Traditionally and most reverently served in a styrofoam container by your local kebab shop, the HSP (halal snack pack) is a complex flavour sensation widely accepted by Australians to be one of the best take away options in existence.
Now the subject of news articles, PhDs and countless appreciation societies, the humble HSP is not just a late night stomach liner, but a dish with untold rules and serious faux-pas’ – tomato ketchup is strictly haram – espoused by the many, many HSP devotees.
Its genius fusion of European and Middle Eastern flavours make it a true blue dish worthy of a place in takeaway idolatry alongside the meat pie or fish and chips. With such famed acclaim, however, comes a price tag and while not an expensive meal per se, the $15 it will cost you to buy one from your local vendor easily buys you a whole chicken and a couple of potatoes.
This homemade version will allow you to dip your toes into one of modern Australia’s most loved culinary delights without having to get on a plane (or even in your car!).
Prep time: 2.5 hours including drying time for chips
oil for deep frying
50-100g cheddar cheese
garlic sauce (toum) – 5 cloves garlic, 1 egg white, 1 cup neutral oil, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of salt, 2 tbsp iced water
I highly recommend making your own garlic sauce – the traditional Lebanese toum is a linchpin of an HSP and without it the dish is just not the same. It can be used as an accompaniment for a number of other dishes and it keeps in the fridge for weeks.
Crush the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add 1/4 of the lemon juice. Pulse until combined. Next, add in the egg white and blend on medium. Scrape down the sides if the garlic has stuck to the edges.
Next, slowly add in half the oil in a steady trickle until the sauce has emulsified. If the sauce looks like it has split, try removing half the amount, adding another egg white, whizzing, and slowly re-adding the removed amount.
Turn the blender to low and slowly trickle in the rest of the lemon juice and oil. Maintain a slow steady blend until everything is well combined before adding 1-2 tbsp of iced water. The consistency of the sauce should change and become light and creamy. Transfer to a pouring bottle and set aside.
To make the chips, first slice the potatoes into even 2cm thick batons and par boil them for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and allow them to air dry until a skin forms over them (at least 1-2 hours).
Next, heat your oil in a deep pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil has reached 160 degrees Celsius you are ready to start cooking. Do the chips in two batches so the oil temperature doesn’t decrease by too much. They are ready when the chips are golden and crispy. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil before sprinkling with chicken salt and serving.
On top of the chips grate about 50g cheese, or enough for a thin layer, before adding your hot, shredded leftover chicken followed by the holy trinity – a good squeeze each of bbq, chili and garlic sauces.
Beef or lamb