Spread from a street stall
From street food to brunch party, Kate Fraser takes the journey.
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.’’
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