Spread from a street stall

From street food to brunch party, Kate Fraser takes the jour­ney.

The Press - Zest - - Review - – TONY SMITH

Zest’s cover story this week is in­spired by the new wave of street mar­kets de­liv­er­ing their in­ter­na­tional dishes and snack food. Sea­soned trav­ellers know and like them and we’ve bor­rowed three of the best for our 2014 take on the brunch party.

Christchurch chef Tony Smith dis­cov­ered his favourite brunch food in In­dia where the lo­cal ver­sions of pan­cakes – dosa, idli and ut­ta­pan – are clas­sic street food. Cheap and sat­is­fy­ing. Then there’s blini, Rus­sia’s an­swer to canapes, crepes and pan­cakes and chori­pan, South Amer­ica’s take on the hot­dog.

OUT OF IN­DIA

Christchurch chef Tony Smith was open­ing a new ho­tel in Greater Noida near Delhi and needed a spe­cial­ist chef’ to cope with guest ex­pec­ta­tions of south­ern In­dian break­fast spe­cial­i­ties dosa, ut­ta­pan, and idli.

Smith says he will re­mem­ber chef Shijo George for his dosa and his out­stand­ing touch with spice flavours ‘‘for as long as I am any­where near a kitchen’’. Shijo’s dosa-mak­ing was tra­di­tional.

‘‘Bas­mati rice and black lentils, [urad dahl] in a ra­tio of 4-1 are cov­ered in wa­ter and soaked for sev­eral hours. A tea­spoon or two of dried fenu­greek can be added.

‘‘The grains are then drained [soaking wa­ter re­tained] and ground [with stone grind­ing wheels] in an or­bital grind­ing ma­chine known as a wet grinder. Small home ver­sions are avail­able in In­dia and on-line for around NZ$200 although many In­dian homes use blenders for this step. Add enough soaking wa­ter to the mix as it grinds, to pro­duce a smooth, finely tex­tured, pan­cake mix. Place in a large bowl and leave at room tem­per­a­ture (8 hours or longer) to fer­ment. It can be chilled for up to 4-5 days and used as re­quired.

‘‘Good dosa can also be made with [ready ground] rice flour and urad dahl flour, but add a pinch of yeast to get a fer­men­ta­tion go­ing.

‘‘To make, pour a gen­er­ous la­dle of the mix – us­ing a cir­cu­lar mo­tion so it will spread to a thin crepe – on to a pre­heated flat grill. Cook on one side only, and when well coloured use a spat­ula to form a roll. Fill with a pre­pared cooked potato and spice mix [pota­toes cooked with masala or curry pow­der]. Serve, folded into a tri­an­gle.

Dosa, ut­ta­pan and idli are tra­di­tion­ally ac­com­pa­nied with a sam­bar, a spiced tomato, veg­etable and dahl broth, and In­dia’s three popular chut­neys - co­conut, tomato and co­rian­der. Such happy break­fast­ing.

‘‘If you wanted to try be­fore you cook, ask the chefs at your lo­cal In­dian restau­rant if they would be happy to make a dosa masala for you.’’

RUSSKI BLINI

Blini have been one of Rus­sia’s favourite street­foods for cen­turies. Cream in its many forms was – and is – a pre­ferred top­ping with smoked fish, cured meats, pick­led cu­cum­ber, caviar, grated beet­root, even fruity jams added as the fi­nal fil­lip. Street stalls and tiny tea shops and bars serve them warm with creamy cheese drip­ping down your arm. In Western coun­tries they have mor­phed into cock­tail canapes, served in a man­nerly way with smoked sal­mon twists. Hot or cold, how­ever, blini should be slightly spongy, with a del­i­cate, slightly sour taste. 150ml milk 70g buck­wheat flour 70g all pur­pose white flour 1 tea­spoon salt 2 eggs, sep­a­rated 1⁄ sa­chet of dried yeast (I used

2 Edmonds in­stant yeast) 100g sour cream 25g but­ter 1 ta­ble­spoon light oil Top­ping for warm blini: 200g cot­tage cheese 1 ta­ble­sp­pon of finely chopped parsely 1 tea­spoon dried chilli flakes Top­ping for cold blini: 200g sour cream 1 tea­spoon horse­rad­ish cream smoked sal­mon slices. Heat the milk in a small pan un­til almost

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