Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cookbook Review: Street Food


I have to start by saying that I was already a fan of Dorling Kindersley before I received a copy of their book, Street Food. We honeymooned in Ireland on one of their travel guides, and ever since I've found their books to the same: gorgeously photographed, concise, and easy to use.

Street Food is stamped from the same mold. Stunning photographs fill the pages...you find yourself hungry after nothing more than a quick browse.

But it's about more than looks. The author, Tom Kime, clearly did his research, sending himself on a whirlwind tour to find the best and tastiest 'street food' in some of the most interesting locals.

Traveling to places like Malta, Hue, Salvador de Bahia, and Marrakesh, he spent hours hitting food stand after food stand, often perplexing the proprietors who watched him as he worked his way down the rows of stalls.

As is our usual custom upon acquiring a new cookbook, both Matt & I went through the pages, affixing colored sticky tabs to the recipes we wanted to try.

Ok. Not every page has a yellow tab sticking to it. But that's simply because neither of us is much of a seafood lover.

But the rest of the book? Wow. Really, the only question was 'what to make first?'.

Not necessarily in the order we made them, here's what we've had so far.


This one got mixed reviews, but only because I found the dressing to be a bit sour. Matt, on the other hand, loved it, eating the entire thing.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula, parsley, mint and toasted pita, with a sumac dressing. I think it was the sumac that turned me off, because otherwise, this simple salad is very much my kind of thing.

Queijo Na Brasa

Who doesn't love food on sticks?

This one couldn't help but be a winner. It's cheese. Slightly melted. On a stick!

The recipe called for Queijo de Coalho, a Brazilian cheese, but suggested Haloumi as a substitute. Worked perfectly. It's dressed with oregano and red pepper flakes. Nice.

Not much else to say. It's cheese!

Hummus Bil Erfeh Lahem

You may not think this looks like much, but then, you'd be wrong.

Ground lamb is cooked till crispy with a little bit of cinnamon, and piled on a dish of hummus. Again, no big, right?

Oh, no...this stuff is good. The smell alone makes you forget about the leftover pizza in the fridge, or the cookies in the cupboard. This is really good. And very easy to make.

Salada Fresca

This is our one disappointment. This lovely salad of avocados and tomatoes was to accompany a crispy bean fritter.

Well, the salad was just fine.

The bean fritter, Acaraje, was a disaster. Black-eyed peas, garlic, ginger and chilis were pureed, pan-fried, then dropped by spoonfuls into hot oil. This was were things went terribly wrong.

Instead of crunchy bean goodness, we had a frying pan full of bean puree. It simply wouldn't hold together.

The few small bits we salvaged were incredibly good. Unfortunately, the sum total of edible fritters came to about a 1/4 cup, maybe.

We liked the idea so much, though, that we tossed around the idea of adding an egg to the mix before frying, in hopes of binding the beans, in some future endeavor.

Chee Pow Kai

Now this? This was both weird and fun.

Chicken, marinated in soy sauce, ginger, five-spice powder, salt and star anise, is carefully enclosed in packets of parchment paper, and the bags are then briefly submerged in hot oil.

It's an almost-grease-less deep-fry.

And what you get?


So, we're 5 for 6, so far. But we're looking forward to testing out many, many more of Street Food's recipes.

Tagged with: + + + Street Food +

12 Thoughts for food:

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Average Jane said...

Wow, that sounds wonderful! I've added it to my wish list. :)

At 12:26 AM, Blogger Brilynn said...

As if I need another cookbook, but I think I NEED this one ;)

At 2:47 AM, Blogger Zarah Maria said...

Sounds like a great book - now I'm even more sad they never sent me a review copy, I guess I'm just to far away... Bo-hoo! I'll just have to buy it then:)

Great photos Stephanie!

At 6:40 AM, Blogger winedeb said...

All looks very interesting. I am liking the cheese on a stick idea. I am starting to see that cheese on quite a few blogs now. I had never tried it till just a few weeks ago and was surprised that it did not melt! More experiments to come!

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Erika said...

Wow- you've made a lot from that book! I'm thrilled to hear the cinnamon lamb is good- that one has been on my radar since I got the book. The zucchini salad is amazing- I'm enamored with most of the mid-east dishes.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Jane...it really is a fantastic book. I know you'll like it!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Brilynn...of course you do!! Just like I needed the two I pre-ordered from Amazon today. NEED, right?

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Zarah!

It is such a good book, really...the recipes hold something for everyone. There were enough meatless entries for me to make an entire meal!

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Winedeb; I think I started using haloumi about three or four years ago...prior to that, I'd not heard of it, either.

But it's such a good cheese. Salty, yes, but if you soak it in water ahead of time, you take care of that.

And it's so fun to grill it!!

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Erika...Matt loved it. We made a version for me using Morningstar Farms 'beef' crumbles, which was just as tasty (no lamb substitutes out there!! for good reason, too). It was delicious, and as I said...the smell? Yum. I loved walking downstairs and getting a whiff of it's cinnamon-y goodness.

Yeah, middle-eastern stuff usually gets us giddy, too.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Lara said...

Thanks for posting this great review with pictures! I love the idea of the almost grease-less deep frying and can't wait to find this book!

At 10:57 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Lara, it was so weird cooking it that way, but very cool, as well.

I know you'll love the book!


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