Fariba Ahmady is one of the stallholders transforming Addison Road Community Centre into a vibrant night market every third weekend of the month. She is a Persian engineer who migrated from Iran to Australia, now she is plying Marrickville with Persian tea and sweets.
You have lived in Australia for seven years. What observations have you made about Sydney?
I love Australia, especially Sydney. I really do feel that it is my home. People are very friendly and I am enjoying working with them. Sydney’s communities of different cultures grow stronger every day, that’s why we always have festivals and events all around the city.
Who taught you how to cook?
My mum mostly, but when I was studying at university in Iran, I lived in the dormitory and I had a chance to live with others from all different areas of Iran! That’s how I learnt different types of Iranian foods from different national cultures such as seafood, vegetarian food, sweets and so on.
How would you describe Iranian cooking?
I’ll answer this question by giving you the feedback I receive from people in Australia that taste my food. Most of them believe that it is delicious and doesn’t have too much curry or chilli in it. It tastes enjoyably soothing and, very importantly, the smell of Iranian food is delightful. I laugh and tell my customers, “That’s why most of my people have developed big bellies!”
Have you tried any new foods during your time in Sydney ?
Australia is a multicultural country and one of the most beautiful things about this country, aside from the nature and the lovely people, is the cultural diversity. Because of the multicultural society we live in, we have a chance to try so many types of cultures and food from different countries without travelling too far at all! I love this aspect of Australia so much.
How do you feel about the upcoming elections in Australia?
I know that refugees from different countries have had a lot of issues back in their homelands. I am hoping the elected government develops and shows more consideration toward refugees. They have different and useful skill sets, knowledge and experiences which gives them massive potential to help the community if given the chance with government projects and incentives.
How do you like to spend your time with friends and family?
I like travelling and camping. Fortunately, Australia has an abundance of beautiful nature. I am trying to travel as much as I can to find and enjoy the new scenes of my lovely country.
See www.arcco.org.au for more info about the night market.
Ghormeh Sabzi – Persian Stew
• 425g kidney beans
• 1 medium onion diced
• 2 garlic cloves diced
• 2 dried limes
1. Mince the herbs and start boiling 5 cups of water.
2. Fry the onions and garlic in small pot with 2 tbsp vegetable oil until translucent and golden.
3. Add the chopped beef to the pot, fry until brown.
4. Add boiling water to the pot until it covers the mixture.
5. Cover the pot and let simmer for 60-90 minutes.
6. Fry the herbs in pot with 2 tbsp vegetable oil.
7. Add the fried herbs to the beef mixture pot.
8. Add the kidney beans to the pot.
9. Make holes in the soaked limes and add to the pot.
10. Now add ground chilli pepper, salt, Persian spice mix (Advieh) as preferred.
11. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste to the pot and mix.
12. Cover the pot with the lid and cook for 30 minutes.