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The World is your Grill

Celebrity chef, television host, cookbook author and recording artist Roger Mooking shares a Caribbean-inspired BBQ recipe and chats about his global inspirations.

Born in Trinidad to Caribbean and Chinese parents, Mooking moved to Canada at the age of 5 where he was notably introduced to the culinary traditions of his family’s Ukrainian neighbours.

"To me, global inspiration is present on a day-to-day basis," says Mooking, who will be taking part in the sixth annual Savour Stratford Culinary Festival at the end of September.

The festival’s theme, 'globally inspired, locally grown' is a good fit for Mooking. 

"There are so many different cooking techniques and styles practiced by people all over the world that are still uncommon here," says Mooking, who wants to show people that they can make all kinds recipes with ingredients that are readily available. 

"Take a chicken, for instance. Chicken is bred all over the world but people cook it in totally different ways. I’ll have the opportunity to do a spiced cashew chicken at the festival. It’s a recipe I learned during a recent trip to Bangladesh but that I’ll be doing in Stratford, mostly with local ingredients – starting with the chicken."

One of Mooking's most beloved recipes are lamb kebabs with tamarind sauce.

“When I see tamarind, I'm instantly transported home; I can visualize the wide majestic trees that house these pods of sour goodness. It's one of my favourite fruits. The lamb skewers are essentially a grill lovers vessel for the Tamarind sauce."

What's one of his pro-tips for cooking any dish on the BBQ?

"Don't overheat the grill." 

Courtesy of Food Network Canada

Recipe: Lamb Kebabs with Tamarind Sauce

Tamarind Sauce
5 ml of coriander seed
½ cinnamon stick
Two 200 g packages of tamarind
10 ml of ginger, smashed
100 g of sugar
Juice of 1 grapefruit
350 ml of water
1 400 ml can of coconut milk
salt and pepper

Place coriander seeds and cinnamon in a pot, toast over medium heat for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, break up tamarind with spoon and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Strain sauce into a bowl.

Lamb Marinade
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
10 ml of ginger, finely chopped
15 ml of black pepper
30 ml vegetable oil
1 kg of lamb leg, silver skin removed, cut into 1” pieces

Place all ingredients in a bowl, except for lamb, mix. Add lamb pieces, marinate for a minimum of ½ an hour, maximum, 24 hours.

Lamb Kebabs
1 medium red onion, inner core removed, outer layers cut into 1” by 1” pieces
Marinated lamb pieces
One bunch mint

Heat grill. To assemble Lamb Kebabs, push one piece of red onion, through skewer. Push one piece of lamb through skewer so lamb is resting on red onion. Skewer mint, stem and leaves, wrapping around red onion and lamb. Continue to push lamb and red onion through skewers, while wrapping mint stem with leaves around Lamb Kebabs. Repeat process until all skewers are full. Grill Lamb Kebabs until lamb is medium rare, approximately 10-12 minutes. Serve with Tamarind Sauce, rice and/or roasted potatoes.

The Stratford Culinary Festival takes place from September 20-22. Roger Mooking’s latest album Feedback was released on July 11. He is the host and co-creator of Everyday Exotic, a television series in which he explores flavours from around the globe.



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