Malcolm Jolley makes a marinade and sort of writes a recipe…

Among my bad habits is the sin of pride. It often manifests when, after taking some wine, I take pictures of whatever I am making for dinner and post it to my Twitter time line. I did just that the other night and was pleased that my shot (above) and description (“Proud of my new Worcestershire sauce and Garam Masala based bbq marinade for chicken. If nothing else it looks pretty.”) not only did I get a few likes but also a reply… It was my friend, the award winning, bestselling, TV show hosting, cookbook writing, general super star host and expert on hospitality, Laura Calder asking for the recipe. This post is the one I promised her to write up.

Reading Harold McGee cured me of the magical thinking that many have about marinades. Specifically, they don’t do anything except coat meat with flavourings, so you don’t have to make them ahead of time, and I don’t. But, I do like to flavour meat on the barbecue for the sake of taste, but also for visual aesthetic. We do, I think, eat first with our eyes. I like to coat grilled meats with something that will add colour, and my two go to marinade bases are soy to darken, and spice rub to add colour, especially something with turmeric. On the night in question, I had cut up some boneless chicken breasts to skewer them and was looking in my pantry to see what I might flavour them with, debating between East Asian (soy) and South Asian (garam masala curry powder). Then it hit me: why not do both, only instead of soy use Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, which has a base of soy anyway, and its own exotic spice mix to compliment the curry. It worked, the chicken looked and tasted delicious and the Worcestershire provided a bonus twang from Tamarind. A few days later I used the rough formula below on pork back ribs at a family gathering, and got rave reviews.

So, here you go, Laura…


In a good sized bowl mix together:

  • A dash of cooking olive oil, or some neutral oil, as a kind of binder
  • A goodly amount of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, i.e. enough that whatever it’s going to be put on is well covered by Worcestershire Sauce
  • A goodly amount of good quality Garam Masala powder, relative to the criteria above
  • A dash of ground cayenne pepper
  • A double dash of sweet Spanish smoked paprika
  • A triple dash of good quality garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Taste and adjust, then use as one would a marinade on chicken, pork, or whatever you like. I often reserve a small amount in a smaller bowl to brush in the meat as it cooks.