There is something inexplicably heart warming about home cooked food. Perhaps, it is the love that goes into the preparation or may be quite simply the hygiene but whatever it is, nothing compares to home cooked food. That is what Persian Treats by Fauzia Rehman brings to the table.
Featuring a variety of Persian delicacies, Persian Treats is a unique meal service/ catering business that boasts Afghan, Persian and Turkish cuisines on its menu. We had a lovely chat with the proprietor – Fauzia Rehman and were mesmerized by her love for cooking!
In a nutshell, who is Fauzia Rehman?
Basically of Afghan descent, I have now lived in Lahore for years. I am an experienced cook who is keen to share the traditional recipes that have been handed down from generations in our family with the people of Lahore. My forte is a mix of Afghan, Persian and Turkish cuisines.
Tell us a bit about your journey to Persian Treats.
Having moved to Lahore, from Karachi in the 90s, I remained busy in raising my family through my early years in this city. Once my children were grown up, I had more time on my hands and so I decided to put my cooking skills to test.
Looking for an outlet to introduce people to these cuisines, I found the Khalis and Haryali weekend markets an ideal platform to extend my ‘guest’ list to people beyond the immediate circle of my family and friends.
What was your inspiration for launching it?
As I mentioned earlier, I already had the know-how about Afghan food. Lahore, though a diverse place where several cultures meet, has no specialized place catering to Afghan cuisine so the market is still open for this particular taste. This inspired me to offer Afghan dishes to the people.
Is this something you always wanted to do? If not, what was?
I was the last person to be in the Kitchen but would cook on and off and try new things. My family would encourage me every time I did that. In a way, every one has a hidden talent for cooking… I did not expect such good response from the people but as it grew, so did my confidence… Now I want to do it full time.
What does cooking mean to you?
Cooking is an important part of every ones’ life but cooking with a purpose and meaning is a different experience all together. It is a joy to see total strangers enjoying your foods and getting feedback from them is just as important… especially positive feedback.
What is your favorite dish to eat?
I like the Aash and the Palao but there are many more just as delicious.
What is your favorite dish to make? Why?
Aash is what I like to make. The original Aash is made from dried yoghurt known as Quroot but that is an acquired taste so I make it with fresh yoghurt and pasta… Everyone loves it.
Is there a lot of joy and beauty in cooking? How would you describe it?
There is joy and beauty in creating anything… that is what the value of a creation is. Feeding people with food made by your own hands is one of the most rewarding experiences and when people appreciate it, it brings me a lot of joy and I feel extremely proud.
Can anyone be a cook? What does it take?
Anybody who has passion and love for cooking can be a cook.
Who’s your favorite chef? Why?
Chef Gordon Ramsay. Because he is very creative.
For someone looking for a little taste of Persia, what does the menu look like?
Menu has several tastes which includes savory and sweet bakery products that have a very different taste and aroma from the usual offering from the market. We also offer Sherbets which again have a unique taste and differ from the usual market sherbets. The Sherbets Persian Treats offers have health benefits too as they are pure and refreshing.
Out of all these available dishes; what are some of your star offerings that are a must-try?
My star offering that are a must try is Aash, something like “pasta “, Naranj Palao with Bandanjan Borani “Branjal with yoghurt”. Mantu is wantons stuffed with mince meat and herbs served with yoghurt and Kuku with chicken it’s like Quiche and may more Persian cuisine which I will introduce in future.
Dishes that originate from ethnicity are often thought of as incredibly technical. How did you learn to cook them?
Yes Persian dishes are very technical and tedious!! These dishes are made on very special occasions. My mother on Eid, Nawrooz and special occasions always made Persian cuisines! And made sure we were present while it was being made and that’s how I picked up cooking initially.
What is the best part about your business? Why?
The best part about my business is customer satisfaction. Because I make an effort in buying quality ingredients and combining them to cook delicious food.
What is the most challenging? Why?
The most challenging thing for me is to cook the food with precision, fresh ingredients and keep my clients satisfied.
How do you overcome these challenges?
By properly designing the menu items and planning ahead.
Is Persian Treats a one-man show or do you have a team working with you on it?
Persian Treats is pretty much a one man show for now.
We understand you have been a regular part of the Khalis Food Market, the Haryali Market and even part of the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week! How were your experiences?
It has been a year since I launched Persian Treats with Khalis Food Market and Haryali Market and also took part in PFDC Sunsilk fashion week!! It has been a pleasure taking part on these platforms and the people welcomed Persian Treats with open hearts and made it a success for which I thank them.
Overall, what has the response been like?
People of Lahore love to taste different cuisines and they have appreciated Persian Treats a lot, my hard work and their love for food make Persian Treats a success.
How does the future look like for Persian Treats?
The future of Persian Treats looks bright Masha Allah. I have big plans for Persian Treats in future Insha’Allah.