Azerbaijan food and drinks: Culinary gateway to the East

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(CNN) – The historical past of Azerbaijan with taste dates again greater than 2000 years.

Hovering between East and West, in a privileged place on the routes of the Silk Street, merchants have been right here for hundreds of years, bringing spices, elements and culinary influences.

At this time the delicacies of Azerbaijan has an oriental look, rubbing with dishes from its neighbors Iran and Turkey. The native takes the kebab and the pilaf are wealthy and satisfying, however there’s additionally an abundance of contemporary and wholesome fruit and greens to style.

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The individuals of Azerbaijan love tea. Right here's how they prefer to drink it

It may appear counterintuitive, however in the summertime warmth the Azeris like to drink scorching tea, which is believed to assist the physique cool off naturally.

Even within the midst of the nation's thriving espresso tradition, most Azeris nonetheless begin their day with tea.

Within the areas, tea is sort of at all times ready with keklikotu (oregano) or cinnamon and whereas water is boiled on a samovar, heated by the branches of burning bushes, the water is infused with unmistakable aroma of the woods.

Azerbaijani breakfast

Tandir bread from Azerbaijan

The tandir bread is brushed with eggs or yogurt, then cooked in a terracotta oven.

Jaafar Almadhoon / CNN

Whereas the preparation of meals can differ all through the nation, with native twists and turns usually added to the standard interpretation, breakfast is sort of an identical all through the a part of the nation.

All kinds of coloured parts orbit across the star of this present: freshly baked tandir bread.

Whether or not it's honey and qaymaq (a thick cream), goat cheese, butter or scrambled eggs with tomato, crispy bread is a welcome companion to all these meals mixtures.

When the scrambled eggs are ready with the tomato, the finely chopped tomatoes are fried first, till the pan sizzles with the juice. Solely then are the eggs added and the dish faraway from the range with a extra liquid consistency than regular scrambled eggs.

Served in a small pan, the dish is consumed by dipping the tandir bread within the salted mixture of egg and tomato. The goat cheese with out salt on the facet is there to take away some saltiness and stability the palette.

Alternatively, kuku is an omelette from the looks of a cake, a superb choice for individuals who love greens. Contemporary coriander, dill and inexperienced onions are finely chopped and combined with 5 or 6 eggs after which fried in a pan till crispy.

Qutab

Azerbaijan food and drink - Qutab

Qutab – one of the vital well-known dishes within the nation.

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayeva

In the case of avenue meals, Azerbaijan is known for donors – squash meat sandwiches – however qutabs are a lighter choice.

Made from lavash (a skinny focaccia), the traditional qutab is filled with minced meat; the vegetarian model might embrace pumpkin or contemporary herbs corresponding to spinach, coriander, onions and dill, folded right into a moon form and fried on a flat pan with out oil.

The delicate centered and crunchy qutabs are then sprinkled with sumac, the spicy spice with brightly coloured berries and contemporary pomegranate seeds (through the season). Each the meat and herb qutabs are served with ayran, a frothy acid milk combined with water and salt. For the true gourmets there’s additionally a smaller variation of qutab full of minced camel meat, known as jorat qutab.

Mangal salad

Foods and drinks of Azerbaijan - mangal salad

The mangal salad is gentle and refreshing.

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayeva

Notably worthy of consideration among the many salads is the mangal salad, whose identify derives from the way in which during which the principle elements – aubergines, peppers and tomatoes – are roasted on a mangal barbecue, a Caucasian-style grill.

After the roasted greens are minced, onions, coriander, dill, olive oil and purple basil are added and combined – a specialty in Azerbaijan. The salad is normally served chilly as a facet dish of meat kebabs and is believed to help the digestion of heavy meats.

In Azerbaijan, individuals like to grill. Right here's how they make the barbecue, from getting ready the skewers to getting ready the mangal salad

Dovgha

Azerbaijan food and drink - Dovgha

Dovgha could be served chilly or scorching.

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayeva

This bitter milk soup, which could be served each cold and hot relying on the season, additionally incorporates rice, a handful of chickpeas and quite a lot of finely chopped greens.

Whereas it’s easy by way of elements, the preparation requires the chef to consistently combine the elements to stop the rice from sticking.

Hen Levengi

Foods and drinks from Azerbaijan - Levengi chicken

The Levengi hen is filled with scrumptious succulent fillings.

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayeva

The hen Levengi can resemble a typical grilled hen outdoors, however it hides a scrumptious secret.

Inside, the filling consists of fried onions, toasted walnuts, raisins, dried plums, dried pitted carnelian cherries are chopped and combined right into a paste. The richness of the nuts and the flavour of the plums make it a mixture to attempt.

The Levengi filling can be utilized in fish.

Dolma

Food and drink from Azerbaijan - Yarpaq

The identify dolma comes from a Turkish phrase which implies "to be stuffed".

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayev

Whereas Azerbaijani cookbooks are considerable with quite a lot of dolma, yarpaq, (grape leaf) and uch baji (three sisters) are the 2 most noteworthy.

The primary, based mostly on minced meat, wrapped in vine leaves and slow-cooked, is served with qatiq (pure pure yoghurt) and garlic.

The Uch Baji model consists of aubergine, tomato and pepper trio, full of minced meat and ready with their juices. It is rather frequent to incorporate qatiq with heavier dishes, as its probiotic properties help digestion.

Candy

Azerbaijan food and drink - dessert

The perfect desserts of Azerbaijan are cooked through the holidays in Novruz.

Courtesy of Kamilla Rzayeva

The preferred desserts of Azerbaijan are historically cooked through the month of March, the month of the Novruz spring pageant.

Pakhlava, a diamond-shaped pastry discovered all through the Center East, is a favourite.

The Azerbaijani model, particularly the Sheki selection, tends to be softer and extra oily than different variations.

Shorgoghal, a crispy, stuffed with flaky bread, could be made candy (with white sesame seeds within the higher half) or salted and salted (with black sesame seeds within the higher half).

Shirin Chorek, candy bread full of nuts and raisins, is one other of one of the best decisions.

Nut jam is maybe one of the vital shocking Azerbaijani desserts served with tea.

Collected by bushes whereas nonetheless inexperienced and delicate, the nuts slowly darken through the preparation course of, ending with a really darkish brown. The consistency of the walnut and the sweetness of the syrup make it a memorable delicacy.

Lastly, probably the most uncommon mixture of meals that the nation awaits all year long should be watermelon, goat cheese (saltier is healthier) and tandir bread.

Though they could appear and appear, like probably the most scandalous meals to match, there isn’t a approach to return as soon as tried collectively.

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