306 - Tanoor takes you on a magic carpet ride

By Lauren Gosnell

Persian carpets drape every tabletop at the delightful Tanoor restaurant. Traditional paintings come to life under moody lighting. Authentic dishes like abgusht stew evoke memories of Iran and a few relaxing puffs on the ghalyán water pipe in the smoking room complete a great Persian dining experience.

Tanoor appor starters, you should order the appetizer dip platter. Yogurt is an important part of the Persian diet, so it’s no surprise to see three different yogurt-based traditional dips on offer. The Kashke Bademjam is an eggplant dip made with salty yogurt, garlic and mint while the other two are basic yoghurts lightly flavoured, one with shallots and the other with cucumber.

The other appetizers are marinated olives and a Shirazi salad. Named after the Iranian city, the Shirazi salad is made of diced tomato, olives and a bit of lemon juice.

Abgusht is a lamb stew prepared in a dizzy (urn). Owner Jalal Fanimoghadam tells us that the dizzy and abgusht are very old foods in Iran. Abgusht is easy travel food. Tomato, potato, chickpeas and lamb meat are seasoned with garlic and turmeric and placed inside the urn and cooked for three hours. In fact, shepherds would take these urns on the road and into the fields with them.

TanoorAs for the stew, the first step is to pour out the broth and drink the soup, or dip a bit of naan bread into it. The next step is mash the stew in the dizzy with a pestle-like instrument to separate the tender lamb meat and blend together the ingredients. The final stew has a subtle infusion of flavours. The comforting, hearty stew is best enjoyed eaten with fresh naan.

In Iran, it is usual to finish a meal with tea and even a trip to the smoking room to extend the dinner conversation. Persians drink black tea and sweeten it by placing sugar cubes in their cheeks before sipping.

Tanoor Restaurant
6347 Yonge St.
Toronto Ontario