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Our national cuisine, its history and characteristic features
Lemon, olive, food acids – abgora, medlar-wine, vinegar, pomegranate juice, cherry-plum, albukhara (dried plum), unripe grapes, pomegranate, stoned Cornelian cherry, apricot, lavashana, sumac etc. add taste to our dishes.

Salads occupy a special place in the Azerbaijani cuisine. Vegetables used in salads made from tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper, basil and coriander are finely chopped. Such salads are eaten together with main courses.

There are more than 30 main courses in the Azerbaijani cuisine. They include meals made from meat (piti, kufta-bozbash, soup etc.), meals made from herbs and sour clotted milk (dovga, ovdukh, doghramaj, balva etc.).

For some dishes, each portion is prepared in a separate pot (piti), or several portions in one pot (dushbara, watery khangal etc.).

Unlike common soups, watery Azerbaijani dishes are thicker for their consistency, because there is, as a rule, less amount of soup in their content.

And one feature, which makes the Azerbaijani cuisine different, is that sometimes national dishes are considered as both the main course and also second course. For example, piti, kufta-bozbash etc. First, soup of these dishes is eaten as a main course, then the remainder (meat, peas, potato etc.) as a second course.

Another feature of the Azerbaijani watery meals is the use of fat of a sheep’s tail. Fat is, as a rule, used in finely chopped form.

In preparation of watery meals in the Azerbaijani national cuisine, tomato paste or tomato puree is used very little. Instead of them, fresh tomato, and in winter, dried cherry-plum (in order to give sourish taste) and species containing colouring substance (saffron and yellow ginger) are used.

In the Azerbaijani culinary there are watery meals made from flour such as watery khangal, khamirashy, umaj. gurza, dushbara etc.

Firni, milky porridge, dovga, kalakosh, ovdukh etc. made from fresh milk, sour milk and sour clotted milk have spread widely.

Second national courses are basically prepared from mutton, as well as home birds, rice and veggies.

One of the widely spread meals in Azerbaijan is pilaf. There are more than 40 recipes of cooking this meal. They have been given certain names depending on the character of seasoning and types: govourma pilaf, sabzi-govourma, chicken pilaf, sweet pilaf, milky pilaf etc.

Kebab should specifically be mentioned as a second meal: basdyrma kebab, kebab from fillet, amateur kebab, liver kebab, kidney kebab etc.  are prepared from lump meat; lyulakebab, tavakebab, shamkebab etc. are made from forcemeat.

Second meals such as khashil, khingal with meat, suzma khingal, yarpaq khingal, gutab (from herbs, meat and pumpkin), chudu etc. made from flour have spread widely. 

Second courses made from fish such as fish kebab, kyukyu from omul in Azerbaijani style, chyghyrtma from fish, minced fish, steamed and boiled fish, fried fish, and pilaf with fish, pilaf with long-nosed fish and fish-mutanjim are widely spread meals.

In general, there are more than 100 second course meals prepared from meat, fish, vegetables and flour.

Meals of the Azerbaijani culinary such as pilaf, piti, lyulakebab, lavangi etc. are famous all over the world.

Serving meals in Azerbaijan has its original features: usually first is served tea, then directly second course (Azerbaijanis do not eat main course in parties, dinner-parties and weddings). Various types of herbs, fresh cucumber and tomato (in winter, pickled and marinated) are served additionally. In most cases, dovga is served after meal (especially after pilaf). This helps better digestion of meal.

Sweet meals as a third course are applied in exceptional circumstances in Azerbaijani culinary, and therefore assortment of these meals is limited. Firni, sujug, tarak and guymag are cooked more than the other sweet meals.

Taking meal in Azerbaijan ends with sherbet or sweets.

Azerbaijani national sweets are divided into three groups: floury, caramel-like, and bonbon-like products.

Floury sweets include shakarbura, baklava, shakarchorayi, kurabye in Baku style, Azerbaijan nany, roll-durmak in Ordubad style, Garabagh katasi, Gouba tykhmasy, Lankaran kulchasi, Shamakhy mutakkasi, baklava in Nakhchivan style etc. More than 30 assortments of national sweets made from flour are known. In addition, each region has its own specific sweets.

From the ancient times, shakarbura, baklava in Baku style, shakarchorayi etc are cooked in Baku. Sweets of Sheki are specifically well-known. Rice flour, sugar, kernel of a hazelnut, butter, egg white and species are used in preparation of baklava in Sheki style, peshveng, tel (ter halva), gyrmabadam etc.

Caramel-like sweets in Azerbaijan include sheker-pendir, parvarda, nut, hazelnut and almond gozinaks, noghul with seeds of coriander, halva with nut etc.

Bonbon-like sweets include rahatlukum (with different additions), noghul, glazed fig, feshmek etc.

Source: http://azerbaijan.tourism.az
Category: COOKERY | Added by: shamsi_84 (15.05.2011)
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