Grilling season where I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee heralded a time of robust pieces of meat in sweet and kicky barbecue sauce on the grill. The southern concept differed from how my very desi household prepared our grilled goods.
We had some of the usual suspects such as skewered meats, burgers (though not beef), and veggies, but our marinade was always masala-punched and handmade by my Mother, the masala whisperer.
Warm yellow, bright green, and vibrant orange would punctuate our grill; chicken and seafood marinated in fresh yogurt, turmeric, cumin, and coriander along with a bevy of fresh herbs.
The beautiful thing about ‘masala-fying’ a spread like this is that it isn’t labor intensive or fret with a long list of ingredients, things that I feel often deter people from making Indian food at home. It’ll probably take longer to read the recipe comic, below, then to actually prepare the marinade and chutney!
You can also play around with the recipes to cater to your preferences. For instance, the marinade can easily handle more cloves of garlic or the addition of your favorite spice, without compromising the taste or texture.
Worth noting is that this marinade is a proven crowd-pleaser. When hosting a barbecue for a larger crowd, chances are, food preferences vary. Some guests prefer grilled chicken or pork, while others love grilled seafood, and still, others are vegetarian. The beauty of this marinade is that it flavors and enhances numerous proteins and veggies so you won’t have to prepare a different marinade for every food.
Along with the marinade is my mother’s traditional recipe for mint chutney; basil or cilantro work equally as well in lieu of mint.
Both the marinade and the chutney can last up to a week in an airtight container if refrigerated. Both can easily be created on the spot, but for a bigger crowd you can prepare and store days in advance.