Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bloggerview with Ammara Miah from Zari Bar, Crawley, Sussex

Almara with Sadique

Name and occupation

Almara Miah, Food Director at Zari Bar and Restaurant, Crawley, Sussex

What would you like to plug?

The most contemporary Indian food menu in the UK. Www.zarirestaurant.co.uk

Name your three desert island ingredients

Freshly chopped coriander,  gram masala,  five spices

What would you have for your last supper?

Our very own  Zari Dum Pukht Briiyani with Tandoori King Prawns.
Dum-Pukht  techniques that allows cooking on very low flame, allowing  seafood/ meat or chicken to cook,in their own juices in a sealed pot to retain the flavours.

What foodstuff would you banish to room 101?

All types of food colouring from Indian restaurant menus.

What's your favourite table?

The Chef’s table at my restaurant which has views into the kitchen so as I can see what they get up to !

What's your favourite tipple?

Mojito- Zari style our barman Sajay makes the best mojito outside of M25.

Which book gets you cooking ?

I never look at books when cooking and I never measure!  I always come up with my own recipes and  sometimes I borrow ideas from TV chefs.  But I'm a confident cook and you have to trust your own judgement in the end.

What's your dream dinner party line-up? And what would you cook for them?

Chef Qureshi – he is a famous  Dum Pukth chef  from India.  Recipes for the dum pukth are passed down in the same family for generations. His great, great, great, great grand father cooked  for the Moghul courts.  I’d get him to taste our biriyani  and ask him if it is as good as  his. Also Gordon Ramsay to get his verdict on our food!! Indian Actor Shah Rukh Khan, my sister, my children and of course my husband.

What was your childhood teatime treat?

Indian street foods – pakoras , pani  puris, lamb mince samosas

What would you make to impress your partner?

Any type of fish dish as he enjoys fish: grilled, battered and curried!

What was your most memorable meal?

We have lots from visiting India.  One example would be a meal in a small family saffron restaurant in Mumbai.  We had the most succulent lamb chops – melt in the mouth amazing!

What was your biggest culinary disaster?

Cooking for a dinner party. I forgot to turn the oven off, got chatting to the guests and burnt the biriyani I had spent hours cooking.  I had to make the guests wait and cook all over again.

What's the worst meal you've ever had?

In a buffet restaurant where they had so called world foods.  So disappointing. Totally tasteless foods.

What's the most outlandish thing you've ever eaten?

I had dried shark meat from a Local Asian Grocery It tasted like cardboard !

Who's your food hero/food villain?

Chef Qureshi at  ITC Sheraton in India  and Gordon  Ramsay  are my heroes.  Zari was nominated as one of the best local indian restaurants for Ramsey's F Word show, so we nearly got to meet him.
I don't have a food villain.

Gordon or Jamie?

Both, but I like Gordon's fine cooking and he has a good palate for Indian food.

Cocktail or Highball?


Muesli or fry-up?

Muesli – mostly. 

Wine or beer?


Fast food or fresh food?

Fresh food – always.  We source local produce at Zari and you can tell the difference.

What do you consider the best of the best of British?

British Beef.  We use a local beef in our dish Rump Steak

What's the best/worst thing about the British restaurant scene?

Sometimes the standard of service is poor compared to other parts of the world. At Zari, we are forever  striving to provide good service at our restaurant.  In India we have had some of the best service from staff who really are passionate about what they do and knowledgable too.  The best thing is probably the innovation and interest in international cuisine in Britain.

What do you think will be the next big thing?

My very own chilli jam which I am planning to package and sell! It's a big hit at home.

What would you do if you could choose any other career?

I love food and hospitality too much!  If I wasn't at Zari, I  would be an international Michelin judge that way I can travel and sample the best new cooking in the world.

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