Everyone enjoys the fresh salt air and wide blue skies of a beachside picnic, and some coastal parks make it easy with their built in tables and facilities. Here’s our guide to planning an easy alfresco meal this weekend. — [email protected]
What to bring:
- Pre-Made Salads
It’s always great to have a foil to the bread and meat extravaganza on offer at a picnic, and Lulu Hypermarket has some great salads ready-made and ready to go at their deli counter, with portions that are both affordable and generous. The Russian salad, dotted with carrots, green beans, olives, a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, diced apples, and snow peas on a mayonnaise base is a firm favourite, and only costs OMR 1.2 per kilo. While their beansprout salad is a little bit more expensive at OMR 2.7 a kilo, it is a wonderful addition to the heavier foods with its nutty combination of sprouts, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, and onions.
• For Barbecuing: coal (make sure its dry), grill, lighter/match stick, paper/cardboard (for burning and for fanning), kerosene.
• For Drinking and Washing: Along with juice or soft drinks, be sure to carry extra bottles of water as you may want to use them for both drinking and hand washing.
• Paper Goods: Disposable plates, disposable cups, and disposable spoons are a must, along with paper towels or tissue. Be sure to also bring along plastic bags to carry out your garbage.
• Munchies: You will need wafers, chips, and biscuits to keep you going whilst you try to lit up the barbecue pit, which (if you’re an amateur like some of us), could take a while. Be prepared with some Pringles and Chips Oman.
What to make:
This classic Omani roadside and beachside food is a delicious local addition to your casual feast.
1/2 kg mutton meat (you can alternatively use beef)
2-4 garlic cloves
1-2 green peppers, chopped
1/2-1 onion, chopped
African chilli (optional)
Salt, to taste
Lemon, to taste
Flatbread, for serving
(No measures, everything is according to taste)
1. Cut the meat into cubes or bite-size portions, and then rinse them.
2. Take a few garlic cloves, sliced green pepper, and a chopped onion, put the ingredients in a blender and blend. (Add African chilli for a spicy taste)
3. Pour the mixture over the rinsed meat and add salt, lemon or lemon juice, and tamarind. Mix all the ingredients together with the meat and let it marinate for a full day in the fridge (or at least a couple of hours before barbecuing). You can add yoghurt into the marinade to soften the meat (optional).
5. When grilling, brush the meat with tamarind sauce as it gets cooked, and then serve it with more tamarind sauce drizzled overtop.
6. Serve with chapatti or other flatbread.
- Tandoori Chicken
Flavourful, easy-to-eat, and a snap to make ahead of time, this is a perfect picnic fare.
1 kg chicken drumsticks
1 cup yoghurt
2-3 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2-3teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin powder
3teaspoon Indian garam masala
1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
1tablespoon lemon juice
2teaspoon chaat masala
2-3 pinches of tandoori food colour
Onion, sliced into rings, for serving
Lemon slices, for serving
Fresh coriander leaves for serving
1. Wash the chicken well and keep it aside.
2. For the marination blend yoghurt to a smooth paste and add all the other ingredients to it.
3. Add the chicken drumsticks to the mixture and mix well. Marinate overnight or for 8-10 hours minimum.
4. Place the chicken drumsticks on a metal rack and barbecue over hot charcoal for about 15 minutes per side.
5. Once brown and fully cooked, serve garnished with onion rings, lemon, and fresh coriander leaves.
- Homemade Hummus
This party favourite is great for munching on while the meats are grilling. Serve with cut veggies or pita chips.
425g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablsespoon olive oil, for garnish
Sliced olives, for garnish
Pita bread, toasted pita, cut vegetables (like cucumber and celery), for serving
1. Add the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of water, the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a blender. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add additional water to thin out the hummus.
2. Store covered in the refrigerator. You can also add a lot of variations to the hummus by stiring in other vegetables and herbs, like avocado, jalapeno, and coriander.
3. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and add sliced olives for garnish and offer with fresh cut veggies, chips, or bread.
- Individual Mini-Cheesecakes
Leave the forks and knives at home with these easy-to-eat mini-cheesecakes.
4 200g packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup-3/4 cup sugar (depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
24-30 round cookies, such as Oreos or vanilla wafers
24-30 muffin tin liners
Fresh berries for serving, if desired
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (you may have to adjust according to your oven, I turned mine up to 200C for the second batch).
2. Beat softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until smooth (feel free to taste at this point to check for sweetness. Add another 1/4 cup of sugar if desired). Whisk eggs and then mix them into cheese mixture.
3. Line a muffin tin with muffin paper and place one cookie in each paper liner. Feel free to use a variety of cookies. Pour cheese batter over top of the cookie until the liner is 3/4 of the way full.
4. Bake mini-cheesecakes for 25-35 minutes or until the centres are almost firm. Remove and let cool on the countertop for an hour, then refrigerate for a couple hours to completely firm. Serve as they are or topped with fresh berries.
Where to picnic:
- Shatti Al Qurum Beach
Amenities: Picnic tables and covered pergolas
Location: Just down the road from Oasis by the Sea and Jawharat Al Shatti, there is a wide gravel lot with plenty of parking.
- Hidden Shatti Beach
Amenities: Manicured grass lawn, picnic tables, pergolas
Location: Beside Marina Café and behind the Bangladesh Embassy, near Grand Hyatt
- Kalbuh Park
Amenities: Grassy lawns, plenty of parking, a kids’ playground, and shaded areas
Location: Just past Mutrah Souq and Riyam Park, before the Gate Museum
*Note that the park is only open after 4pm during the week, but is open from 9am-12midnight on weekends
Are you a BBQ master? Where is your favourite place in Oman to grill-out? What do like to cook? Tell us about it in the story comments on Facebook @HiWeekly