This food fest at The Park Hyderabad is all about celebrating signature delicacies from Saudi Arabia
light up when she speaks about the fig trees and purplish pomegranates of Bisha — a village in Saudi Arabia. She tells us that she had perfected the art of Arabian cuisine during her 13-year stay in the country. The trajectory led her to curate an elaborate meal, as a part of the food fiesta Ta’am-Al-Arabia, at Aish, The Park Hyderabad.
The evening started with Shorba-al-Dujjaj, a light chicken soup apt for whetting the appetite before the real deal begins. While the chef explains how dried lemon powder and sumac (a kind of spice) are used to flavour most of the preparations, a platter comprising kinds of bread — Lavash, Taftan and Grissini — makes its way to the table along with accompaniments including Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Mutabbal and Fattoush. The warm bread, peppered with nigella seeds, went well with creamy hummus.
Meanwhile, we are happy to notice that most of the dishes in the spread are baked. The Samak-al-Faham — a whole murrel baked with olive oil, pepper and Arabic spices — is subtle with a hint of tangy flavours, courtesy the lemons. The Kebab-al-Dujjaj had a distinct smoky flavour, and the Kebab-al-Saman, which is roasted quail coated with yoghurt and Arabic spices, is more delicious than the others in the lot. My favourite, however, was the Dujjaj-al-Khudar, oven-roasted chicken cooked on slow fire with brinjal, peppers and potato. The chicken is juicy and marinated with vegetables. The Burrah Kebab, made from lamb, we think could have been better cooked.
The star of the meal was certainly the Lahan-al-Mandi. If you find it difficult to get authentic Mandi in the city, we suggest you give the one in this food festival a try. The long-grain basmati rice is replete with the aroma and fragrance of ghee, and ample dry fruits. The mutton chunks are mildly spiced.
Just like the main course, the dessert platter consists of well-chosen items that are not too heavy, while representing the best of the region. Umali is a creamy pudding of milk, nuts and puff pastry, which melts in the mouth. While, Halwa Mishmash is the perfect dessert for those with a sweet tooth. It has apricots, custard and nuts arranged in layers, with a biscuit crumb base. Lauz-al-Baid, made from eggs and saffron, is the best of them all with a delightful after-taste of rose water.
Starts from October 9.
Price for two: Rs 2,000
Pictures: Vinay Madapu