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MENU PLANNER

A Little Salt With Your Kebab

September 26, 1996|BARBARA HANSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In Southern California, grilling has little to do with the weather. When it's cold or rainy, you simply do it indoors, using a stove-top grill pan. In other words, you can enjoy this great, light menu from Syed Naveed of Fontana all year.

Naveed, who's from Lahore, Pakistan, adds wonderful spice to ground beef kebabs and serves them in pita pockets with lettuce, onion and yogurt-mint sauce. He forms the meat into long rolls, like hot dogs, but you can also make hamburger-style patties. The accompaniments are lemon-seasoned onion and cucumber salad, a salted yogurt drink and fresh fruit.

Naveed makes his own yogurt and blends it with mint from his garden for the kebab sauce. Sweet yogurt drinks are familiar to anyone who patronizes Indian restaurants. Naveed likes a salted version of the drink because it helps replace salt lost during a day of yard work or other vigorous activity such as jogging or biking.

MENU

Syed Naveed's Grilled Ground Beef Kebabs

Whole-Wheat Pita Breads

Yogurt-Mint Sauce

Onion and Cucumber Salad

Salted Lassi

Sliced Honeydew

STAPLES

Cumin seeds

Hot chili powder

Garlic

1 egg

2 onions

1 lemon

SHOPPING LIST

1 pound ground beef, with some fat

1 bunch cilantro

1 small piece ginger root

1 package whole-wheat pita breads

1 small head lettuce

1 bunch fresh mint

1 pint plus 1 (8-ounce) carton plain yogurt

2 small cucumbers

1 serrano chile

1 honeydew

GAME PLAN

1 hour before: Season meat and shape into kebabs. Make yogurt sauce.

30 minutes before: Grill meat and pita breads.

15 minutes before: Assemble salad; cut up honeydew.

Just before serving: Make Lassi.

SYED NAVEED'S GRILLED GROUND BEEF KEBABS

YOGURT-MINT SAUCE

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Dash salt

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Wash mint and place in blender. Add salt and yogurt and blend to sauce consistency. Makes about 1/2 cup.

GROUND BEEF KEBABS

1 pound ground beef, with some fat

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, well washed, or 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

5 small cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

Salt

2 whole-wheat pita breads

1/2 small head lettuce

1 small onion, sliced

Place meat in bowl (if meat is very lean, add small amount oil). Rub cumin seeds between palms of hands. Add cumin, chili powder, cilantro, ginger, garlic and egg to meat. Season with salt to taste. Mix well.

Form into sausage shapes or into flat patties. Grill slowly on barbecue. When meat is partly cooked, top with pita breads and grill until breads are warm. Cut each bread in half. Add some lettuce and onion, then Yogurt-Mint Sauce. Top with kebab.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

372 calories; 393 mg sodium; 121 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 23 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 0.60 grams fiber.

ONION AND CUCUMBER SALAD

1 small onion, sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 small cucumbers, peeled and sliced

1 small serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste

Salt

Place onion in shallow serving bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Add cucumbers and chile. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

23 calories; 77 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 grams fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.77 grams fiber.

SALTED LASSI

2 cups yogurt

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ice cubes

1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Mix yogurt, salt and ice cubes in blender until frothy. Add water as needed to thin to beverage consistency.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

105 calories; 400 mg sodium; 14 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0 grams fiber.

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