How To Make Jerk Marinade + Jerk Paneer Vegetable Kebabs with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

paneer & vegetable kebabsAlthough, living in Scotland, I no longer celebrate the 4th of July as such – it’s often a work day – it is fun to mark it with some kind of barbecue. If the weather plays ball that is. And so far so good on that score, if you don’t mind it a shade on the cool and breezy side. I know the 4th of July isn’t *just* about barbecues. There’s the whole ‘we are free from the Brits’ thing as well. Not really something that I can celebrate too enthusiastically under the circumstances.

But barbecueing I CAN do. But for the small matter of being on a plane to London I would be making this, as well as perhaps my grilled miso-butter corn and tofu and this slaw. There are loads and loads of great vegetarian and vegan barbeque ideas on the Internet, so I may be shouting in the wind a bit here, but I do think this one is quite good. I worked really hard on the marinade, tweaking and testing until I have it the way I want it: fragrant, complex, with a background smokiness from the unorthodox addition of chipotle chili. And crucially, I have it so that you will hopefully want to try it too. And did I mention that it is very quick and easy?

The heat in the marinade is completely adjustable. In fact, for Miss R’s exam-delayed birthday bash I did the marinade with no chilli whatsoever. This was probably not technically a jerk though, as jerks seem to require a modicum of fire, and that’s putting it mildly (ha ha). But it did have the other two must-haves: allspice and thyme.

For the party I made up these paneer and vegetable kebabs, as well as marinating boned chicken thigh pieces and baking them for half an hour at 180C. There was thankfully not a scrap of either leftover so I took that as a thumbs-up. But poor Miss R likes her food spicy so this was undoubtedly a great sacrifice for her (she probs doused hers in hot sauce when no one was looking). And there was only a scoop of  leftover  mac and cheese, which I did with a simple cheese sauce enhanced with nutmeg, Dijon mustard and turmeric. It is the forlorn and quite refrigerated lump you see on the plate! I hadn’t realised how rubbish that looked at the time of photographing… Anyway, I had enquired if I could put in a layer of cooked kale, but I was rightly rebuffed. Sometimes I am a bit *too* enthusiastic about the old plant foods. A daughter’s 17th is not the time to inflict kale on the unsuspecting. But I did inflict a bit of Mom-dancing before being escorted off the premises by a wiser and less embarrassing Mr A. She would’ve probably rather had the kale.

Have you ever embarrassed your children? Was it accidental, or a teeny bit on purpose? Do confess. I can’t be the only making some awful 80s shapes on the dance floor.

paneer & vegetable kebabsMaking Jerk Marinade + Jerk Paneer and Vegetable Kebabs with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

This Week in 2011: Courgette, Lemon and Elderflower Cake (not great images but it is really tasty)

This Week in 2012: Summer Berries Crumble Tart (this is a lot prettier than above)

Miss R’s Track of the Week:Gabrielle Aplin – Home (Acoustic)

Adjust this marinade to your liking – more heat (!), less, or no heat. This recipe make enough for two recipes of paneer and vegetable kebabs, or use the whole recipe for a half kilo (1 lb) of diced chicken thighs. It freezes beautifully and defrosts quickly, so no excuses for using shop-bought marinade.

The Marinade

1 bunch spring onions/scallions (about 65g/ 2 and ¼ oz), trimmed and roughly chopped
20g gingerroot, peeled (thick thumb-sized piece), roughly chopped
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 heaped tsp chipotle chilli in adobo sauce (optional but brilliant smoky heat)
1 Scotch bonnet OR habenero chilli – deseeded (or 2 if not using chipotle), chopped*
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves OR heaped ½ tsp dried
3 fat cloves garlic
Juice & zest of one lime
1 heaped tbsp coconut palm sugar or other raw sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Good  ‘three-finger’ pinch of salt

*please use rubber gloves if you have them, or be incredibly careful.

Pop all into a blender or food processor/Vitamix and blend until mostly pureed, with some ‘bits’ still visible. Use within 2 days, storing any leftover marinade in a labelled glass jar for the freezer.

paneer & vegetable kebabsJerk Paneer and Vegetable Kebabs

½ quantity of Jerk Marinade
1 batch of paneer (or 200g pack), cubed for kebab skewers*
1 courgette (zucchini), thickly sliced (I often steam mine for a minute first, but not necessary)
1 (bell) pepper, cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into thick wedges and each wedge pulled in half
1 small punnet chestnut or shiitake mushrooms, halved if large
2 tsp oil, not extra-virgin (or use garlic oil and ignore below)

a couple of shakes of garlic powder

*please use firm tofu or even boned chicken thighs if you wish, taking special care to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, and juices run clear.

