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Tag Archives: Karama

The Flying Feteer show – Street food, Dubai


Despite living in Dubai for so many years, I had yet to experience the melt-in-your-mouth cheese and honey feteer from Al Ammor, Deira. My foodie forays had uncovered many hidden gems in Dubai in the last 19 years, especially, during Ramadan and Iftar time. A true foodie knows that if you want to really understand the real character of a city, then you have to try out its street food or the smaller restaurants and bakeries. Where the reputation is built up by word of mouth. Not exotic ads.

So one day, the famed Arva Ahmed of the Frying Pan Food Adventures (food tour guide par excellence) asked us to come to Deira. The bakers entranced me with the way they swirled and stretched the feteer, filled, folded and threw the bread into a 24/7 ready oven. A year later, after a short intensive course in filmmaking, I decided to capture the essence of the feteer process as my first short. I went back and spent some days with my Canon 60D…

The taste? Layers of flaky hot bread and melting cheese melding with the honey in your mouth. The dusting sugar leaves a sticky, powdery trail on your shirt and jeans. Who cares? Despite a choice of fillings, the cheese and honey remains my favourite..

Every story has to start with a once upon a time. Here goes. An ex-lightman with the RTA television channel in Egypt, Zayed Shouki came to Dubai to seek his fortune many years ago and started as a humble baker making feteer at the then famed Al Fanoos Khaimah near World Trade Centre. His salary? Dh 1,200 per month. It was his dream to start his own business. Circa 2001, he finally saved up money and started the first Al Ammor in Hor Al Anz (Deira). It nestles outside the left facade of a mosque. “He is a very humble person who dresses like his staff, might still clean tables and will take orders. His staff adores him because he lets them eat anything they want at work. He is also known to distribute free food to staff from neighbouring shops while Dubai Municipality sweepers can take free water or soft drinks from his bakeries,” said Mr Najja, who runs the Al Ammour in Karama. Today there are seven outlets in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman. Goodness pays.

Any secret recipe? “The dough is the usual mix of flour and water. But before I start kneading, I mix some salt and sugar in the water (but never use yeast). The dough is left to rise for 15 to 20 minutes,” said Fathy Afeefi, one of the bakers in Karama. “I learned the basics from my older brother in Egypt. But I perfected the art of making feteer after coming to Dubai and working with Mr Shouki.” He has been in the profession for 14 years.

Prices? A mouthwatering cheese and honey feteer costs around Dh 15 and can be eaten by up to three people. The meshaltet, an Egyptian family favourite is either Dh 25 or Dh 50 depending on the size. In ancient Egypt, it was known as Feteer Maltoot and offered to the gods. Can see why.

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Foodie reviews

 

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Sugar rush – BakefestDXB 3, Wild Peeta, Dubai


Parakeets have started flying in the sky. Winter has crept into Dubai. It is that time of the year, when the whole social whirl starts.. Thankfully, the whirl has started moving away from the ritzy evening dos with designer shoes and practiced grins for the camera into the other skins of the city. Like Tweetups and community events.
Maybe Twitter was responsible and maybe Wild Peeta, Nick Rego, Fooderati Arabia, Lin, and a few others who started creating a space in the hearts of those who took the road less travelled, foodies and more soul-satiated folks. Such as Nomad Urbanistas like me..

Also thanks to the fabulous Dubai Metro’s Green and Red Lines which interweave and connect most of the city into a more accessible and socially interactive space. And to the city, which post-recession like most cities, started to reassess and look at what really matters in life. One such event is Bakefest DXB..

It started off at Wild Peeta two years ago. The fusion shawarma resturant, which also very generously lets SMEs and other social groups use their premises for community events first played host to Bakefest, when it was a small joint in Dubai Healthcare City…
Cut to 2011, its tony location, next to the World Trade Centre and bang outside the Dubai Metro Red Line, still plays generous host to community networking. The owners and brothers – Mohamed and Peyman Al Awadi – actually step back during events with their Wu Wei philosophy – an encouraging word here and a few quips there. Plus I have seen them buy something from every stand and give a new sense of dignity to the community whom they have given free space in the first place for such tweetups  and SME-oriented occasions.

BakefestDXB 3 was done differently. Nick Rego asked the community to vote this time – so the bakers were exhibiting by popular demand. When I walked into Wild Peeta on Nov 26, the sun was shining brightly and the buzz was palpable.

BakefestDXB community bakers

Nick incidentally is a great baker and Toffee Princess is my fav sweet fix with her to-die-for cappuccino and camel milk fudge, though a bit pricey.

Nick's Godiva cupcakes

Since I had to go for a journo buddies lunch, I bought from the two instead of any tasting. A sweet rush on an empty stomach is not something I love anymore but the cakes, pastries and other edibles were so tempting that I clicked a few shots with my Nikon D60 on the go.

Chirag’s display was khatta meetha (Hindi for sweet-n-sour) since he had a rose and cottage cheese concoction that was reminiscent of a rabbadi (reduced milk sweet) alongside dhoklas (a Gujarati steamed savoury made with chickpea flour).

Chirag D's concoction

Melting Moments had this wicked chocolate cake.

But what really melted my heart was little Sara who had chocolate smeared all over her face and was joyously trying out everything her mum bought.

Went back by the Metro to Karama and then to Calicut Paragon – a foodie’s delight. At least 25 people were sitting outside and waiting for their turn. But the restaurant started serving lime juice to those seated outside. We fell hook, line and sinker for such extended hospitality and decided to continue to wait. Soon we were digging into into mutton biryani, tribal chicken and the absolutely divine Hammour Fish Fillet with kandari milagu (the Malayalam name for fiery tiny chillies) and agreed that life is beautiful.

Two hours later, I dug into a brownie bought from Nick’s table. Perfection with a crusty topping reminiscent of a blondie and a slight aftermath of chilli. Wicked.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Recipes

 

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