For the whole month of February, Sodabottleopenerwala has a special Persian-Inspired Pop-Up menu curated by Partner Chef Anaida.
Here’s a chance to sample all its flavours with a healthy twist. They’re presented in single-serving Buddha bowls packing in all the goodness of Persian cuisine as well as a la carte options. Interestingly many of these Iranian dishes have been adapted and ‘Indianised’ so much so that we’ve conveniently forgotten the origin of their import.
A case in point, or rather the cases in point are Haleem, Beryani, Kebabs and Halwa. Will get to those a little later, for now lets start from the very beginning – the starters from the a la carte menu. Loved Chef Anaida’s Soop-E-Jadooi, which really is magical in its blend of flavours and wellness. This isn’t entirely Persian, but rather Chef Anaida’s interpretation of comfort food from her growing years far from home. This wholesome coriander chicken soup with pearl barley, mixed sprouts, turnip, mushroom, corn, carrots and roasted vermicelli is a must-try.
The tender melt-in-the-mouth Chicken Jujeh Kebabs had just the right balance of saffron and wasn’t overpowered by coriander and colour like most Indian versions of kebabs.
Among the main course, Fesenjan was entirely new to me with its sweet and sour walnut and pomegranate sauce. As Chef Anaida says, ‘You’ll either love it or hate it”. My reaction was the former. There’s a lovely ambrosial yet sharp amalgamation of pomegranates and walnuts served in a veg as well as non-veg version. I personally preferred the shiitake mushrooms to chicken.
Now coming to the Iranian dishes that bring on a strong sense of déjà vu. Esfahan Beryani, which literally means roasted in fire, is one of the oldest Persian dishes of fire roasted minced mutton, traditionally served on a baked nan. Our Indian versions have more rice than mutton!
Then there’s Haleem, a popular Iranian breakfast of slow cooked lamb and wheat paste. The vegetarian version substitutes lamb with eggplant flavoured with Iranian Kashk (a sour yoghurt derivative).
Absolutely loved the Black Lime Flavoured Lamb Shank served with fava bean rice and Iranian style mint and raita. The dried Black Lime (limoo amani) acts as a natural tenderizer due to its acidity and at the same time adds the right amount of tartness to the meat. Definitely worthy of a second serving and more.
Among desserts, Persian Halwa tasted a lot like our Gurdwara Kada Prashad with an extra dash of cinnamon. Delicious! Chef Anaida has given Baslog, an Iranian coconut pastry an attractive modern presentation in saffron and corn flour globes.
Did I mention Chef Anaida is the same famous pop star Anaida whose popular numbers we’ve all hummed or grooved to at some point in time? No, because that’s just incidental to the amazing food she brings to the table. I wouldn’t want to divert attention to her craft as a great chef by drawing attention to that. At the end of the day, like they say, the proof is in the eating
To try her amazing Persian fare, worthy of a Princess, and the various Buddha Bowls (in a vegetarian kofte, spicy vegan, Persian chicken or mutton version) head to sodabotttleopenerwala before 28th Feb.
Location: Unit 4, Ground Floor, Niharika Jubilee One, Road No. 1, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500033
Ph: 040 6888 8681