• Azerbaijan`s most popular dishes

Azerbaijan`s most popular dishes

Azerbaijan`s rich cooking can be considered a culinary gem. The country`s resources and location at the crossroads of East and West have led to a very varied national cuisine. Azerbaijan has long been famed for its cookery amongst travellers and historians. The abundance of vegetables, fruit, fragrant herbs and spices has inspired Azerbaijani cooks to invent new national dishes, which are truly distinctive. Even the most sophisticated gourmets from all over the world appreciate the exquisite taste and subtle aroma of these Azerbaijani dishes.

Azerbaijan is also known as the home of centenarians. Researchers say that this is due, first, to Azerbaijan`s salubrious climate, second, to the healthy way of life of its people and, last but not least, to the wholesome food and eating habits.

Azerbaijani soups are prepared from very concentrated meat stock, more concentrated and thicker than European soups. Lavishly used apices and a special cooking technique lend them a special aroma. Some Azerbaijani dishes can be served as both first and second courses. These include piti and kufta-bozbash. When they are served as two courses, the meat stock is served separately from the other ingredients (meat, peas, and potatoes) which are treated as a second course although they have been cooked in the stock.

A favorite Azerbaijani dish is a rice dish, plov or pilau, with meat, fish, fruit or other ingredients. Popular types of pilau include lamb pilau (kourma pilau)chicken pilau (toyuq pilau)sweet pilau made with dried fruit (shirin pilau) and sudlu pilau, rice pudding with milk. There are some 40 varieties of pilau.

Azerbaijani cuisine has a range of kebabs. Beef and lamb kebabs are made from pieces of meat, while lula and tava kebab are made from minced lamb with added rupm fat. These dishes are popular across the country.

The Azerbaijani people also have many fish dishes. The most popular specialties are sturgeon kebab, kutum, stuffed fish, fish pilau, lavangi (fish stuffed with minced walnut and fried onion), sturgeon pilau and baliq-chikirtma

In Azerbaijan, tea is served before dessert. All sorts of herbs, fresh tomatoes, and cucumbers (salted or pickled in winter) are always served at the start of banquets and celebratory meals. Dovgha, a soup made from yoghurt and herbs, is often served the second course (especially pilau), as dovgha aids digestion. Dinner often ends with sherbet, a favourite drink in Azerbaijan, or with pastries.

Fragrant Azerbaijani tea is a symbol of heart-felt hospitality. It is served with quince, fig, water-melon rind, apricot, cherry, peach, plum, cornelian cherry, walnut, strawberry, dewberry, grape or mulberry jam.

Below are some recipes for classic Azerbaijani dishes. The quantities are sufficient for one portion. We hope that you and your family will enjoy these recipes. Bon appetit!

Dushbara

Lamb - 108g; wheat flour - 40g; egg 1/4; onions - 18g; coriander leaves - 25g or dried  mint - 1g; grape vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.

Dushbara are small, Azerbaijani dumplings served in broth. The stock is  prepared from bones while the meat is minced together with the onions and spices to make the filling. Mix the flour with water into a dough, roll it out  1 mm thick and cut into uniform squares. Put 2-3 g of the filling in the middle of each square. Fold the squares lengthwise or diagonally. Ben back the ears. Boil in the stock for five minutes until the dumplings are usually made very small so that you can scoop four and five of them with tablespoon at a time. Grape vinegar with garlic is served separately to be added to the soup and the dumplings are seasoned with coriander leaves or dried mint.potatoes


Kufta-Bozbash

Mutton- 163g; rump fat- 20g; rice- 15g; fresh cherry; plum- 30g or dried- 10g; chickpeas- 25g; potatoes- 150g; onions- 18g; saffron- 0,1g; dried mint- 0,1g; pepper and salt to taste.

Soak the chickpeas. Make bones and put the chickpeas into the boiling stock. Mince the meat and onions. Add rice, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and make meat balls; one to two balls for one helping. Put two to three rinsed dried cherry plums inside each ball. When the chickpeas are cooked, put the balls, potatoes, and finely chopped browned onions into the stock. Simmer until cooked. Add pepper, a saffron infusion and salt 10-12 minutes before the dish is ready. To serve, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves in summer and dried mint in winter.