches; however, inspired by the American Fourth of July traditions (or perhaps simply because it is the beginning of the summer), barbecuing has become a tradition on Independence Day for most Israelis.
We asked Ariel Cohen, chef of the NG Restaurant in Neveh Tzedek, one of the finest meat restaurants in Tel Aviv, to take us on a tour around the world, looking at the different ways people in other countries prepare their barbecued brochettes.
All the recipes below make 4 to 6 metal skewers, depending on the length of the skewer.
✔ 1 kg. lamb
✔ 2 peppers, cut in 4, seeds removed
✔ 2 onions, quartered
✔ Cherry tomatoes For the marinade
✔ 1 bunch fresh oregano chopped
✔ 1 bunch parsley, chopped
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ Salt and pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
Marinate the lamb overnight.
In the morning, cut the meat into small cubes.
Skewer the meat and vegetables, alternating them. Place on a hot grill, brushing the meat with the marinade to keep the meat from drying out. Serve with fresh parsley and salad.
This recipe may be prepared with chicken or beef. If you choose chicken, use breast meat and and slice into long strips.
✔ 1 kg. chicken breast or beef sirloin, sliced into long strips or cubed.
For the marinade
✔ ¼ cup soy sauce
✔ ¼ tsp. prepared wasabi mustard
✔ 1 carrot, chopped
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ ½ cup sweet rice wine
✔ 1 Tbsp. sugar
✔ 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
Place all the sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until reduced to half.
Skewer meat, brush with sauce and grill.
Keep brushing the meat with the sauce while grilling.
Serve with white rice.
✔ 1 kg. top sirloin, sliced into long strips
For the marinade
✔ 100 gr. unsalted roasted peanuts
✔ 1 tin coconut milk
✔ 1 tsp. green curry paste
✔ 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
✔ Red chili pepper
✔ Pinch ground cardamom
✔ 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
✔ 1 stalk lemon grass
Place all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and grind into a paste.
Rub the meat in the paste and marinate for at least 1 hour and no more than 24 hours.
Skewer the meat and grill. Toward the end of grilling, brush a little more marinade on the meat.
These are chicken skewers with a tasty garlic sauce. The original recipe calls for yogurt, but the kosher version uses tehina instead, and the flavor is even better.
✔ 1 kg. chicken thigh meat off the bone (pargit), cut into cubes
For the marinade
✔ 1 cup thin tehina
✔ 1 tomato, grated
✔ 1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 Tbsp. mustard
✔ Fresh oregano
For the garlic sauce
✔ 5 cloves garlic, peeled
✔ Juice of ½ lemon
✔ Green chili, seeds and stem removed
✔ 4 egg yolks
✔ ½ cup each olive oil and canola oil
✔ Salt and pepper
Mix marinade ingredients together and let the chicken marinate overnight.
To prepare garlic sauce: In a small grinder, grind together garlic, lemon juice and chili or crush together in a mortar and pestle.
Whisk the egg yolks with an electric mixer. Add the garlic paste. Continue mixing on medium speed and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the eggs. When the olive oil is finished, continue with the canola oil until the texture resembles mayonnaise.
Grill the meat over medium heat and make sure it does not dry out.
Serve with the garlic sauce on the side.
✔ 1 kg. sirloin
For the marinade
✔ 1 Tbsp. mustard
✔ ¼ cup molasses or silan (or sugar)
✔ ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
✔ 1 onion, ground
✔ 1 Tbsp. Worcester sauce
✔ 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
✔ ¼ tsp. turmeric
✔ 1 tsp. minced garlic
✔ 1 Tbsp. vinegar
Cut the sirloin into 2x2-cm. cubes.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and marinate the beef for 2 hours.
Skewer and grill. The meat will taste best if grilled to medium.
Recipes and photos courtesy of NG Restaurant, 6 Ahad Ha’am Street, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv, (03) 5167888.