How to make your own marinade

Meat, poultry, fish and vegetables all take on a more appealing taste, texture and appearance once marinated. Here are some quick marinating tips and some deliciously simple marinade recipes for any occasion.

• The marinating time depends on the type and the amount of food being marinated. If your marinade is wet, allow a minimum of half an hour and a maximum of three hours for cubed meat, chops, or chicken pieces. Allow eight hours or longer for whole chickens or roasts. Dry marinades, such as spice rubs, should be applied one hour before cooking. Marinate in the refrigerator if the marinating time is longer than an hour.

• Fish should be marinated for no more than 30 minutes as the acid in the marinade will begin to cook fish if left for a longer time. However, some meat, for example, venison, will benefit from being left overnight, or even up to 48 hours, in a marinade to tenderise the meat and add flavour.

• Frequent basting or turning of the marinating food will ensure equal distribution of flavour.

• Sweetened marinades brown quickly and need careful watching to prevent them from burning. Cook food slowly if the marinade contains sugar, chutney, jam, honey or tomato paste.

Lemon marinade
Perfect for fish/seafood and vegetables – makes 300ml
• Juice of 4 lemons • Grated rind of 2 lemons • 120ml sunflower oil • 4 large spring onions, finely chopped • 1 bay leaf • 3 sprigs fresh parsley • 3 sprigs fresh dill • Salt and black pepper

Mix the lemon juice and oil together, adding the spring onions and bay leaf. Crush the parsley and dill slightly and add to the lemon juice mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Yoghurt and herb marinade

Excellent for chicken – makes 200ml
• 175ml natural • 10ml lemon juice • 1 clove of garlic, finely crushed • 5ml dried mixed herbs • 30ml fresh parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Pat the chicken pieces dry and add to the marinade, ensure it is well coated. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, turning the chicken occasionally. Drain chicken before cooking, reserving the marinade for basting.

Barbecue marinade

Especially good with chicken wings/chicken pieces, spareribs and chops – makes 400ml
• 90ml soy sauce • 120ml olive oil or sunflower oil • 3ml cayenne pepper or a dash of Tabasco sauce
• 45ml honey • 5ml ground ginger • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced • 20ml Worcestershire sauce • 90ml dry sherry (optional) • Black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and toss the chicken or meat in the marinade to coat thoroughly.

Herb and wine

Ideal for lamb chops and kebabs – makes 400ml
• 60ml white or red wine vinegar • Juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon • 1 clove garlic, finely crushed • 15ml fresh parsley, finely chopped • 200ml olive oil

Combine all ingredients together and use as a marinade and a basting sauce.


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