Barbecue to Celebrate Summer

/ By carmelasjournal| Daily Journal

Summer is officially here and what better then to hold a barbecue and invite my close friends. This is not your typical burger, hotdog barbecue event but – a Mongolian barbecue dinner. Since it is summer, we wanted to have an outdoor party and we decided to have it at night where the temperature drops and you don’t have the scorching sun shining its big rays. Biggest predators at night are mosquito but I found this great product a Citronella spray. (Details here) and our special guest was the flying roach (can you say yuck!!) that was evetually taken care of.

In the event that it rains – we are still a tropical country after all; we put up a gazebo tent that comes with its own tea lights.

Mongolian has been a family tradition of ours, it was the main course at many special occasions which were celebrated in my grandparents’ home. My grandparents hosted many dinner parties in their home and none of them were catered. This is one of the best ways to entertain and feed a big crowd. There is not much preparation like when you have 3 main courses + appetizers + desserts to cook for a party of 20. Mongolian is simple since it is buffet style and the guests are in control of their meal – each guest fills up their bowl with various ingredients and sauces and has it cooked. They can have as many bowls as they want and can change the tastes and flavors of each serving.

We use a misono table that my grandparents invested in for their parties but a stove can still be used. The advantage of the misono table is that it’s interactive, entertaining and your guests see their meal cooked in front of them.  You can also use those portable stove burners that are available everywhere and affordable.

The big prep for this meal is the Sate Sauce which takes a bit of time to make and chopping all the veggies. All your meat can be sliced when you buy it and most of the sauces can be found in your grocery.

Since the Mongolian barbecue is a big meal I only had Pica-Pica and skipped the appetizers all together. Guests can munch on small things while drinking their apperitifs and waiting for other guests to arrive. You shouldn’t get them full when the main attraction is the Barbecue.

Menu:

Pica-Pica :  

* Spinach-Artichoke dip served warm with Melba Toasts.

* Adobo flavored Peanuts.

Main: 

Mongolian Barbecue

Desserts :

Leche Flan – Filipino Egg Custard topped with a light caramel sauce

Most of the Casa San Luis leftovers that we didn’t sell at the market that day; Apple Crumble Pie and Cookie Surprise (Chocolate Chip Cookie stuffed with an Oreo).

We also served different ice cream flavors which were store bought and homemade (My Nutella Espresso ice cream which is like a shot of espresso in every scoop).

What is Mongolian Barbecue?

I have to admit that I actually had to google this dish since I’ve always called it what it is all my life and never checked the origin of it. It’s a stir fried dish with 3 basic components  Meat – Sauces – Vegetables.

The concept is Mongolian that dates back since the Khan era. It is the Chinese that popularized this barbecue with different sauces and a variety of vegetables. Legend was that Khan’s Army would use their shields as a grill, they would place it on hot embers and cook their meat.

For our meal we had the choice of beef and chicken. You can also add pork, calamari and shrimp for those who prefer seafood but the latter takes more time to prepare since it should be boiled and peeled before.

Choices of vegetables were Carrots, Cabbage, Garlic, Onion, Celery, Spring Onion, Bean Sprouts, Coriander. You can add more vegetables to have a varied selection such as mushrooms, baby corn, peppers, etc. But always have garlic and onion on your table which are essential to this dish.

Next were the sauces – Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil (simple corn oil with lots of local chili), Sate Sauce, Rice Wine, Sugar Water, Sesame Oil, Ginger Water. You can add Terriyaki Sauce, Hoisin Sauce, etc. Trick is not to put everything! The sauces are there for the taste so add the flavors that you want. – Sweet: add sugar water and oyster sauce – Spicy: add chili oil and chili flakes for that extra kick – Oriental flavor: Sesame oil – etc.

I put out Brown Rice and White Rice to accompany the dish.

What you put out on the table is really your choice and available at the time. Don’t try to put out too many things which can confuse your guests.

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