Iranian food is a lot like Indian food with mainly kebabs and rice dishes. The culinary delights include using a lot of saffron, dry fruits and berries in the dishes. So when we were invited to Persian Food Festival at Namak- the Indian Speciality Restaurant at Sahara Star we were looking forward to savour delicacies from the middle-eastern region.
To ensure that you get a true experience of Persia, there is soulful Persian music playing. The lanterns and the décor transport you to Iran. The meal is crafted by renowned Iranian Chef Mona Nehzad and the festival is curated by Chef Rehman Mujeebur of Kitchenett-E-Awadh.
We started with Soup-e-jao was comforting and built up the appetite for the next course. Vegetables like carrot and potato added to the flavour of this delightful broth with barley and parsley.
We were served a veg as well as a non-veg traditional combo with a range of kebabs, on a bed of flavoured rice. The Kebab Koobedah- traditional lamb seekh kebab mince marinated with ground black pepper, garlic and saffron was melt in the mouth. The Joojeh Kebab- chicken tikka marinated with saffron, wine vinegar, onion and curd was succulent and well done.
My vegetarian friend was wary of accompanying me since her notion was that there wouldn’t be too many vegetarian options. But her doubts were put to rest with Zaffran Paneer Kebab- cottage cheese marinated with saffron, pistachio and olive oil, soft and gooey. But the winner was the Mavoha Tanur- assorted fruits marinated with sumac powder and grilled to perfection. The Gharth Tanuri-mushrooms simmered with saffron and ground spices tasted a lot like the regular tandoori mushrooms. Accompanied with a surprise of the day beetroot dip and mustard yoghurt dips, which we were having all by itself.
Iranian food is mostly dry and the kebabs are paired with rice which is made with saffron and berries. We were looking forward to the main course with more intricate flavours of the region known for its rich food and culture. For the main course we tried the Khoresh Kalal Badam-lamb simmered with almond and black barberry. But the more interesting dish was the Khoresh Bademjan- chicken with eggplant, tomato paste, saffron and split chick pea. One of the must try dish is the Dal Homozgan- never has pigeon pea tendered with dry lemon, tomato and garlic tasted so divine. The Khuresh Bamiyan –Okra Stew and Paneer Fasenjan are just the right dishes for strict vegetarians. As my friend remarked “I never thought Iranian Veg food was so varied as well as tasty.”
The meal ended with another winner Ghotab-white flour halwa with a generous helping of dry fruits like almonds, pistachios and berries. The best part about the food is that it’s flavourful without being overtly spicy.
This festival is a must visit for those who like a twist of taste and want to enjoy Persian delicacies.
Persian Food Festival is on at Namak, Sahara Star Hotel till March 12th
Review By : Jyoti Narang for Foodmaniacs
Compiled by : Vickrham (vicky)