The thing with Delhi is, that very rarely, do you get a food festival that takes you by surprise. There’s the current flavor of the season – South Indian, Italian is another favourite and then of course you have the chefs who come from some part of Europe to promote their local cuisine.
But finally, here’s a food festival that is a lot more interesting than all those – An African Street Food Festival at Blanco called Africa on My Plate. The food’s spicy, tasty and really quite different
I know only a tiny bit about African food. I’ve eaten Ethiopian before – Injera - the rice pancake like flat bread and Doro Wat - Chicken in red pepper paste and some Oogali - a maize porridge with pepper chicken curry that my friend Isha made for us, after she returned from Zanzibar. And I’ve made Bobotie a couple of times – a South African Casserole, a sort made with minced meat and egg and of course eaten Bunny Chow which is basically a bread boat with some meat curry in it. Like a perfect take-away.
So this festival was quite a mystery for me. And I was pleasantly surprised. The menu, albeit small, was packed with flavours.There was the Supu Ya Kuku - a chicken soup from Zanzibar and Iab, a mixture of cottage cheese and herbs which is to be eaten with The Sheba Salad - a mix of sweet onions and peppers with tomatoes and red chillis.And Kuku Paka Chicken (Rs 369), in a thick coconut gravy served with rice is one of nicest smelling main courses.
We were contemplating between the Tanzanian Hawker's Chicken (Rs 389) or African Crispy Fish (Rs 329). We settled on the fish which was served with a woodie sauce and home fries. This is what it looked like when it came
The woodie sauce is a mix of red peppers with bell peppers, garlic and other spices. The batter of the fish was also seasoned with spices. And home fries were cut like chips and rubbed with African spices. And we wiped the bowl clean. The fish was beautifully fresh and the spices were very delicate on the tongue without being too hot.
We ordered the non-vegetarian Ethiopian platter called Adidis in Delhi (Rs 459). The platter could easily be shared by three people. It had Azifa, spicy lentils in a tomato gravy, Doro Wat (Red chilli chicken), South African Lamb curry (The same that's in the Bunny Chow), Chilli Salad and Berberre ( a red chilli chutney), all served on a large Injera- thin rice pancake like bread.
I loved the lentils. They were spicy and tangy and tasted very unlike any of the lentils that I had ever eaten. In fact I am going to try and replicate it at home. The chicken with peanuts of the Doro Wat was lovely too. The spices tickled the roof of your mouth and were quite lovely. And while both of us weren't particularly lamb eaters, had a gorgeous chunky yet soft quality to it and reminded me of a South Indian boneless mutton curry. The injera was thin like a roti and a good way to be able to dip the gravies.
What I loved especially was the chilli salad - a whole chilli stuffed with onitanons and tomatoes and really quite tangy to eat.
We were quite stuffed after this, but realised we had to eat one more thing because otherwise couldn't possibly be able to review the food. So we ordered the Veg Stew (Rs 369), a vegetarian coconut-based curry with leafy vegetables, carrots and cauliflower which is served with spiced rice.
It tasted like a cross between the Thai curry and Laksa and the Kerala stew. And it was nice. Except we were really full. If we weren't, we'd have wiped the bowl clean.
The festival is on all through September and October. I suppose, my only complaint was that the menu was a bit small. But hey, I get it - it's an experiment
Meal for two: Rs 1200 without alcohol
For reservations call
Where: Blanco, Middle lane, Khan Market