A version of this article appeared in the Sep-Oct 2014 issue of IMAGE Interiors & Living
I love eating in the street all over the world, and my favourite dishes are a mix of South East Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern dishes. Street food is a world of sweet marinades, tangy pastes, powders of dazzling colours and wonderfully textured greens, where the pestle and mortar are your best friends, and your chopping skills must be top notch.
Different from European cooking in many ways, it involves a lot of prepping, chopping (lengthways and at a slant, mostly), very little actual cooking and a lot of styling at the end. The culinary concept is uniquely appealing because it is more social than other gastronomic experiences – you can cook street food with your family and friends easily, as there are jobs for everyone.
The best way to try this at home is in the summer, or whenever the weather is good enough to have the barbecue on. The secret to the elaborate street food dishes if to prepare your ingredients in advance and organise them during cooking (there can be many in street food). Having a prepping table outside is ideal as this kind of food involves a good mix of hands-on chopping, some stir-frying, and constantly laying and turning food on the grill while you might be sipping lemonade and making cocktail for your guests.
A good starter menu for the streetfood novice would be some easy-to-make classics that also look very, very pretty on a plate: Vietnamese banh xeo pancakes, chicken kebabs with mint chutney, baba ghanoush and butterbean hummus with pitta breads. This is a simple menu, made up of light and fragrant dishes, most of which you can enjoy eating with your fingers. If you love condiments and spices, it can be a pretty magical experience: the baba ghanoush can be served with pomegranate seeds, and mint chutney goes with any light, summer eats.
For the best exotic cookery courses in Dublin, try: Dublin Cookery School (Middle Eastern, South Asian) | Cooks Academy (Spanish, Japanese) | Ballyknocken Cookery School (Southern Italian) | Montys of Kathmandu(Nepalese) | Andrew Rudd Cookery Classes (Thai, Mexican) | The Irish Cookery School (Indian).
See what a backyard streetfood party can look like here.