It's grilling season - time to enjoy the long days of summer with friends and family outdoors. Just like here in America, home cooks and chefs in my homeland of Germany have a passion for grilling and barbecuing.
The Chopping Block has been teaching outdoor grilling and smoking classes since we opened our doors 24 years ago. We started with a tiny grilling patio in Lincoln Park but eventually upgraded to our beautiful outdoor patio at Lincoln Square. We focus on all different types of grilling and smoking techniques in our classes, and we try to offer a wide range of global grilling recipes to keep your food interesting all summer long.
I created the Prost! German grilling class, which is already sold out for this Saturday. That menu is full of German classic recipes, but I wanted to share with you another German grilling recipe which holds a special place in my heart. If you have traveled to Germany, you are likely familiar with or have at least heard about the Doner Kebab, which is served as fast food and very easy to find during summer festivals, and the Curry Wurst, a grilled sausage served in a delicious spicy sauce. The sausage is typically cut into bite-sized chunks and seasoned with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste topped with curry powder.
So I am presenting to you the Shashlik, which is basically a German shish kebab. None of these dishes originated in Germany, however over the years, they have become part of the German food culture. Shashlik is skewered meat with vegetables, or fruit, and served with a curry sauce, or curry ketchup, which is very common in Germany. It's served with French fries, as a dipping sauce, or with grilled meats like Shashlik. This dish originated in Asia and has made its way around the world with different countries and cultures putting their stamp on it.
Try Shashlik paired with our German and Austrian wines
For the Shashlik I recently made, I used pork tenderloin, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, roasted red pepper and a slice of ripe peach.
You can easily switch out the ingredients and the protein. You can also keep it vegetarian by using tofu (firm works best for this application) or another meat substitute.
It is important that you cut the vegetables to be about the same size, not too small, and use the correct type of skewer. I prefer metal skewers, because they are easy to work with and reusable. If you prefer Shashlik as an appetizer, smaller bamboo skewers work really well.
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 2-3 hours prior to building the Shashlik. This is important so that they do not burn once you put them on the grill. The next step it to make sure the skewer is long enough; you want to leave a little gap in between the cubed items on the skewer to ensure even grilling.
Assemble whatever protein and vegetables you have, brush lightly with oil and season and grill on all sides until done.
There are a lot of different versions of Curry sauce. I made a simple curry sauce by just mixing coconut milk, curry paste and turmeric powder together, and brought them to a simmer for about 15 minutes. This makes a good strong spicy sauce. If you like it less spicy, adjust the amount of curry paste, and add a splash of water or stock to the mix. A strong spicy curry sauce gives this dish the perfect balance of sweetness from the peach and the spiciness from the Curry sauce.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: half a cup which is enough to serve 4 skewers as an appetizer
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon yellow curry paste (Mae Ploy is my preferred brand)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Splash of water or vegetable stock
Splash of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a pot, and let simmer for about 15 minutes. At this time, the sauce should be nice and thick. Adjust the seasoning and thickness by adding more water/stock or cream as necessary.
The next time you make kebabs try them with this Curry sauce and celebrate the German way. The beauty of kebabs is that they can be flavored in any way you like!
If you want to learn how to make a Greek-inspired kebab dish, join us for a virtual grilling lesson on Sunday, August 15 at 4pm CST. You'll learn how to make:
- Grilled Greek Beef and Pepper Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Grilled Potato Wedges with Lemon, Oregano, Feta and Garlic
Our chef will be outdoors grilling this meal and we hope you are too. Join the class from a portable device and get live, real-time feedback on your grilling skills from our chef.
Kebabs are this week's challenge for our private Facebook group. Join, make some kebabs this week and share them in the group to inspire others and get new ideas.