Armenia, with Love!
In a gastronomical treat called Gurgaon, here is a little bit of something different for you to chew on…. SUBURB, up and close with Celebrity Chef Zarmig.
When you have the Woman of the Year (2016 Doha, Qatar) awardee and a celebrity chef flying in from Lebanon herself, the freshness and warmth denoted with Lebanese and Armenian cuisine is exemplified with her beauty; a much talked about thing in her food circles.
The Ambassador of Armenian cuisine herself, Chef Zarmig Ohannes Haladjian showcased her talent as he descended into Gurgaon, her first experience with India. Speaking the subtle fusions of both cuisines, “the only huge difference is the vegetable selection that changes the entire meal,” said the ravishing and creative Chef Zarmig. Essentially, both cuisines share a Levantine influence.
But while Lebanese has received a lot of popularity in Delhi-NCR, the Armenian mix has been restricted to Lavaash by Saby (credit goes to Chef Sabyasachi Gorai) who pioneered Armenian food at this only Armenian restaurant in Mehrauli, bringing Asansol (the second largest city in West Bengal, and home to the country’s most sizeable Armenian population) alive to the adventurous crowd of Delhi and Gurgaon.
Zarmig is a well-known name in Doha, Qatar for her culinary restaurant, Mamig, where she is famous for her personally curated dishes. A writer who has 23 titles to her credit, she is also a spoken voice as a Radio announcer, a Food consultant, catering expert, television host and many more packed in one person. The confident woman who believes in emancipation of women, shared, “it is so important to travel the globe and meet people, share their cultural experiences and express your creativity. I do this through my love for food and the warmth that this particular cuisine exudes.” This is more so a reason that she had decided to participate in the food exchange programmeorganised by Novotel, Aerocity recently in town.
On offer were hot and cold appetizers like Zeytov Litsk, Armenian Labneh, Armenian Mortadelle, Rolled Zeytonov hats, Fishne Kebbe, Batata Harra and similar. The main course included Traditional Armenian Spicy Verevan Kebab, Khashkhash Kebab, Matzounov Kebab, Samkeh Harra,Kabbeh Zeghertawiye and similar. For the sweet somethings was Sari Bourma, Gatnabour, Engoize, Chocolate Gololag, Palouza, Nouranoush, Khoshav to name a few.
Title: Armenian Trivia
- Armenian cuisine essentially reflects the lives Armenians lived but it shares outside influences from European and Levantine cuisines.
- The cuisine reflects use of their traditional crops and animals grown and raised in Armenian populated areas. Use of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen often requires stuffing, frothing, and puréeing.
- Basic features of their diet will include Lamb, eggplant, and bread (lavash)
- Armenians prefer cracked wheat (bulgur) over maize and rice.
- Flavour is completely dependent on the freshness of the vegetables and meats and uses minimal spices. Dishes are served as whole meals on a table and family relish eating from the main dish itself. It is essentially following the custom of community living.
In her own right
- An artist who does not use brushes to paint, she prides in “the soul speaks from the hand that creates either a canvas or food.”
- Most of her works are inspired from her real life and that is probably a reason why there is such soulfulness in her food. Taste it to believe it!
This story was first published in the print version of SUBURB January 2018 issue.