MasterChef: Street Food of the World
by Genevieve Taylor
Absolute Press, £26
Written by food writer, stylist and caterer Genevieve Taylor, the book also contains contributions by MasterChef champions, including Tim Anderson, owner of Nanban in Brixton; Dhruv Baker, co-owner of Jolly Gardeners in Earlsfield, south London; Simon Wood, executive chef at Oldham Athletic FC; and Ping Coombes, consultant chef at Chi Kitchen in London's Oxford Street.
The recipes vary massively, from burritos to churros, and pakoras to pad Thai, with the chapters celebrating the best of each nation and continent, helpfully segmenting recipes depending on your mood or style.
While I immediately earmarked Wood's black pudding scotch eggs for another day, the lure of the slow-grilled pork ribs with honey, ginger and lemongrass, inspired by Cambodian Khmer BBQ stalls had me salivating. I was keen to compare the sate ayam with the peanut-drizzled chicken sticks I had in Singapore, and the marble- effect, soy-simmered tea eggs from China would be an easy way to jazz up an egg, whatever the dish.
Picking a few simple dishes to try, I was pleasantly surprised by the bessara, a Moroccan split pea soup with cumin, chilli, lemon and garlic oil, quoted as a 'hearty workers' breakfast', which turned out far fiercer than any breakfast I've ever had. And the daigaku imo, a Japanese student dish of sweet potatoes fried with sugar, soy sauce and lime, proved a nice alternative to the usual roasted spuds.
Although meant for the home chef, with most recipes fairly quick and easy to make, some are challenging enough even for the experienced. There's certainly enough here to inspire chefs to explore what the explosion of pop-ups and street food stalls has to offer the professional kitchen. Chefs can use this title for culinary fusion ideas, alternative technique suggestions, flavour inspirations and snack ideas to add a bit of street style to the menu - I certainly will be.
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