Azerbaijan's national cuisine: 10 Must Try Dishes

Azerbaijan's national cuisine: 10 Must Try Dishes

10.12.2021, 486
Gastronomic travel

Azerbaijan's national cuisine: 10 Must Try Dishes

Azerbaijan's national cuisine is closer to Middle Eastern cuisine due to the taste and preparation of the dishes, as well as adding a dark spice and flavor additives. Contemporary Azerbaijan cuisine retains the traditional methods of preparing dishes while incorporating modern cooking.

Azerbaijan is a distinctive country with an ancient history. This region is unique. Due to its geographical location, it is close to the Middle East, Transcaucasia, and Eastern Europe. Over the centuries this state has been enriched with traditions, sights, and historical monuments of different cultures.

The unique climate attracts many tourists here. Here everyone can find nature to their liking. From the alpine snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus to subtropical forests. Many hydropathic establishments, the coast of the Caspian Sea, rivers, and mountains will impress even the most demanding guest.

 

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Azerbaijan's national cuisine is closer to Middle Eastern cuisine due to the taste and preparation of the dishes, as well as adding a dark spice and flavor additives. Contemporary Azerbaijan cuisine retains the traditional methods of preparing dishes while incorporating modern cooking.

Azerbaijani dishes have traditionally been cooked with copper utensils and cookware. Copper bowls and plates are still commonly used as serving dishes.

 

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Azerbaijani cuisine is full of different types of famous vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Rice and products made from flour are widely used in the national cuisine. Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, basil, parsley, leek, thyme, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes.

The majority of national dishes are made with lamb, beef, and poultry meat. Dishes prepared with minced meat are also prevalent. The sea, lakes, and rivers of the Republic of Azerbaijan are abundant with different fish species, particularly the white sturgeon. Sturgeons are widely used in the preparation of national dishes. Particularly, the Caspian Sea is home to many edible species of fish, including the sturgeon, Caspian salmon, kutum, sardines, grey mullet, and others. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of Azerbaijan's best-known delicacies that are well sought after in other parts of the world.

 

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The cuisine of the country has collected the best qualities and traditions of its inhabitants. Because of this, Azerbaijani cuisine is considered one of the most delicious in West Asia and the Caucasus.

10 'Must Try' Dishes When Visiting Azerbaijan

1) Pilaf

Pilaf is considered the king of Azerbaijani cuisine. It is an obligatory dish at any wedding or feast, and its varieties number about 200. The distinctive feature of any pilaf is the combination of two constituent parts: boiled basmati rice and gara, a separately cooked sauce. Gara may consist of meat (usual lamb) or fish fried together with onions and dried fruits such as plums, raisins, and cherry plums. Pilaf is normally the final savory course at special occasions like weddings and is served to guests with much ceremony.

 

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2) Dovgha

This sour milk soup is made with gatigh, a fermented milk product similar to yogurt, as well as eggs, rice, and herbs including coriander, dill, mint, and spinach. In Nakhchivan add a twist to dovgha, incorporating small meatballs into the soup.

 

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3) Khangal

Khangal is probably the first dish that comes to mind when talking about Autumn in Azerbaijan. As soon as it starts getting cold, you can hear locals say “It’s great weather to have a Khangal”. People are waiting for autumn to open the “Khangal season”.

Khangal is made by rolling and cutting the dough into thin, small squares, and then boiling it in a meat broth. Served hot and with lamb or chicken, the dish is accompanied by a garlic sauce.

 

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4) Qutab

Qutab is to Azerbaijanis what pizza is to Italians. Thinly rolled, the unleavened dough is filled with meat, herbs, pumpkin, pomegranate seeds, cheese, onions, and chestnuts, then cooked on a sadj, a flat pan made of cast iron. Qutab is eaten with your hands - just don’t forget to roll it up!

 

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5) Piti

Piti is another popular soup of Azerbaijani cuisine. It is cooked with lamb, potatoes, peas, onions, garlic, chestnuts, and herbs.

The secret to real piti flavor lies in the pots in which it’s cooked. The dish is cooked in ceramic clay pots called “dopu”. The ingredients are combined in a pot filled with water and then placed in an oven for a slow cook.

The best place to try piti is Azerbaijan’s Sheki region. However, there are plenty of places to eat a plateful of this mouthwatering dish in Baku, too.

 

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6) Kebab

If you have visited Azerbaijan and have not tried kebab, consider your time wasted. There’s no “wrong time” to enjoy kebab, yet savoring its taste in cold weather is particularly delightful.

Some kebabs are made with lamb or beef, others with chicken or fish. Kebab is typically served with grilled vegetables like potatoes, eggplant, green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

 

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7) Dolma

When preparing dolma Azerbaijanis to use young grape or cabbage leaves, which get filled with minced lamb or beef meat mixed with herbs and spices. Badymdjan dolmasi, a summer version of dolma that is cooked with eggplants, tomatoes, and green peppers. Dolma is served with gatigh, a yogurt sauce, mixed with garlic.

 

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8) Lavangi

A favorite dish amongst Azerbaijanis is lavangi, a stuffed chicken or fish with walnuts, onions, and plum paste. The most delicious lavangi are made in a tandir or tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven in which food is cooked on coals

 

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9) Sadj

Sadj is the name of the pan in which the dish, of the same name, is cooked. Tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplants are perfectly combined with lamb and herbs to make this dish. Given that sadj is cooked using tail fat, which congeals quickly, it is served from the stove to the table on the pan, with the coals burning underneath.

 

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10) Dushbara

Dushbara is also spelled as Dushbere or Duspara. It’s one of the most favorite and popular Azerbaijani dishes. It’s sort of dumplings of dough filled with ground meat and cooked in a lamb.

 

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Azerbaijan's national cuisine: 10 Must Try Dishes

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