1. Toss the cubed paneer with the marinade and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour; overnight is fine.

2. Half and hour before you are ready to cook, soak the skewers in water. This prevents them from catching fire when on the grill. Also, go ahead and mix the oil and garlic powder in a small bowl.

3. When you are ready to cook, thread the paneer and vegetables onto the skewers, then paint the garlic oil over all.

4. Place over prepared ashy coals, or onto a hot griddle pan. The timing depends on your cooking method and the heat you have, so watch the kebabs. Turn carefully for even grilling, taking care not to scorch.

Serves 3-4 with sides (see below for pineapple salsa; pictured also with mac and cheese)

Pineapple and Mango Salsa

½ small pineapple, trimmed and small dice
½ small red onion, tiny dice
1 ripe or green mango, stoned and diced
handful of radishes, matchsticked or chopped
leaf coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
Lime juice and salt, to taste

Chopped red chilli, optional

Toss together and serve immediately. This is very refreshing and goes well with all picnic, grilled and barbecued foods as well as in wraps. Add some cooked prawns or raw nuts for a protein-packed salad.

I am sending this over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ w/ Luv Made With Love Mondays, as it is most definitely from-scratch and made with love. And it is very easy too. Which means I love it. More time for Mom-dancing!

Other 4th of July Food Ideas from:
The Spicy RD (great ideas here – and all healthy), Babycenter.com, Food52,Coffee and Giggles (these are sweet treats & drinks), The Kitchn and the blog at Eating Well. If you have a healthy 4th of July post, please let me know and I will add you onto this little list. Make it quick though!paneer & vegetable kebabspaneer & vegetable kebabs
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34 thoughts on “How To Make Jerk Marinade + Jerk Paneer Vegetable Kebabs with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

  1. !!! I wonder if I could do this with tofu cubes, pressed first, to get all the liquid out, and then jerk marinated. Something tells me it would be pretty awesome summer BBQ. Of course, I have to fight the other pork-rib-and-chicken-thigh-toting apartment dwellers for space on the pool grill. Guess I’ll have to wow them with my bikini so they’ll move over for my veggies. HA!

    Cheers, Kellie. And Happy 4th, no matter where you spend it. It’s a good day for all of us to remember where we came from and the principles on which this country was founded (and in some ways has gotten away from).

    • Thank you Shannon. You have a great 4th of July, too. Maybe get yourself a snazzy portable grill to keep your veggies and tofu pristine and non-meat juiced! Yes, the marinade is good with pressed tofu. Do you freeze yours then thaw and squeeze? Sometimes you risk it not being great on a skewer, but boy will it suck up marinade :D And go on girl with your bikini! Wish I could do that ;D

  2. I love that you made this for Miss R’s birthday bash! I dream of the day my Miss SiSi and Mr Big Tex love spicy hot food as much as I do…Spectacular dish for the 4th, or any grilling occasion, and thanks so much for sharing my 4th of July recipe round-up! Embarrass my kids? Every day :-)

    • I am really lucky with my Miss R. She has a broader palate than I do: ox tongue (delicious, she says. I’ll take her word for it) and ox heart (thumbs down – too iron-y). Luckily she was good with the menu and didn’t want to have food that most people would only choose on a dare, or if drunk. I bet Miss SiSi will come around: it is in her genes! LOL – we are always embarrassing as parents, aren’t we? Just by existing. It was a stupid question I posed really ;D

  3. We tend to grill plainly and then serve with salsa (veggie or fruit) on the side. Then everyone can temper the “sauce” to suit their liking. But spicy jerk marinade for veggies sounds so delightful we may just break out of out routine! Happy 4th Kellie!

