The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 04.26.05


Barbeque & Asian Coleslaw Time

All things barbeque come to homes this week. Finally temperatures allow a meal on the back porch or deck and wafting vapors of smoky goodness fill the air of suburbia.

Walking the pooches made me very hungry indeed this past weekend as I strolled by house after house. Burgers and steaks here and there with hints of more adventurous flare- ups were noted. I caught a whiff of curry on one corner and a Greek infused oregano aroma at another.

Laughter and activity was abundant in each and every yard and I suspect a few beers and wines were served. A trip to the grocery revealed empty shelves devoid of hamburger and hotdog buns prompting me to forego plans for a simple classic barbeque in favor of something a little more exotic.

A bag of shrimp was purchased along with some wooden skewers and a few veggies and Asian coleslaw and kebobs became the menu. Despite the inefficiency of my current gas fired unit, I managed to pull off a good feast. I'm searching for a new Goliath version as we speak but I just may forego a gas version for charcoal. In my opinion wood and charcoal still deliver the best taste. As for speed and ease of use nothing beats gas of course.

Here's a handy trick for those of you who wish to impart a little wood smoke flavor to your meal while using a gas fired barbeque.

A chef friend in Vancouver taught me to soak some hardwood chips such as maple or hickory in water, beer or wine for a half-hour prior to grilling. Often he would ad a handful of fresh or dried herbs to the mixture as well. Half way through cooking your dish you can toss some of the wet chips and herbs (sans liquid) onto an aluminum pie plate and onto the grill and close the lid. The resulting smoke and flavor can't be beat and you can brush the liquid onto any meat to deliver moisture if needed. Watch out for a flare up when you open the lid however as once oxygen hits the smoldering chips it can burst into flame suddenly. Wood chips can be purchased at any local hardware store near the charcoal and barbeque display and they are relatively cheap and a small bag can last you all summer, as you only need to use a small handful at a time.

The following recipes paired very well due to the shortage of buns at the store. Adaptability is a good thing. Asian barbeque is too.

Shrimp, Pepper, and Mango Kabobs in Ginger Marinade

Sauvignon Blanc is great with this ginger shrimp. These shrimp, pepper and mango kabobs deliver wonderful, authentic flavor with minimal effort. This is a great recipe for entertaining a crowd-just double the ingredients.

4-6 servings

20 minutes -15 minutes prep

2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-cup rice wine vinegar
1/2-cup lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4-cup oil
1-tablespoon sesame oil
1-2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice and blanched
1 firm mango, peeled and cubed

In a large bowl, whisk together ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, oil, sesame oil, and cilantro. Add the shrimp. Toss to coat shrimp; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove shrimp from marinade. Pour marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for one full minute. Remove from heat.

Alternately thread shrimp, scallions, peppers and mango on skewers. Place skewers in center of cooking grate. Grill 4 to 6 minutes until shrimp turn pink and opaque, turning once halfway through grilling time, basting with reserved marinade. Serve warm over rice with Asian coleslaw on the side.

Asian Coleslaw


1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil-toasted
3/4-teaspoon salt

One large head cabbage -- (about 2-1/2 pounds), thinly sliced and tough ribs discarded
One bag carrots -- (16 ounce) shredded
Four green onions-thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves-chopped (you can substitute parsley if desired)


In large bowl, use a wire whisk or a fork to mix the rice vinegar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, and salt. Add the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and cilantro; toss gently until the dressing is evenly distributed over the vegetables.

Cover tightly and refrigerate until it is time to serve.