According to topschoolsintheusa, Azerbaijan is a very, very interesting country with its insanely beautiful nature, amazing historical and archaeological monuments and protected areas, hardworking and hospitable people who incredibly love their country, its original culture and centuries-old traditions. The cuisine of Azerbaijan, as part of the traditions of its people, is one of the most interesting in the countries of the Transcaucasus, it deservedly enjoys incredible popularity all over the world.
Azerbaijani cuisine is quite different from Armenian and Georgian cuisine. Professing Islam, as well as due to close historical and cultural ties with the Arab-Persian and Turkic world, Azerbaijanis adhere to certain traditions in their diet, which differ from the traditions of their neighbors. In general, the formation of the national cuisine of Azerbaijan was directly influenced by the process of cultural exchange with such peoples as Arabs, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Caucasian, Transcaucasian and Turkic peoples. This cultural exchange was based on the interweaving of the most important trade (for example, the Great Silk Road) and military roads on the territory of Azerbaijan. Tea came from the Indians and Chinese to the Azerbaijanis, and coffee from the Arabs. Today, very distinct traces of the Slavs can be seen in the Azerbaijani tradition.
Dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine are distinguished by high taste qualities. And cooks achieve this effect thanks to spices and all kinds of herbs: cinnamon, cloves, dill, pepper, parsley, saffron, mint, barberry, cilantro, cumin and others. Greens are often served here as an independent dish. The title of a traditional festive dish in Azerbaijan, of course, was given to pilaf. The main ingredient for its preparation is rice. Azerbaijani pilaf comes in several varieties, but it is prepared strictly according to a certain scheme – all components are cooked separately. Since rice is the basis of pilaf, the taste of the whole dish depends on the quality of its preparation. It is necessary to use only certain varieties of rice, and during cooking, make sure that it does not stick together, but only swells slightly and evenly. Since the Azerbaijani plov consists of three parts.
Of the meat products, lamb is the most preferred. Minced meat dishes are especially popular here. Rice and vegetables are served with meat dishes. The main type of meat in Azerbaijani cuisine is lamb, as the use of pork is prohibited by Islamic tradition. Moreover, the meat of young lambs is mainly preferred. Along with this, veal is also consumed. Young meat is used in the first and second courses, for the preparation of cold appetizers and flour products. Traditionally, meat dishes are seasoned with chestnuts, dried apricots, sultanas and herbs. Salads are very rarely prepared in Azerbaijan.
It should be noted that the people of Azerbaijan consume salt in rather limited quantities. Here they prefer to eat meat either not at all salty, or to give it a sour taste with the help of fruit juices – pomegranate, cherry plum, narsharab.
Some dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine are prepared in special dishes. For example, soup piti – in pits, pilaf – in cauldrons, special boilers with a thickened bottom and special lids, in which hot coals are placed, so that the pilaf “upreval” evenly. Various skewers are used to prepare shish kebab and kebab, for first courses – cups-kasa, for stewing meat – tas – small saucepans, etc.
The tradition of eating with hands is still preserved in Azerbaijan. Here people say that the fingers feel the taste of food. This is due to the fact that human fingertips are very sensitive, and they are able to send food into the mouth at a temperature where the food tastes best. In addition, metal forks, spoons, knives, according to Azerbaijanis, violate the flavor composition of the dish.
Traditional Azerbaijani lunch
A classic lunch in Azerbaijan, according to the ancient traditions of the local people, lasts a very long time – about 3-4 hours.
Tea. Lunch traditionally begins with a tea party. In this country, mainly black long leaf tea is consumed. It is brewed, as a rule, with wild herbs – sage, thyme, mint and other herbs and is very strong. Ready tea is not diluted with boiling water, but poured from a teapot. They drink it from special pear-shaped cups called ormuda.
Snacks. After tea, guests are served salads and snacks, usually fresh. In general, vegetables, fruits and spicy greens are used in the diet of Azerbaijanis more often than among the Armenian and Georgian peoples. Vegetables are mostly ground-based, while root vegetables—beets, carrots, and radishes—are much less common.
Soups. After appetizers, one of the soups is served on the table. The category of soups includes either all kinds of meat soups, or flour first courses. In summer, soups made from fresh and sour milk or katyk are especially common. When preparing some first courses, each portion is prepared separately (piti, dushbara, sulu-khingal). Some soups are consumed simultaneously as both the first and second courses. In this case, the liquid part of the soup, that is, the broth, is served separately in a deep bowl, and the rest – meat, fish, potatoes, onions, and the like, separately, in a small bowl, like a second course, but cooked in the broth. As a rule, the first dishes are cooked on tail fat. And one more feature of Azerbaijani cuisine – the first liquid dishes are used for medicinal purposes, mainly for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Second courses. They are served after the first and are prepared not only from meat, but also from fish, which is very abundant in this country. This is due to the fact that the Caspian Sea is nearby, and there are also a large number of rivers and lakes. The range of fish dishes here is very diverse. From it you can cook kebabs, and kebab, and kyufta, as well as baked, fried, boiled, stewed and aspic fish, pilaf with fish. Mainly used white sea fish – sturgeon, stellate sturgeon, beluga; and river – carp, carp, pike perch and others.
Third. The role of the third, of course, is played by pilaf. Shish kebab, one of the common dishes in Azerbaijan, is preferred to be fried on skewers. It is prepared from fresh, recently slaughtered sheep. For barbecue, not only special parts of the carcass itself are used, but also the insides of a ram – its kidneys and liver. A kind of shish kebab is prepared from minced meat – lula – kebab, taba – kebab – shish kebab in the form of cutlets, which are cooked in a frying pan. Shish kebabs from fish, vegetables, as well as meat from wild animals and birds are also common in Azerbaijan.
Drinks. Sherbet is the most common drink in Azerbaijan. It is based on juices of sour fruits and berries – cherry plum, lemon, grapes, pomegranate, as well as infusions of aromatic parts of plants – seeds, buds, etc. In addition, rose juice, rose oil or infusion are added to Azerbaijani sherbets. Sherbets are served as soft drinks, as well as a drink that accompanies pilaf and meat dishes.
Of course, all of the above dishes are served with bread – lavash. It is prepared from unleavened dough in a tendir. Azerbaijani lavash differs markedly from Armenian not only in appearance, but also in taste. It is a round fresh lush cake of small size.