Tuesday 3 July 2012


From The World’s Best Street Food: where to find it & how to make it, Lonely Planet, 2012.

With cookbooks doing so well in the publishing area it would seem that others are looking to cash in on this market. Lonely Planet, well known for its travel publishing, has entered the food arena. We recently picked up The World’s Best Street Food, an interesting entry into the already overloaded cookery field.

While there are recipes for all of the street foods so that you can try them out without travelling, the book does contain information on the background to the particular foods and where are the best places to try them out in situ.

No-one is credited for the recipes themselves, nor is there any suggestion that they have been tested, so you have to try them basically on trust that they will work.

Though it is not a vegetarian cookbook the recipes that are vegetarian are clearly marked with what looks like a green carrot, and there is a reasonable number of such dishes.

There were two different chutneys to make before beginning to assemble the bhelpuri: tamarind chutney and mint chutney.

The tamarind chutney was made by firstly soaking some dried tamarind in a little warm water, then pressing it through a sieve to make a puree. This went into a saucepan with about half a cup of dates, half a cup of jaggery, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes and a large pinch of salt. The mixture was boiled for about 10 minutes. This was then added to a blender to churn into a puree and it was done. This was an amazingly good chutney which I expect will be made to accompany other Indian meals in the future. As it was, the remainder was soon eaten up with bread and cheese.

The mint chutney was not such a success for me. It was like a thin pesto made by placing coriander leaves, mint leaves, chopped green chillies, lime juice, salt and a little water in the blender to turn into a watery paste—or mine was. It had flavour but somehow did not work totally.

With the chutneys made it was time to put the bhelpuri together. In a bowl I placed ½ cup of boiled potato cut into dice, one medium-sized tomato chopped, ½ red onion chopped, 3 chopped green chillies, about 2 tablespoons each of both chutneys, 1 tablespoon garam marsala, one cup each of sev and puffed rice. These were all carefully mixed together with a little seasoning of salt. The salad was finally topped with chopped coriander. I left out the grated ginger because I do feel it can be an overpowering element.

This salad—if salad it is—was bursting with spicy flavours, crunch and pop. It obviously had to be eaten immediately the sev and puffed rice were added as if it were left too long the crunch would dissipate. It left me totally satisfied and with a mouth fully warmed.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

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