28 October 2022

Five minutes with Nabiha Koriaty, Nabiha's Kitchen

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Nabiha Koriaty

Nabiha Koriaty is all about using organic ingredients and cooking healthy food for her customers. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Who is Nabiha Koriaty? The owner and proprietor of Nabiha’s Kitchen. I was born in Lebanon in the 1940s. The Lord helped me to stay alive during the war. I moved to Australia and worked in a factory and dry cleaning. I cook my own food and people told me they liked my cooking. I asked my husband if we could start a small cafe but he was scared and didn’t want to. God helped me start this shop (Nabiha’s Kitchen) without my husband knowing about it. I did it behind his back. I turned the house to the bank, got the money and built everything in the shop.

Best recent dining experience: I only eat at my restaurant. I don’t eat out very much.

Favourite cuisine: Lebanese. I love falafel, and hot food like okra, beans, and lentils – because I’m vegetarian.

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Most embarrassing pantry item: I use everything in my pantry. I buy the thing (groceries) and within a day I will cook it. There’s nothing to hide. Nothing embarrassing.

What ingredient can I not live without? Pepper, cumin – good for health, cinnamon and turmeric.

Best coffee spot in Wagga: Muffin Break.

 Nabiha's baklava.

Nabiha’s baklava. Photo: Nabiha’s Kitchen.

Next big thing in the Wagga food scene: I see many people open restaurants and cafes for making money. If the aim is to make money they will end up closing it. If you open it for doing good for someone then you can keep going.

A must-try on our menu: Lamb curry, chicken curry, chickpea curry and okra go really well on my menu.

My biggest culinary influence: I lost my mum when I was three. I had no one to teach me (cooking) and I left school when I was fifteen. I used to work in a boarding school where I used to clean the room and would run to the kitchen to learn from the chef. I asked how to do everything. It’s where I learnt to cook.

 vegetarian falafel salad with tahini sauce.

Nabiha’s vegetarian falafel salad with tahini sauce. Photo: Nabiha’s Kitchen.

Favourite cookbook: My favourite cookbook is my own – Recipe Of My Life.

What are this week’s specials at Nabiha’s Kitchen? Every day it is different. Today I’m making chickpea casserole lentil rice.

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Death row meal: Okra beans.

My least favourite food: Meat.

My COVID-19 response: It was a warning from the creator to the people to do the right thing.

My top three cooking tips: Cook and eat organic food. Use organic ingredients. Don’t put sugar in savoury.

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