I’ve spent a fair time lately mooching on YouTube, and there is a plethora of cooking channels to watch. Some are slick with high production values whereas others look like they’ve been cobbled together using an old Super 8 camera. Either way, it’s interesting viewing.
I was particularly drawn to the street food sites in my search for a summertime feast. It is truly amazing to watch people who, by any Western standard, would be considered on the poverty line, creating the most spectacular meals to make a living on equipment you and I would turf out.
And I have no doubt they would work for as long as they could and leave only enough time to get home, prep, catch a wink of sleep, before marching back to do it all over again.
When I am home, I frequent an area of Melbourne which has a large Vietnamese population. I love noodle soups and just have to get a regular fix. I keep thinking that if I eat noodle soup regularly, I will end up as slim as the waiter who serves me. Or the bloke chopping up my roast pork belly. Or the chef out the back tossing noodles in a wok. Alas, my strategy has failed thus far.
Anyway, all of the restaurants open around 11am and close when they close. And they do it seven days a week. And whatever time of the day or night I go, I see the exact same faces, in exactly the same roles, wearing the exact same smile. These people work very hard and rarely take a day off. But, unlike street vendors abroad, they probably go home to an air-conditioned house in the suburbs, enjoying the trappings Western society almost insists we have. Vendors in third-world countries, where street food is an industry, are unlikely to enjoy such happy endings following their daily toil.
So, as I satisfy my hankering for curry, I am ever more staggered by the array of feasts with varying degrees of heat emerging from the streets of India. Now is the time to wrap your chompers around one of these beauties.
CURRIED LAMB CHOPS
- 8 lamb chops with bones
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup orange juice
- 4 tbsp teriyaki sauce
- 2 tbsp grated orange zest
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tsp corn flour
- 2 tbsp cold water
In a medium skillet, warm the oil, brown the lamb chops on all sides and drain excess fat.
Combine the orange juice, teriyaki sauce, orange peel, curry and garlic then pour over the lamb.
Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat is tender.
Remove the chops and keep warm while preparing the sauce.
Combine the corn flour and water until smooth; stir into the pan drippings.
Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Serve the chops on top of cooked rice or couscous and pour on the gravy.
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
- 750g diced chicken
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno chilli, minced
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 410g can tomato sauce
- 1 cup thickened cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
Add the chicken and marinade together in a zip-lock bag and marinate for an hour or so in the refrigerator.
For the sauce, melt butter on a medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli, cook for one minute.
Stir in coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala and salt, stir in tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the cream, simmer to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Grill or fry the chicken, turning occasionally, to cook through in about eight minutes.
Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and simmer for five minutes.
Garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice, naan or pita bread.
BEEF AND CHICKPEA CURRY
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 800g lean, ground beef
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1 1/4 cups tomato juice
- 410g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2-1 tsp sambal oelek or chilli paste
- Chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup light plain yogurt
Heat cooking oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add ground beef, green pepper and onion. Stir fry for about 10 minutes until beef is no longer pink. Drain.
Add garlic. Heat and stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add flour and curry powder. Heat and stir for one minute. Slowly add broth, stirring constantly. Add tomato juice and chickpeas. Stir until boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Add next four ingredients. Stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are heated through. Remove from heat.
Add parsley and yogurt and stir well. Serve with naan bread to soak up the delightful juices.
The full feature appeared in Camper Trailer Australia #87 April 2015.