Around 16 students from Oman Tourism College (OTC) are having super busy days. After all, they have a big task on their hands – of presenting the flavours of Oman to the world. Tempting aromas waft through the air at Amerat Park where the Oman Food Festival is being held. It has received immense response from Omani and expatriate visitors since it opened on February 7.
The team begins its day in the kitchen at 8am to get the delicacies ready by 4pm before the crowds start coming in.
There are more than 25 dishes on the menu, which changes every day. The buffet spread usually consists of six hot dishes, five cold dishes and four desserts and is open from7pm till 10pm at RO5.
Takeaways, priced RO1.5,include a dish from the main course, a side order, a dessert and juice. “The response is really good during the weekends. About 300 customers have tried the buffet in about less than a week and more than 700 people went for takeaways. Foreign visitors are specially interested in trying out the cuisine,” said Helmut Peter Marksi, head of culinary section and hospitality trainer at OTC.
The buffet starts with traditional healthy salads having tomatoes, cucumber, onions, paprika and spring onions, corn and soups for starters. The main course consists of dishes like shuwa wherein mutton, laden with spices, is wrapped in banana leaves or foil and left in an underground oven over charcoal to cook for 20 hours to two days, depending on the size.
Laham haris is a wheat and meat paste that requires the cook to pound the wheat - which has been soaked overnight and then boil with lamb for several hours. Another main course dish is lamb stew and beef balls in a thick gravy. All gravies had a side order of rice cooked with nuts and saffron. The dessert section has a spread of fruits, basboosa, lukaim - dumpling balls in sweet thick honey dipping, Omani halwa, the walnut and date cake with caramel sauce.
Marksi and Hans Juergen Morokutti, head, hospitality and training department, OTC, shared some recipes