Street Food around the World: An Encylopaedia of Food and Culture, ed. Bruce Kraig and Colleen Taylor Sen.
(ABC Clio, 2013; http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?isbn=9781598849547). Retail price: $100. Available on Walmart.com for $60.
An estimated 250 million people eat street food every day, and for many, street food is their main source of nutrition. Once associated mainly with developing countries, street food is making inroads into the developed world, especially in North America with the advent of food trucks in major cities. Not to be outdone, top chefs have opened restaurants specializing in street food, and items such as hot dogs, bhelpuri, and tacos have been reincarnated as gourmet items on the menus of upscale restaurants. Television programs, even entire series, are devoted to exploring the culinary delights of the street. Street food is one of the centerpieces of culinary tourism for people in pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.
This encyclopedia is the first book of its scope devoted to this important, endlessly fascinating culinary realm. It surveys the popular street foods of around 100 countries and regions of the world, showing how these ‘fast foods of the common people’ fit into the economy, history, and environment. It covers not only such street food superstars as India, China, Thailand, and Mexico but countries where street food plays a less important role, such as those in northern Europe. Our reasoning was that travelers to these countries might also be search of a street food experience, which may be somewhat harder to find.
Contributors include some of the world’s leading food historians, academics, and journalists who are specialists in their countries. A chapter of recipes lets you taste international dishes at home.
2-3 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying 1 medium white onion, cut into thin rings 2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained (or the same amount of freshly boiled chick peas) 1 red bird chili, finely chopped (or substitute chili powder to taste) 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 teaspoon ground coriander salt to taste, if needed
1. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet. 2. Fry the onions until lightly browned. 3. Add the drained chick peas and stir-fry briefly. 4. Add the chili and spices and continue to stir-fry for a minute or two. 5. Taste for salt and add some if needed. Canned chick peas are usually salty enough. 6. Serve warm or at room temperature as a snack, with optional readymade West Indian pepper sauce if you like your food very spicy. (Mexican habanero sauce is also good.)
CHAPLI KEBAB (Afghanistan) (Makes 12) From Helen Saberi
1 pound finely chopped lamb or beef 12 ounces green onions, finely chopped 4 ounces white flour ½ sweet bell pepper (green or red), de-seeded and finely chopped 4 hot green chilies, de-seeded and finely chopped (use less if a milder version is preferred) 3-4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped 2 teaspoons ground cilantro seed Salt to taste ½ cup vegetable oil for frying ¼ cup extra fresh cilantro for garnishing 12 lemon wedges
1.Place the meat, scallions, flour, both kinds of pepper, fresh and ground cilantro and salt to taste in a bowl and mix and knead thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and sticky. Shape the mixture into around 12 flat oblongs about 6” by 4” and ¼” thick.
2.Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying-pan to fry the kebabs (which should be almost covered by the oil), and fry over a medium to high heat until they are brown on both sides and cooked through (about 10 minutes).
Serve with a tomato and onion salad and chapati or naan. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges.
Gujarati Sweets Warm up the Winter
Monday, 21 November 2011 00:00
In winter, Gujaratis prepare certain sweets considered to have healthful heating properties. One is gundar pak (the light brown spheres in the photograph) which is made from wheat flour, sugar, ghee, ginger, ganthoda (valerian), and gundar (an edible gum made from the resin of the axle tree). Another is salam pak (the dark squares) which contains over 30 ingredients, including cloves, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, pistachios, Indian ginseng, and a whole host of ayurvedic herbs. It has a wonderfully complex, piquant flavor. In Chicago, you can find these and other Gujarati specialties at Sukhadia’s Sweets on Devon Avenue. Owner Jayant Sukhadia comes from a family who has been in the sweetmaking business in India for 130 years. In May, the culinary Historians of Chicago held a program at the store that was broadcast on WBEZ. http://www.wbez.org/story/learn-all-about-indian-sweets-and-snacks-86862
Chicago’s Kerala Community Celebrates Onam with a Delicious Feast
Monday, 05 September 2011 00:00
On Saturday we enjoyed a wonderful Onam feast at a reception organized by the Illinois Malayali Association. (People from Kerala are called Malayali or Keralites). It was held at a local high school and prepared by Malabar Catering.
Onam is the national festival of Kerala, a state in southwest India, that is celebrated by all communities in this religiously diverse state. Originally a harvest festival, it honors the memory of an ancient king Mahabali whose rule was a golden age and is believed to return to Kerala every year at this time for one day.
All summer I watched the vine with its delicate leaves and lovely little yellow flowers grow up the iron banister of my stairs at the rate of several inches a day. planted the seeds in June but had given up hope of any harvest. Then, this morning, I saw them, two little pale green ribbed cucumbers with warts: baby bitter melons. This weird-looking vegetable — called karela in Hindi and Bengali, fuk wa in Cantonese, ampalaya in the Philippines, nigai uri in Japanese, and bitter melon, bitter gourd, or balsam pear in English — is highly valued in many Asian cuisines for its interesting flavor, appetite-stimulating properties, and health benefits.