Food: Try rustic North African food at a pop-up in Andheri

This Sunday, soak in the flavours from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria as part of a North African pop-up, a first in Mumbai

When the city-based food blogger, Payal Bhuptani, started looking up food trails and cooking classes to participate in during her upcoming trip to Morocco, she stumbled upon traditional North African recipes on television shows and the Internet.

Charmoula Spiced Aubergine
Charmoula Spiced Aubergine

She started trying out these at home, and realised that the cuisine is highly influenced by Greek, Mediterranean and Arabic tastes because of the many invasions that the region had experienced in its history. “It is all about using spices and fresh produce. It includes lots of lamb preparations.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Moroccan Lamb Tagine

People in Mumbai are more experimental and there aren’t any places that serve North African cuisine. So, I thought it would be a good idea to present rustic North African food in a fine dining format as a pop-up,” she says, ahead of the third food pop-up that she will be hosting along with her partner, Upasana Shukla Maheshwari, under her food blog, Don’t Give A Fork, this Sunday.

(From left) Payal Bhuptani and Upasana Shukla Maheshwari
(From left) Payal Bhuptani and Upasana Shukla Maheshwari

The pop-up will feature a mix of traditional as well as contemporary North African fare. From the Charmoula Spice Rub, a typical Moroccan marinade to Harissa sauce, the Tunisian hot chilli pepper paste as well as Tabilch brown rice cooked the Egyptian way Bhuptani will introduce dishes from Egypt, Morocco, Algeria as well as Tunisia to city patrons.

For dessert, she will rustle up a deconstructed version of the Turkish sweet, Buklava, with tropical fruits and nuts. “I’ve picked up basic flavours from my travels to Europe and learnt a few of them from cookbooks, TV shows and the Internet. Charmoula Spice Rub will be used with baked aubergines and Harissa sauce is for the potatoes and chicken.

North African food is incomplete without hot Tagine that is cooked in a special clay vessel,” she elaborates. While most of the ingredients for the dishes have been sourced from her local grocery store, Bhuptani has also imported African chillies and spices to bring in the authentic flavours.

On: April 26, 12 pm
At: Road House Bluez, ground floor, Tokyo house, JP Road, Andheri (W).
Cost: 1,200

Try at the pop-up
>> Charmoula Spiced Aubergine with Bulgar (durum wheat) salad and Greek Yoghurt served with Harissa Spiced Potatoes or Harissa Spiced Chicken. 
>> Egyptian Tabilch, a brown rice preparation with Pineapple Salad served with 7-vegetable Moroccan Stew or Lamb Tagine (slow-cooked in a clay vessel).
>> Deconstructed Buklava Coconut Ice cream with Algerian Charlotte (made with dates) and Rose Syrup.

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