Season 1 – Episode 7b: Street Meat

“Street Meat” is the result of my two month quest to try and replicate the Halal food served by streetcarts common in NYC.

When you walk by one of these guys it definitely evokes the senses, which depending on your tastes or sophistication may make you drool or wince. It isn’t subtle food. On 53rd and 6th they have an almost cult like following where you can commonly see people line up a block or more with a two hour wait. Two hours…for street food!

This recipe isn’t really authentic, but at least you know the protein that goes in! Who knows what those carts really use? It could be chicken as stated, or it could be a pigeon or even a cab driver that crossed paths with the chef (hmm, I wonder if they taste like chicken!)

Surprisingly I haven’t been able to locate anything on the web that has gotten better results, but hot damn this is pretty tasty already. If anyone has suggestions, especially on how to craft the “white sauce” let me know. For now, I cheat and use tzaziki (see Episode 7a.)

Ingredients:

Serves 2 hungry people, or 4 normal people

Meat

  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 6 oz tomato juice
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl vinegar
  • 10 shakes tabasco or similar hot sauce. I use Tapatio, which is hotter and richer than Tabasco but not insane. El Yucateco is also good, but MUCH hotter.
  • salt and pepper to taste (I like a teaspoon)

Rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Salad

  • lettuce (romaine or iceberg), diced
  • tomato, diced
  • cucumber, sliced

White Sauce

(see Episode 7a – Tzaziki)
The real stuff isn’t quite the same as tzaziki, but this will need a bit more experimentation to get right.

Directions:

  • Marinate chicken with dry spices and olive oil (overnight is best, but can do it 10 minutes ahead).
  • Sweat onions, and sauté chicken with marinade and ginger.
  • When chicken starts getting some nice color and before the spices burn, add tomato juice & vinegar
  • On medium heat, reduce until all the liquid is gone.
  • Serve with pita or naan.