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  • Lavanya Nair

5 International Street Foods, You Can Recreate at Home!

No one can deny their attraction towards the irresistible fragrances and tastes that street food has to offer. In any part of the world, be it a loaded taco, bursting with succulent 'carne' topped with freshly prepared guacamole and salsa verde, or fiery hot ttoek-bokki (Korean rice cakes) that make the perfect component to a frosty, nippy day. Nevertheless, as our generation is now moving towards adopting healthier options that include home-cooking, so as to be fully aware of what is going into one's meal, it would only make sense to provide self-made alternatives that are equally delicious!



1. NYC Style Cart-Style Chicken & Rice:




If you've ever been in and around Manhattan, then you may have stumbled upon this particular delicacy that usually attracts a line of hungry customers, extending a mile away. These generous portions include a heaping of spiced rice mixed with kebab-style meat along with a zingy garlic sauce and harissa-style hot sauce for those, craving some kick.


Ingredients: Serves 4

Marinade

-750g/1kg Boneless Chicken Thighs/Breasts

-3 tbsp Lemon

-3tsp Coriander Powder

-2tsp Paprika

-2 tsp Sumac powder

-1 cup Olive oil

-3 cloves of Fresh Garlic

-Pinch of Oregano

-Salt

-Pepper


Rice

-2 Cups Basmati Rice

-3tsp Turmeric Powder

-1tsp Cumin Powder

-1tbsp Olive Oil/Butter (For special occasions)

-Pinch of Salt to taste


Sauce

-2 cups Low Fat Yoghurt

-2 cups Low Fat Mayo

-1tbsp Freshly chopped Parsley

-1 clove Finely chopped garlic

-1tbsp Lemon

-Pinch of Salt to taste

-Pepper


First wash the chicken and cut into bitesize pieces and set aside while you work on the marinade. If possible add ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Mix well with the chicken pieces and cover with cling-film or a lid. You may leave it in the fridge overnight if you wish but if you want expediency, 15-30 minutes will do the trick.


Next place a shallow frying pan on the stove and heat up. Drizzle in some olive oil and add the chicken pieces. Fry until golden brown on medium/high heat and place the chicken on a kitchen towel to drain any excess oil.


Afterwards, wash your rice to get rid of starch and set aside. Take a saucepan and place on the stove. Add in the oil/butter and sprinkle in the spices. Stir for at least 30 seconds to cook them and mix in the rice. Ensure that every grain is coated in the yellow spice mixture and then pour in 4 cups of water. (2 cups of boiling water & 2 cups of cold water)


Bring to a boil and lower the heat, then place a lid on top. Leave to cook for at least 7 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and the water has evaporated. Add in the chicken chunks and mix to incorporate.


For the sauce, add equal parts of the yoghurt and mayo along with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Drop the chopped garlic and parsley in the bowl along with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper to taste.


*For those wanting a spicy kick, you may add your favourite type of hot sauce.


2. Jamaican Jerk Chicken:


Naotake Murayama| Jerk Chicken

This beloved, Caribbean dish is known for incorporating a blend of a myriad of ingredients; some of which are tough to get a hold of. Instead, try using a ready-made spice pack such as 'Barts' or 'Spicentis' and you'll be good to go!


Ingredients: Serves 4


Marinade

- 4 Chicken quarters/legs/thighs

- 6tbsp Jamaican Spice blend

- 3tsp Sumac Powder

- Pinch of Pepper

- Pinch of Salt

- 1 Lime

- 1 cup Olive Oil


Rice:

- 3 Cups brown rice

- 2 tins of Kidney beans

- 1 Lime

-Pepper

-Salt

-2 Cloves of Garlic


Prepare the chicken by rinsing it and then trimming off any excess skin or fat. Next pat dry with a kitchen towel, prick multiple times with a fork and then sprinkle salt on each side of the chicken pieces.


Next prepare the marinade by mixing the ingredients in a jug and whisk until blended. Then rub into the chicken and set aside for at least an hour. In the mean time wash the rice and place on the stove on high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 20-25 mins. The rice should be fluffy in appearance. Drain any excess water and set aside.


Turn on the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/374 degrees Fahrenheit and preheat for at least 10 mins. Place the chicken in the oven and it should cook for 30 minutes.


For the rice, drain the tins of kidney beans and rinse under cold water. Next chop up the garlic while a saucepan is on the stove (medium-high heat). Drizzle in some olive oil and then add the garlic. Cook for a few seconds only as garlic tends to burn quickly and pour in the kidney beans. Stir well and then add the cooked rice and turn the heat down to low. Add in the lime juice, salt and pepper and give the rice a final mix.


Take the cooked chicken out of the oven and assemble the plates with equal servings of the rice.


