South Indian-Style Spiced Veggie Kebabs
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 30 minutes Marinating Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 12 minutes
Southern India encompasses a wide expanse of land stretching from coast to coast, and that means many different subcultures, languages, and cuisines. There are a few things that all the local cuisines of the region have in common—the rich South Indian spice palate (which features plenty of mustard, cumin, coriander, and other spices) plus a love of coconut and unripe mangoes. In fact, if you are feeling adventuresome, buy one or two green mangoes, peel them, cut them into ¾ inch thick slices and add them to these kebabs before you grill them up. The exact selection vegetables you use for this dish is mighty flexible and should consist of whatever you can get that is the freshest. Just be sure that you think about cooking times. I would avoid, let’s say, the thick and dense kohlrabi, but eggplant, cucumber, and underripe, slightly green tomatoes are great options.
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground mustard
½ teaspoon toasted ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon amchur powder (green mango powder)
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 pound (8 to 10) small portobello mushrooms (about 2 inches in diameter), any large, tough stems discarded
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini, cut into ¾-inch rounds
1 pound (about 2 medium) yellow summer squash, cut into ¾-inch rounds
1 pound (about 2) red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch chunks
1 large onion, peeled, quartered, and sections separated
4 long bamboo skewers or metal skewers
- Make the marinade: Combine the ginger, garlic, cumin, brown sugar, mustard, cinnamon, amchur powder, salt, black pepper, and melted coconut oil in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, and onion and mix gently to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, if you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour.
- When you are almost ready, to cook, heat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Remove the bamboo skewers from the water if using. Remove the vegetables from the refrigerator and open the bag. Thread the vegetables onto the skewers, making sure to begin and end with larger pieces to help secure the rest.
- Place on the hot grill, cover, and grill for 4 to 5 minutes. Roll the skewer gently to move the vegetables a half-turn and grill for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with chutneys, breads, and rice.