Azerbaijan cuisine has been influenced for centuries by other cultures, largely due to economic and political processes within the country. But, despite these influences, the country’s food is still unique and rich in traditional flavors.
Food plays an important role in Azerbaijani culture, and is deeply rooted in the nation’s traditions, values, and history. Traditional dishes here include; light snacks, main dishes, soups, and plovs. Light snacks and side dishes accompany primary meals and include aromatic greens, tomato and cucumber salad, a sour yoghurt called qatik, white cheese, and chorek bread. Below Masterchef Steven Wallis interprets these dishes showing the International appeal as well as regional aesthetic.
Main dishes often involve grilled chicken, lamb, beef or fish kebabs served with a variety of sauces. Baliq is served with a sour-plum sauce, and pomegranate sauce is also common. Some popular dishes include minced lamb and rice with herbs, called dolma, and lavangi, a walnut and herb stuffed chicken casserole.
Azerbaijan’s national soup is piti, made with vegetables and mutton on the bone. Kufta bozbash is a hearty lamb meatball and pea soup with potatoes. Dovga is a hot or cold yoghurt soup with mutton meatballs, rice, and vegetables.
Most interestingly, although it exists in other cultures, Azerbaijani plov (image below) is unique in its combination of greens and herbs. More than 40 plov recipes exist, each distinct in its ingredients. Kourma plov features mutton and onions, while chilov plov is primarily fish and beans. Sheshryanch plov is the six-colored plov, featuring sunny-side-up eggs on fried white and green onions.
Azerbaijani cuisine is famous for its abundance of greens and vegetables, fresh herbs, and exotic fishes. Most local meals are enjoyed with black tea, which is the national beverage. As the reader can tell, the culinary richness of this region, mixed with other influences, easily makes Azerbaijan a potential foodie destination for the sake of food alone.
For the best ever information on the cuisine of Azerbaijan visit Azerbaijan 24 – everything you ever wanted to know is pretty much there. Alternatively, you should visit AzeriFood.com – the video of the meticulous step-by-step preparation of Shekerbura below is symbolic of the great content there.