As temperatures are soaring in India , the desire to eat grilled foods and light flavorful salads increase. The flavorful of smoky, charred meats and veggies are my favorite summertime fare and they require less prep without compromising on taste . That and of course you definitely want to enjoy the freshest ingredients of the season !
The the catch of the day are fresh succulent prawns caught from the Chilika lake in east coast of India, the largest lagoon in the nation. It is the home to a stunning collection of delicious fishes and crustaceans and the prawns are among the best I have come across. To accompany the grilled prawns , a colorful nutrition packed Tabouleh salad and home made pickled peppers. Tabouleh is a bulgur wheat based dish hugely popular in Levant region of Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan,Israel). According to wiki “The Levantine Arabic tabbūle is derived from the Arabic word tabil, meaning seasoning.” Since the bulgur wheat doesn’t have much seasoning one imagines it must be from the parsley and mint that goes into the seasoning.
Grilling prawns is a bit of a tricky affair when compared to meats. It is quite easy to overcook them and you are left with a rubbery chewy piece of fish . At the same time under-cooking leaves a very bad taste . Some common tips on grilling prawns can be found here . I personally feel it’s best to leave the shell on after you have cleaned and deviened.
I would mention , please do not throw away the head. They made for a great addition if you are looking to make shrimp or seafood based broth or curries. In this dish I have removed the heads to be used later in a coconut broth based seafood curry.
Prawns can be grilled as such with basic salt and pepper seasoning. However , for this preparation I have used Jamaican Jerk Seasoning , often known as Carribean Jerk or Island seasoning. Normally with seafood I prefer using Old Bay Seasoning native to Baltimore. However, the flavors of jerk are quite unique and goes well with grilled foods, this was my first attempt at using it while grilling seafood and I wasn’t dissapointed
This dish can be enjoyed with a crisp pilsner or a mild flavored Riesling. If you are looking for something refreshing and chilling you could also go with a Watermelon Aqua Fresca.
- Instant Bulgur Wheat/Tabouleh (you can use the traditional Bulgur wheat recipe but takes much longer time)
- Finely chopped fresh Parsley
- Finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 small chopped cucumber
- Pomegranate seeds
- Chopped tomatoes
- Pickled peppers
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
- Salt and Pepper to season
- 4 jumbo prawns, shell on de-veined, head removed (optional)
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (or any other BBQ seasoning of your choice)
- Molten butter for basting
- Heat water and soak the tabouleh mix/ bulgur wheat for about 15 minutes covered in a glass bowl. Since I have used instant tabouleh it can be soaked with hot water, if you are planning to make tabouleh from scratch you can consult this recipe .
- Add lemon juice, salt , pepper and olive oil and fluff the mixture well. Now add the finely chopped parsley and mint and give it a good stir.
- Add the pickled peppers, chopped cucumbers , tomatoes and pomegranate seeds and toss it well. Season to taste, the tabouleh salad is ready to be served as shown in the picture
- Season the prawns well so that it’s evenly coated . Make sure the prawns are slit in the middle and the seasoning enters the middle.
- Place the prawns in the hottest part of the grill and cook until slightly charred for 2-3 minutes each side.Baste with butter and reverse, continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Note, you can also make this using a cast iron girdle if you donot have a gas grill. Make sure the girdle is very hot and smoky, then add a dash of oil and toss the prawns in cooking 3 minutes each side on high heat and further 3-4 minutes on low to medium heat.
- Plate the grilled prawns with the tabouleh salad and some pickled peppers, garnish with pomegranate seeds.