The Matchmakers: Pairing Food With Radlers

October 11, 2023, by Nic Sandery

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The Matchmakers: Pairing Food With Radlers

The Matchmakers is a new series created with Molly Rose Brewing that celebrates the art of beer and food pairing. Each month, we'll feature a new combination, exploring different styles and seasonality, with recipes designed to be simple enough for anyone to attempt at home.

Beer and food pairing is something the Molly Rose team knows plenty about as they're on a mission to elevate it to levels unseen in the Aussie beer world outside one-off special events, not least with the Chef's Table offering at their Collingwood venue.

Here, brewery founder and head brewer Nic Sandery and head chef Ittichai Ngamtrairai conjure up a pairing with summer in mind. You can read more about the concept for The Matchmakers in the launch article.


Radler With Nut-Free, Vegan Satay Skewers

 

As we charge towards the warmer months and people around the country start brushing off their BBQs and eskies, ensuring they’re prepared and seasoned for summer, we figured the second pairing in The Matchmakers series should be suited to such occasions. So we’ve fashioned one featuring a beer made to be enjoyed straight from the can off ice and a bloody impressive recipe that works on any grill. 

The beer chosen this time is the under-represented, oft misunderstood and underutilised radler.

“What’s a radler?” you may well ask, and I’m glad you did.

Radlers are a German version of the English shandy whereby traditionally a pale lager is cut back / mixed with some kind of non-alcoholic juice or soda. In the UK, this is most commonly presented as a roughly half-and-half blend of lager and lemonade; in Germany, they often get more creative. 

History has recorded the radler as being invented by a gentleman named Franz (very German) when he was faced with a problem: he was surprised by a visit from a large and thirsty group of cyclists at a time when his beer inventory was low. The solution: stretching his supplies of the golden nectar with some juice. 

The cyclists loved it. Franz loved it. The rest is history! 

MaMaMo, the radler starring in this month's pairing, was a collaboration between local cycling apparel brand MAAP (Ma), hospitable Fitzroy tavern The Marquis of Lorne (Ma), and Molly Rose (Mo). Putting our own spin on traditional, we made a lemon ice tea version and we couldn’t be more happy with the result! It’s lemony, zesty, bright with a wonderful tannic tea finish from the assam tea we used. The perfect 2.9 percent ABV arvo BBQ beer, which Will Ziebell wrote about elsewhere on this site.

Inclusivity is big for us here at Molly Rose: in our kitchen, chef Ittichai is a huge proponent of making food that is not just delicious but which everyone can eat. As such, the food pairing is a nut-free, vegan satay sauce you can paste on to literally anything you can pop onto a stick and grill. 

So, why did we pair satay-grilled things with a lemon ice tea radler? Well, the satay sauce is rich, creamy and aromatic, the grill provides caramelisation and smoke, and if you use beef or mushrooms or almost anything else you can skewer – tomatoes, tofu, fish, prawns, grasshoppers – you will have a savoury interior.

At its core, MaMaMo is a refreshing lager, which provides the cleansing element of the pairing, the lemon zest and juice addition cut through the rich, creamy sauce leaving you wanting another bite, and the tea – a bulky, rich and punchy Assam variety – complements the mushy/beef while also enhancing any of that grilled caramelisation flavour. It’s a match made in heaven, almost like we planned it that way…

As for variations on a theme, if you want to create your own radlers at home, we’ve played with everything from vibrant mandarin juice to spicy jalapeño and lime juice in the past. 

If you stick in more traditional citrus-enhanced lager territory, as I like to do, then you could switch up the skewers for all manner of summery delights: fish and chips at the beach with a radler is spot on; a custard-filled cruffin or doughnut can make for a decadent little pairing too. Also, because salad doesn’t get much pairing love, I reckon the classic Caesar salad would be an amazing dish to partner with a radler – maybe even as a side for your skewers.


The Recipe

Makes 1.2 Litres of Satay / 4 Skewers /// Prep Time: 15 mins /// Cooling Time: 30 mins ///Cooking time: 20 mins
(Plus 60 mins marinating) 

Vietnamese Satay

Satay Ingredients

  • 100g Lemongrass roughly chopped
  • 50g Galangal roughly chopped
  • 50g Garlic roughly chopped
  • 75g Shallots roughly chopped
  • 7g Fennel seed 
  • 5g Coriander seed 
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon 
  • 40g Dried Chilli*
  • 2.5g Chilli Flake 
  • 50g Fermented Chilli
  • 50g Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
  • 350mL  Shallot Oil or Canola Oil 
  • 100g Soybean Paste 
  • 150g Brown Sugar 
  • 60g Tamarind Puree
  • 350g Water 

Satay Method Ingredients

  • 350g Ice 
  • Salt for seasoning

Skewer Ingredients

  • 250g Beef Intercostal 
  • 50g Yoghurt (Optional)
  • 4 Skewers**
  • Salt & White Pepper for seasoning

Notes: 

*Dried chilli is best if you bloom it, which means to heat in oil.

**If using wood skewers, soak them in water first.


Method

 

Satay Method

1. Combine all the satay ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it becomes a paste. 

2. Place paste in the fridge to completely cool down.

3. Once paste is cold, place the paste and the ice in a Thermomix (or similar) and blitz until smooth.

4. Check the seasoning and add salt to your liking.

Skewer Method

1. Clean beef, trim silver skin out from the beef, then dice in 2cm diameter cubes.

2. Marinate the beef with enough satay sauce to coat; leave to marinate for an hour in the fridge. 

3. Fire up your coals or BBQ grill.

4. Build the skewers by skewering the beef evenly across the four of them.

5. Season the beef to your liking and place straight on the grill.

6. Cook and flip skewers every 30 seconds; every time you flip them, brush with satay sauce.

7. Cook until your desired level. Chef Ittichai recommends medium, or internal 53 to 56 degrees.

8. Let skewers rest for one minute then enjoy with yoghurt or a little bit of lemon juice.


If you're a fan of beer and food pairing, Molly Rose are hosting their first Smile, Enjoy! Festival on November 12. It features beers from six great local brewers from SA, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria paired with a range of dishes. You can read all about it here and buy tickets here.
There's also an intimate Masterclass Chef's Table Lunch taking place the day before, hosted by Nic and The Crafty Pint's founder, James Smith. Tickets for this multi-course feast for the senses can be snapped up here.

All articles in The Matchmakers series will appear here.

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