Street Food Recipes

You don’t have to fly halfway around the world to taste all the dishes featured in “The Eight Best Cities for Street Food” (Utne Reader May-June 2009) Here are do-it-yourself recipes for adventurous cooks:

Harira (Morocco)

Makes about 12 cups.


–1 whole chicken breast, halved

–4 cups chicken broth

–4 cups water

–a 28-to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and puréed coarse

–1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

–2 medium onions, chopped fine

–2 cups cooked dried chick-peas (recipe follows), or a 19-ounce can, rinsed

–1/2 cup raw long-grain rice

–1/2 cup lentils

–3/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

–3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

–dried chick-peas, picked over water


In a heavy kettle (at least 5 quarts) simmer chicken in broth and water 17 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through, and transfer chicken with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Add to kettle tomatoes, saffron, onions, chickpeas, rice, and lentils and simmer, covered, 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Shred chicken, discarding skin and bones, and stir into soup with salt and pepper to taste. Soup may be prepared 4 days ahead (cool uncovered before chilling covered).

In a bowl soak chickpeas in water to cover by 2 inches overnight or quick-soak (procedure follows) and drain.

To cook dried chickpeas:
In a saucepan combine drained chick-peas and water to cover by 2 inches and simmer, covered partially, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Drain chick-peas.

To make 2 cups cooked chick-peas begin with a scant cup dried.

Just before serving, stir in coriander and parsley.

To quick-soak dried beans
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less but requires additional unattended time.

In a large saucepan combine dried beans, picked over and rinsed, with triple their volume of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook beans, uncovered, over moderate heat 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let beans soak 1 hour.

Boiled Octopus (Sicily)

Makes 4-8 servings


–An octopus weighing about 2 1/4 pounds

–A medium sized bunch of parsley, finely chopped

–2 cloves garlic

–The juice of a lemon

–Extra virgin olive oil

–Salt and pepper to taste



Clean the octopus and rinse it well under running water. Put it in a pot with abundant cold water to cover, and set it on a burner. Figure about 25 minutes per pound, so here you will need to simmer your octopus for an hour; to check for doneness stick the base of a tentacle with a skewer or toothpick. If it penetrates easily the octopus is done. Turn off the heat and let it cool some in the water it boiled in.

While the octopus is boiling, wash and pat dry the parsley, peel the garlic cloves, and mince the parsley with the garlic.

Drain the octopus, cut it onto bite-sized pieces, and arrange them on a serving dish. Sprinkle the minced herbs over the octopus, followed by the lemon juice, and then a drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, stick the pieces with toothpicks, and serve either warm or cool.

Elote (Mexico)

Makes 4 servings


–4 ears corn, shucked

–1/4 cup melted butter

–1/4 cup mayonnaise

–1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

–4 wedges lime


Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill. Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and serve with a lime wedge.

Sigara Borek (Turkey)

Meat filling ingredients:
–2 tablespoons olive oil
–1 lb. lean ground beef
–1 onion, chopped
–2 garlic cloves, minced
–4 tablespoons pine nuts
–2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
–3 teaspoons dried oregano
–1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
–Salt and pepper to taste

Wrapping ingredients:
–1 egg
–1/2 cup olive oil
–2 tablespoons milk
–1 lb phyllo sheets (about 18)
–2 tablespoons sesame seeds


Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften, then add minced garlic and pine nuts. Saute for an additional 1-2 minutes or until pine nuts begin to turn golden.

Add ground beef to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add cinnamon, oregano and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil and milk. This mix will be slightly thick and will be used to moisten the phyllo dough.

Take a sheet of phyllo dough and lay it out on a flat surface with the longest side facing you. Keep the remaining phyllo covered with a moist towel until ready to use. Lightly brush the left half of the phyllo with the egg mixture. Gently lift the right side of the phyllo and fold it over the left side. The phyllo dough will now be half the size of when you started and you will now have the shortest side facing you.

Brush the top of the phyllo with the egg mixture. Take 1/4 cup of the beef mixture (make sure it has cooled) and place it 2 inches in from the nearest edge of the phyllo and leave 2 inches of spaces on either side of the meat. Fold in each of the long sides by 2 inches. Beginning at the edge closest to you, fold the narrow end over the meat mixture. Continue rolling the dough away from you as you form a cigarette-shaped roll. When you near the end, brush the final 2 inches with the egg mixture. Fold the roll over this final bit of dough to seal it. Place seam side down on a baking sheet.

Before baking, brush the tops and sides of each roll with more of the egg mixture. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Feta cheese, potatoes or other vegetables can be substituted for minced meat.

Currywurst (Germany)

Makes 4 servings

–1 lb. kielbasa sausage

Sauce ingredients:

–2 tsp. canola oil

–1 finely chopped large yellow onion

–2 tbsp. curry powder

–1 tbsp. hot paprika

–2 cups whole peeled canned tomatoes

–1?2 cup sugar

–1?4 cup red wine vinegar


Heat canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add curry powder and paprika; cook for 1 minute more. Using hands, crush tomatoes (with juice) into pan. Add sugar, red wine vinegar, and salt to taste; stir well. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, broil or grill kielbasa sausage for 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Slice into pieces 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.

When sauce is thickened, purée it in a blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve. Serve hot over sausage. Makes about 1 1?2 cups.

Tteokbokki (Korea)


–8 oz. ddeok bok ee ddeok (tube-shaped rice cakes)

–1-2 sheets fish cake, cut into bite size

–1/2 onion, roughly chopped

–1/4 cabbage, roughly chopped

–1/4 carrot, sliced

–1 green onion, chopped

–2 tbsp go choo jang (Korean chili paste)

–1 tbsp go choo ga roo (Korean chili powder)

–1 teaspoon minced garlic

–2 tsp. sugar

–1 tsp soy sauce


–Sesame seeds


Put rice cakes in a pot, add water to cover, boil until soft. Add go choo jang, go choo ga roo, sugar, soy sauce, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until the sauce gets a little thick. Add vegetables, cook for 2-3 minutes. Put fish cake in, simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Finish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve hot.

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