It’s time to rejoice! The warm, sunny weather has finally arrived in Toronto and that signals the official start of many foodie traditions: fresh mango shakes, pink lemonade, drinks on the patio, lazy picnics at the park and of course, my favourite – barbecue season.

burger the menu

I’m glad that barbecuing is one Canadian custom my parents took too. The smell of the charcoal grill firing up, ready to transform simple ingredients into sizzling dishes was a fantastic treat in the summer months. My family would settle into our backyard picnic table for our barbecue dinners, as the day turned to dusk and the warm night breeze wrapped around us.

My dad was the master barbecue-er in our house. Actually, he reigned pretty supreme in our household kitchen as well. My dad spent as much time in there whipping up delicious dishes as did my mom – perhaps a rarity in most traditional South Asian immigrant homes, but not in mine. My mom and dad shared the domain and each had their speciality dishes which they prepared. Their shared love of cooking led them to open a successful Indian restaurant in the early 1990s. That commitment and passion for cooking inspired my siblings and I, and we can proudly say that we can hold our own in our respective kitchens.

the menu naveen atwal recipe

When I married, I was lucky to enter another foodie-oriented home and took pleasure in cooking alongside my in-laws. I’m happy to report that this is another barbecue-loving family as well. While my mother-in-law effortlessly prepares excellent Punjabi vegetarian meals (like my favourite, channa-bhatura, or chickpea curry and fried flatbread), my father-in-law’s meat and barbecue dishes are also a treat in the summer. Burgers are his speciality.


When it comes to the menu, it was always the classics: perfectly charred tandoori-style chicken and burgers with all the fixings. In honour of Father’s Day and the official start to the barbeque season, I share their classic recipes. Enjoy!


Mike’s (Dad’s) Tandoori-spiced BBQ Chicken

In this recipe, the tandoori influence comes not from cooking the chicken in a tandoor, a traditional clay oven, but from using tandoori spices.


5 lbs chicken, bone-in, drumsticks and thighs, skin removed
2 tsp tandoori spice blend
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp yoghurt
2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
Vegetable oil, to oil barbecue grill

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except the chicken. Blend together well to create a wet marinade. Then add the chicken and using your hands, coat the chicken well with the marinade.
  2. Cover the bowl and refrigerate  for a minimum of one hour before cooking. For best results, let the chicken marinate overnight for at least eight hours.
  3. Heat your barbeque to about 350F. Make sure your barbeque grills are clean and oiled. Add the chicken to the grill. Flip the chicken every five to seven minutes, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately. Try serving with grilled vegetables like onions and bell peppers.

Tip: You can make the same dish indoors, in the oven. Cook chicken at 400F on a lined baking sheet for about 45 minutes.


Andy’s (Father-in-law’s) Classic Burgers

the menu naveen atwal recipe


1 lb lean or medium ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 large red or white onion, finely sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp green chillies, finely minced (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
Vegetable oil, to oil barbecue grill


Sesame seed buns, toasted if desired
Beefsteak or Roma tomato, thickly sliced
Cheddar cheese
Dill pickles
Butter or Romaine lettuce
White or red onion, thickly sliced
Dijon mustard
Light mayonnaise

  1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except salt and pepper. Integrate ingredients well but don’t over mix.
  2. Divide mix into four equal parts for more plump burgers, or into 5 portions for thinner burgers. Loosely form circular patties, about 1/2 inch thick. With your thumb, create an indentation in the middle. This helps the patty cook evenly and the patty will plump up nicely. Season each side of the patty well with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat your barbeque to about 350F. Make sure your barbeque grills are clean and oiled. Add patties to the grill and cook on each side for about five minutes until the patties brown and slightly charred.
  4. If you don’t have a barbeque, you can easily make these burgers indoors on a stovetop grill or in a saute pan for medium-high heat, using the same instructions above.
  5. If adding cheese, add slices to burger at the last minute before you take off the heat and cover the burger by closing the grill lid or loosely covered with foil paper. This will allow the cheese to steam and melt.
  6. Once cooked, remove the burger from the heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Assemble your burger and enjoy!

the Menu is Jugni Style’s lifestyle column written by Naveen Atwal, bringing you details on what to eat and how to make it. Plus tips on entertaining like a pro – or at least pretending you are!

Story By: Naveen Atwal  |  Photography By: Balraj Grewal