* You may use any type of garlic sauce or hot sauce if you wish


3. Middle Eastern Falafels:



This Middle Eastern treat proves to be popular with many vegetarians and vegans since its chickpea base provides protein in abundance as well as an earthy, grainy texture. By following these simple steps, you can re-create these amazing snacks and even take it up a notch and serve with some wholegrain couscous!


Ingredients:


-0.3 kg dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans (make sure they are dry not canned)

- 1 small onion, roughly chopped

-10 g chopped fresh parsley

-2 cloves garlic

-1 tbsp chickpea flour

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp cumin

-1/2 tsp ground coriander

- Pinch of black pepper

- Pinch of cayenne pepper/Paprika

- Pinch of ground cardamom

- Vegetable oil


Soak the chickpeas in water overnight, or for at least 4-5 hours so that they will soften and double in size. Drain and rinse, then place into a food processor.


Next add the ingredients listed above and pulse until the mixture is nicely blended. You may want some texture so it's fine if there are some particles of chickpea that have not been fully blended. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling-film and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.


Afterwards, heat up a frying pan with some vegetable oil and start to scoop up the mixture with a spoon or ice-cream scoop to form little balls. Slowly drop in the falafels into the pan and fry for around 5-6 mins or until golden brown.


Drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel and leave to rest for 10 mins. Serve up with some hummus or tahini sauce.


*Green Falafel Variation: Add a cup of cilantro/coriander with a few sprigs of parsley into the blender

*Turmeric Falafel Variation: Spoon 2tsp of turmeric powder into the blender


4. American Turkey Burgers:


George Grinsted|Flickr

Here's a personal recipe that was inspired by a beef burger I tried from a truck in New York city, years ago. It serves as the perfect alternative to red meat as Turkey has a lower fat content. Topped with some crunchy red onions, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, you've got yourself a mouth-watering burger fit for a king!


Ingredients: Serves 4

-500g of Turkey Mince (preferably 2% fat)

-3 sprigs of finely chopped Parsley

-1 egg

-1tbsp BBQ sauce

-1tsp Yellow English Mustard/May use Dijon

-2 cloves of finely chopped/crushed garlic

-Pinch of Salt

-Pinch of Pepper

-Burger buns


Place the mince along all of the ingredients, listed above in a bowl and mix together, either with a fork or with your hands. Shape into medium size patties and place on a plate.


Cover with cling-film and then refrigerate for an hour. During that time, assemble the toppings for the burgers. Tear off some lettuce leaves, slice some red onions and pickles if you want an extra kick. Cut the burger buns in half and toast them up if you wish.


Heat up a BBQ grill or a regular frying pan with some vegetable oil and place in the patties. Leave them alone for around 2-3 mins on high and flip with a spatula. DON'T press down on them! This will dry out the burgers.


When the burgers are cooked all the way, add some grated cheese of your choice on top and leave to melt. Next assemble your burgers! Feel free to add the sauces of your choice. I personally love to add ketchup and mustard.


* Serve with fries, salad or eat it by itself


5. Mexican Carne Burritos:



Mexican street food never disappoints, although it seems to be quite sparse in the United Kingdom. Luckily you don't have to travel to the USA or Mexico to experience this spicy and hearty treat. I prefer to make Chile con carne with this particular variation so below is the recipe.


Ingredients: Serves 4

-750g of Beef Mince

-1 small onion, chopped

-pinch of cumin

-pinch of chilly powder/paprika

-1tsp tomato paste

-1 tin of tomatoes

-pinch of salt & pepper

-beef stock

-glass of boiled water

-1tbsp red wine (optional)

-1 tin of kidney beans

-4 tortillas

-Sour cream


Guacamole:

-2 avocados

-1 jalapeno

-red onion

-1 finely chopped tomato

-1 lime

-A few sprigs of chopped coriander

-Salt to taste


Salsa:

-3 large chopped tomatoes

-1 chopped red onion

-1 chopped jalapeno

-A few sprigs of chopped coriander

-Lime

-Salt to taste


To make the chile con carne, first sauce the chopped onions in a saucepan in some olive oil and add the mince. Fry on medium-high heat until brown and then add some salt.


Add in the tinned tomatoes and tomato paste along with the cumin and chilly powder. Mix well and crush a cube of beef stock into a glass of boiled water. Stir and add to the beef mixture. Pour in some red wine if you wish and add the kidney beans. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 mins.


For the guacamole, place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until you reach the consistency you desire. Do the same with the salsa and set aside for 15 mins. Alternatively, you can crush the ingredients with a pestle and mortar for more texture.


Warm up the tortillas and then assemble the burritos! Spoon in the chile con carne and top with the guacamole, salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle over some coriander and jalapeños. Wrap the tortilla to ensure that none of the filling leaks out and you may even cover the burrito with foil to keep it warm.


That was my list of 5 street-foods you can easily recreate at home! Hope you love them as much as I do.


Lavanya Nair

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