“The great thing about Australia is that it’s an exciting melting pot of people, skills and traditions,” says Delia. “We look at French technique, Asian technique and contemporary techniques and add it all together with a Middle Eastern accent.”
As of 2020, however, Delia has started serving its signature dishes in a different way. Faced with restaurant closures, he brought his food to Melbourne homes through his Providour platform, which has since expanded to include Sydney and now Brisbane. Rather than deal with the limitations of typical food delivery, Delia’s idea for Providor was to do almost all the work up front, sending out dishes that just need a little heating, plating and garnish. The results are something like restaurant-quality home cooking, although there really isn’t much cooking.
“We want to make sure people back home feel like the rock star, like they actually cooked that food when the reality is we’re doing all the hard work, doing all the development, all the tedious stuff that set them up for success,” says Delia.
Having already given Sydney a taste of Maha at Home, Delia is excited to share her food with Brisbane and beyond. “Through Providoor we can reach three quarters of the state, and Queensland is quite big, so hopefully we can connect the whole state with some really great Middle Eastern flavors and create some great memories for people at home.”
Delia recommends ordering from a set menu, but Maha at Home also takes diners off the slopes with broad a la carte options. Here are five of Delia’s go-to picks for a true Maha-style feast:
Turkish Beef Meatballs
“It’s something people can’t get enough of and you’re never going to make them at home, it’s so tedious,” Delia says. Tiny dumplings are filled with beef, burnt butter and Turkish spices, then dressed in a garlicky yogurt.
“You think dumplings and yogurt are a little weird, but after eating it like that, you’ll be converted,” Delia says.
Slow roasted shoulder of lamb
If you’ve been to Maha, you know this signature dish. “Every time I take it off the menu, people lose their minds,” Delia says. “Whether it’s summer or winter, it’s a must-have all year round.” The lamb shoulder is rubbed with Maha’s secret herbs and spices and gently roasted for 12 hours. “At home, you just pop it in the oven, reheat it, crisp it up, take it out, and finish it with fermented pepper butter and smoked eggplant,” says Delia.
Chemen dried trevally
“Chemen is an Armenian-Turkish spice made from fenugreek, paprika and turmeric,” Delia explains. Kingfish is dried in the spice mix for 14 hours before being finished with a kombu and smoked pepper dressing. There’s almost no prep (unless you’re a Maha chef), just a shortcut to huge flavors.
“You just cut the fish open, toss it in the dressing, and you’re laughing,” says Delia.
Brioche burek with spicy beef brisket
For this dish, Delia uses a sweet-style Turkish burek dough and creates something closer to a bun than the traditional flat or cigar-shaped dough. This bun is then filled with a heady mixture of spicy beef brisket. “The way to think of it is like a Malaysian rendang – coconut and chili, lime and turmeric,” says Delia. “Then we wrap it in a nice sweet pastry and top it with sesame seeds and it’s dipped in a harissa mayonnaise to lift it.”
Charred baby corn
Another 10-year-old classic that can never leave the menu: here the baby corn is a vehicle for the powerful flavors typical of Maha. “We make a sherry vinegar, sweet paprika, smoked almond and lemon vinaigrette with heaps of toum, which looks like whipped garlic,” Delia explains. Charred baby corn is marinated with the dressing and served simply as a perfect balance for dishes like rich, slow-cooked lamb.
Maha at Home will launch on Provideur on June 20. More informations.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Providoor.