Tikka masala spiced vegetables grilled on the barbecue and served with cooling cucumber and coconut yoghurt raita.
New Zealand summer school holidays are over. Reality and routine are on their way back but the weather is still screaming HOLIDAY at me (really loudly). I'm not yet back in the swing of structured weeks, well planned grocery lists, or even feeling particularly inspired to get in the kitchen. It's too hot to cook and we'd rather be out having fun for as long as we can, then figure out dinner on the fly at the last minute.
The unfortunate conundrum is that I still want (need, crave) delicious flavour filled meals. I'm hard to please. No effort thanks, but all the flavour thank you very much.
Cooking outdoors on the barbecue grill is a good compromise, though I am growing tired of salads and vege sausages which are a lazy summer standby in our house. After months of pretty light and simple eating, I'm feeling the need for a bit more spice, colour and interest.
Enter barbecue grilled curry vegetables.
Barbecue grilled curry vegetables
Summer vegetables like courgette, capsicums (bell peppers) and eggplant are booming right now. They're cheap, plentiful and lend themselves really well to grilling on the BBQ. Keeping it simple with olive oil, garlic and seasonings is fine, but why stop there?
I had a pouch of store bought Indian tikka masala curry paste in the pantry and thought it would be the perfect thing to spice up grilled vegetables. I mixed the tikka masala paste with fresh squeezed lemon juice and little grape seed oil to create a thinner marinade, then used my hands to massage it generously all over sliced eggplant, capsicum, courgette and mushrooms. The marinade goes quite a long way, and you could easily double the quantity to make it go even further if you're doing lots of vegetables to serve more people or when you're entertaining.
The vegetables take 10-15 minutes to cook on the grill (eggplant takes the longest, so start with that). The smell of the spices and these vegetables grilling will have your neighbours wondering what's for dinner.
While the vegetables are grilling, cook some basmati rice or quinoa and make a simple raita to serve with them. I mixed coconut yoghurt with grated cucumber and a pinch of salt. The tang and sweet creaminess of the coconut yoghurt meld perfectly with the tikka masala spices and create a pretty darn tasty meal for extraordinarily little effort.
Add some chopped coriander (cilantro) on top, perhaps a sprinkle of cashew nuts or roti bread on the side, and you'll be in your happy place. If you want to bump up the protein, you could grill some tofu too.
For the tikka masala marinade:
- 3 tbsp tikka masala paste (see recipe notes, and check label to ensure vegan/gluten-free if required)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil or mild cooking oil of your choice
For the vegetables, your choice of:
- Capsicum (bell peppers)
For the coconut raita:
- ¾ cup coconut yoghurt
- 1 cup grated cucumber (about ¼ of a telegraph cucumber)
- Pinch salt to season
- Cooked basmati rice or quinoa
- Fresh coriander (cilantro)
- Toasted cashew nuts (optional)
- Roti or naan bread (optional)
- Mix the tikka masala marinade ingredients together. I used a mild curry paste, you could also use a medium or hot one if you're in the mood.
- Slice your choice of vegetables and use your hands to rub the marinade all over them. The quantity of vegetables is pretty flexible, I used 1 eggplant sliced about 1.5cm or half an inch thick, 2 red capsicums cored and cut into wedges, 1 courgette cut into thick slices and 3 large button mushrooms cut in half. I could probably have included a bit more without having to increase the quantity of marinade used.
- Mix the coconut yoghurt and grated cucumber together, season with salt to taste and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
- Heat the barbecue grill to medium/high and cook the vegetables, starting with the eggplant about five minutes before everything else as it takes longer to cook. Add the other vegetables, then cook them until they have char marks and are cooked to your liking.
- Serve vegetables hot off the grill with cooked basmati rice or quinoa, a big dollop of coconut yoghurt and some fresh coriander (cilantro). Add some cashew nuts or Indian bread on the side if you like.
- I used one pouch of Asian Home Gourmet mild tikka masala paste.
- Serves 2-4 people depending on appetite and what you serve with the vegetables.
- Nutrition information calculated based on 4 servings, and does not include rice/quinoa, nuts or bread.