Forget love; after listening to his interview on The Splendid Table, Steven Raichlen has me convinced that grilling is the true international language. He should know, seeing as how he's sampled the barbecue from points all over the globe and authored a book on the subject. Looking for something new to throw on your grill this summer? This is the guy to talk to.
Raichlen also explains: "Barbecuing and grilling is the world's oldest cooking method, the most universal cooking method, but it's extremely local." He describes how the grill cuisine of each culture grows from what's around it, the lifestyle of the people, and the available resources in the area.
He mentions two dishes in particular that made me want to immediately break out the grill, both suited to the kinds of small table-top grills that we apartment dwellers favor. The first is a Korean beef rib called kalbi, which gets butterflied, quickly grilled, and then served with kimchi, rice, and other foods on a lettuce leaf.
Equally enticing his his description of otak-otak (or otah-otah), a dish from Singapore and Malaysia made from a ground fish mousse flavored with ginger, chili, kaffir lime, and other aromatics and bound with coconut milk. The fish is wrapped in banana leaves before being grilled. The texture and flavors sound heavenly.
For more grilling inspiration from around the globe, listen to the full interview and check out Raichlen's book:
Discovered any great new grill recipes lately?