Every time any of us decides to dine out, just like many others, we prefer to dine on our favorite & more easily available cuisines like Chinese, Italian, Mexican & so on. How about giving Persian cuisines a try this time? & please for the sake of food, falafel & baklava do not belong to the Persian family.
Persian cuisine aka Iranian food originates from the land of Iran which was known as Persia until 1934. Although this cuisine is broadly classified under Middle Eastern, Iranian food is distinct in taste and stands out from prominently from among the Middle Eastern fare. Though it has adapted a tad bit of other Asian country flavors, Iranian food has contrasting flavors with rich ingredients like barberries, pomegranate, cardamom, rosewater, pistachios saffron and yogurt among others. It is ought to be believed that the popular North Indian Mughlai cuisine was immensely influenced by Persian staple Polo, also known as Pulao back when the Moghuls invaded India.
I can already see a few yawns and count a couple of snores with this boring lecture. So, let’s ditch the history class & return back at the ongoing festival at Namak, Sahara Star.
Persian food festival was curated by Awadhi cuisine Chef Rehman from Lucknow along with Chef Mona Nezhad who flew down all the way from her home town Hormuz, Iran to showcase the true spirit of this Middle Eastern, oops, Persian affair.
The sweet and gorgeous chef is in town specifically to share her culinary mastery of Iranian household staple.
Namak is an Indian fine dine restaurant nestled in the lobby of Sahara Star, Andheri. Glittery curtains adorning the walls, beautifully intricate artwork tablecloth, royal cutlery and the staff dressed up in brightly colored traditional Persian attire, this was a regal Persian affair imaginatively put together. We were welcomed with an Iranian drink made of Saffron and rose water, a bit sweet with calming effects to soothe out the unbearable heat of Mumbai.
Our food journey through the sands of time kicked off with Kebabs (KEE-bahbs).
Joojeh kebabs (succulent chunks of grilled chicken) Iranian cuisine is not only about these popular meaty celebs; plenty more exemplary kebabs wait anxiously to be pushed out through the kitchen door.
Mahi Ye Aflatuni Kebabs: Succulent fish dices with a sweet and sour tingling taste of Orange and Pomegranate sauce and chopped scallions, these were the juiciest kebabs on offer.
Kebab Koobedah– Traditional Lamb Seekh Kebab: Mince marinated with ground black pepper, garlic & saffron. Unlike the good old seekh kebabs which we are accustomed to these had a rather mild flavor with the richness of saffron and a strong sniff of black pepper.
Shammi Ghushti– This one was clearly overpowered by the explosive taste of cardamom and I would harshly decree this one a clear miss.
Veg Kebbab Platter: Cottage cheese, Mushrooms and Bell peppers marinated with saffron, pistachio & olive oil these were leaning favorably towards the Indian flavors to satiate our desi tastebuds and had nothing distinct to differentiate.
Who does not love surprises and the next dish did more than just surprise us.
Mavoha Tanur: Assorted fruits are marinated with sumac powder & grilled to perfection with a smoky coating holding intact its juicy fruity flavors. The sweet fruity flavors of apple, pineapple, guava & figs packed a deadly punch along with the sourness of sumac.
A fruity conclusion to the delicious line up of starters was just the ideal beginning to a much more eagerly anticipated mains menu.
Khoresh Bademjan: Chicken in tomato based chick pea (chana dal) and eggplant (bademjan in Persian) stew. The subtle flavors of eggplant and thick texture of chickpea made this soft juicy chicken stew the hero of the dishes. It’s delicate flavors just blew our tastebuds away. *TWS recommends
Khoresh Kalal Badam: Lamb simmered with almond & black barberry; this gem of richness is pretty heavy and is not for the faint hearted. The opulence of richness in this dish is a gentle representation of the magnificence ofnawabi food.
Khoresh Fesenjan: Lamb curry amalgamated with Pomegranate & Walnut bits was an average dish and did not offer much to scribble.
Dal Adasi: Black lentils are concocted with Potato, Sumac & Olive Oil. This was smooth kaali daal had me nostalgic, almost instantly evoking pleasant memories of dal I tasted in the households of Amritsar nearly three years ago.
Bagli Mourg Polo: In centuries gone by, the Mughals loved the concept of Polo (or pulav) where meat is served with long grain rice seasoned with delicate spices. Basmati Rice & Rice Simmered with Dill leaves are used here. The flavors of the sweet rose water, saffron, barberries and the mild spiciness of chicken are beautifully balanced and do not overpower each other.
Overwhelmed by the floodgates of the rich yet scrumptious fares this far, we hoped we to conclude our meal on a sweet note.
Halwa Takhmemorg– Halwa prepared using egg whites was very similar to homemade Khoya and Baida pak which my Mom prepares during a feast. Deliciously sweet you have got to try this one.
Here is your opportunity to taste these delicious Persian delicacies. I was gutted to miss out on The Maharashtrian food festival also by Sahara Star last month due to packed schedules. However, this time the 2-week long affair meant I managed to slot this one in my calendar. Royalty awaits; dine in !!!
You can be updated with upcoming festivals here
You can be updated with upcoming festivals here