Azerbaijan cuisine

Azerbaijan has a very rich and delicious cuisine. However it is not very well promoted in the world and it is very hard to find original Azerbaijani food somewhere in Europe or North America. However, if you are in Baku, don’t miss a chance to taste the country’s most delicious national dishes. You won’t be disappointed.

Elena Kosolapova

For the Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of their culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values. It is famous for vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leek, chive, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes. 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 well sought after in other parts of the world, including former Soviet countries.

One of the most reputed dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine is plov from saffron-covered rice, served with various herbs and greens, meat meeals.

Azerbaijani cuisine includes more than 40 different plov recipes. Other second courses include a wide variety of kebabs and shashlik, including lamb, beef, chicken, duck and fish (baliq) kebabs. Sturgeon, a common fish, is normally skewered and grilled as a shashlik, being served with a tart pomegranate sauce called narsharab. Dried fruits and walnuts are used in many dishes. The traditional condiments are salt, black pepper, sumac, and especially saffron, which is grown domestically on the Absheron Peninsula.

Black tea is the national beverage, and is drunk after food is eaten. It is also offered to guests as a gesture of welcome, often accompanied by fruit preserves.

Typical Azerbaijani desserts are sticky, syrup-saturated pastries such as pakhlava, and others: pistachio halva, Shaki halva, shakarbura, girmapadam, badambura, shakar chorek and etc.

Ayran is a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt.

An Azerbaijani sherbet (Azerbaijani: şərbət) is a sweet cold drink made of fruit juice mixed or boiled with sugar, often perfumed with rose water.

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