    • Happy almost-4th Deb! The marinade can have the heat left completely out with customising afterwards. My gang always add more while I keep on the slighter lower slopes of inferno. This one as written is not actually hot and the sugar balances it out too. But I like plain grilled to let good produce shine. I am putting up a grilled peach sandwich soon. I hope you will approve :D

  4. What a fantastic and tasty idea, Kellie! I love the idea of using paneer as grill-food and the jerk rub is genius… It’s probably more than enough spice for me though :) Very tasty and beautifully presented…

  5. Scotch bonnet chillies! How lovely. Love the name. I haven’t made paneer for a while, Kellie, but you have inspired me to do so with this delicious recipe. Thanks so much for sharing… and I wouldn’t dare dance these days xox

    • I know they sound Scottish but they aren’t! Southwestern they are and used loads in Tex-Mex type cooking. Hot is hell too! Lol about the dancing. I beg to differ: you would be fab cutting up the dance floor. Just perhaps not in front of the kids :D Great to hear from you Miss Liz

  6. Yum! I just love anything paneer, and have grilled it before with great success, so I know these kebabs would be a hit. Good call on the chipotle in the sauce, it’s one of my favourite flavours. An American friend and I are co-hosting a Canada Day / 4th of July bbq this Friday for a group of expats, and I think these would make a great addition to the menu. Happy 4th to you!

    • Louisa has just commented favourably on them, having just made them. And with her own ideas for them too. Let me know if they make it onto your party grill and how they were for you. I would love to think they were being made all the way over in Stockholm! Happy 4th and a belated Happy Canada Day too :D

  7. 3 for 3 :). Kudos and it’s not even morning! I am listening at 7.38pm just before I go to bed. Is it just me or are the U.K. producing some absolutely drop dead amazing acts at the moment? Looks like a 60′s U.K. revolution all over again :)

    • Yay! Miss R has another couple of goodies up her sleeve. And soon she will be helping produce a local band’s second album (they are a Scottish rock band but with a twist!) so they will no doubt feature before too long. She is quite good at finding bands before anyone else has even the faintest sniff of them.

      • That’s a handy asset, always best to be in on the ground floor, especially with something as fickle as the music industry. SO glad she isn’t hitching her wagon to the crap generic music scene. She gets triple kudos from this Tassie music lover :)

      • I will tell her you said that! She likes all music, even the crappy stuff (a little), but prefers listening to and going to see off-beat bands. Or at least off-beat compared to the usual taste of 17-year olds. Thank God.

  8. The skewers look lipsmackingly delish as well…I keep forgetting to praise the main event! Not my fault the supporting acts are so damned good! ;)

      • Yes…lets blame her and be done with it… can I also blame her for my predilection for chocolate? What about my crowing roosters? I would really REALLY like to be able to say to my scowling neighbours “sorry…those rooters belong to Miss R, nothing to do with me!” (come to think of it…I might even try it! ;) )

  9. Ooh Kellie this was delicious! Just finished making this for my tea tonight and the flavours were fantastic. I love spicy food so I did add both types of chillies to the marinade and cos I didn’t have any Worcestershire sauce, I added some tamarind paste instead. My husband is triathlon training and cutting down on calories so this was perfect. I also used a wee bit of haloumi cheese and a few tiger prawns for protein. Well worth the wait for the marinade to infuse. I’ve stashed the rest in the freezer for next week. We are also just back from holiday and this made a summery finish to the day after all this dreich Scottish weather !

    • Fantastic news! I would hate to have ruined your dinner! It is funny, because I did actually think of tamarind before I reached for the Worcestershire. Spooky :D I love your tweaks – it is quite an amenable little rub/marinade. I have used it from the freezer and it is absolutely fine and defrosts very quickly. Tell your husband ‘good luck’ for his triathlon from me. HTe only thing I am training for right now is eating my way around London!

  10. lovely recipe Kellie. I have not really cooked with Paneer before. I have some Tofu in the fridge so may give it a go with that. I like the marinade rub and salsa too. This is all such a perfect summer recipe. I had a lovely paneer recipe at a friends house recently – where they had crumbled the paneer and it was cooked with lots of indian spices and coriander and chilli. It was unbelievably tasty!

  11. Kellie, I just made this with a few changes. I liked the marinade so much that I basted the vegetables with it too. My cheese didn’t get firm enough to skewer so I gently placed it on a grill plate and grilled it that way. I served it all a bed of greens. It was so enjoyable!!! I will definately make this again! Thanks for your great recipes!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Linda. I’m glad you loved the marinade! I’m wondering though why the paneer wasn’t firm enough. I haven’t had that problem with my recipe but I guess there are a number of individual variables that could account for it. I’m pleased that you were able to lay it directly on the grill plate and enjoy it that way though. I hope you have some marinade in the freezer for another time. It keeps well.

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