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Explore Azerbaijan's winter culinary delights

25 December 2023 [17:55] - TODAY.AZ
Laman Ismayilova

When it comes to winter, Azerbaijani food takes on a whole new level of comfort and warmth. From aromatic stews to delectable dumplings, Azerbaijani winter offers a diverse range of flavours that will satisfy your craving for hearty meals.

When you're in full-on cosy mode during the cold days, there's no better time to try these mouthwatering dishes.

AZERNEWS invites you to take on a culinary journey through some of the most popular winter dishes in the country.

Khash

Khash is made from beef tripe; in some regions, beef heads and tails are added to it. The peculiarity of the soup is that, unlike most Azerbaijani dishes, no spices or herbs are added to it. When serving, herbs and greens are served in a separate container.

This dish is mainly eaten in the winter to allow the body to get the necessary energy reserves and keep warm. Housewives serve the soup with small pieces of white bread, white radish, and hard cheeses. Thin lavash, or bread, is crumbled into the khash until it completely absorbs the broth. They eat it with a spoon or with their hands.

Khash is not only a satisfying dish, but also very healthy. For example, the gelatin and garlic contained in the soup help with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, strengthen the immune system, and preserve the youth and beauty of the skin.

Kufte bozbash

Kufte bozbash is a pea soup with meatballs. Kufta is served with various vegetable sauces, often as part of meat soups. Sometimes each meatball (kufta) contains a piece of sour fruit (cherry plum or plum). The dish became widespread among other peoples of the Caucasus, especially in public cooking in the second half of the 20th century.

Pilaf

Pilaf is a classic dish that takes center stage during the winter months. This aromatic rice dish is often prepared with tender lamb or chicken along with vegetables and fragrant spices.

Pilaf is usually served on its own dish or plate, with sauces or stews served in separate bowls. Qazmaq, a crust made at the bottom of the pan when the rice is steamed, is highly prized and is served in pieces with the rice or on a separate plate. It is traditionally served at large events, like celebrations and weddings, or before a long journey.

The national cuisine offers more than 40 different pilaf recipes. Most popular among them are Shakh, Parcha-Dosheme, Shirin and Fisinjan.

Shakh Pilaf (Crown pilaf) is the signature dish of national cuisine. The name of this dish is derived from its shape which resembles the crown of a Medieval Eastern ruler. It is traditionally presented as the main dish at wedding ceremonies in Azerbaijan.

Sadj

Whether it's lamb, chicken, or beef, marinated in a blend of herbs and spices, then grilled to perfection over an open fire, sadj is a true delight for meat lovers, especially during winter gatherings.

Sadj is actually the name of a flat pan or griddle over hot coals, but the term is also used to define the dish itself.

Before the invention of frying pans and a gas stove, it was used both for cooking and bread making, depending on the side used. One side was used for baking flatbreads, while another side was used to cook various dishes.

Delicious and aromatic sadj can be made from sturgeon, lamb or chicken.

Traditionally sadj is placed directly over wooden coals.

The oldest sadj dish is considered sadj-govurma. Cuts of meat and sheep tail fat are browned in butter, with onion added.

Piti

Piti is a beloved Azerbaijani winter specialty and a true symbol of comfort food. This traditional meat and vegetable stew is slow-cooked in individual clay pots to enhance the flavors. Tender lamb or beef, chickpeas, potatoes, onions, and aromatic spices come together in a harmonious blend that warms both the body and soul. The clay pots are typically topped with dough to create a seal, allowing the flavors to intensify as the dish cooks.

Erishde

Erishdes a traditional Azerbaijani dish that resembles a noodle soup or stew. The main highlight of the dish is the hand-cooked arishta (noodles) which is boiled along with dried sorrel. This soup consists of small homemade noodles simmered in a rich meat or chicken broth. The dish is served hot, providing a much-desired warmth during the colder months.

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