– Azerbaijani cuisine refers tothe cooking styles and disheswith origins in the nation ofAzerbaijan and prepared byAzerbaijani people around theworld. Throughout thecenturies, Azerbaijani cuisinehas been influenced by thefoods of different cultures,though at the same time, itremained distinctive andunique. Many foods that areindigenous to the country cannow be seen in the cuisines ofother cultures. For theAzerbaijanis, food is animportant part of thecountrys culture and is deeplyrooted in the history,traditions and values of thenation.
Azerbaijani cuisine has a number oflight snacks and side dishes to open oraccompany the main meals: a plate ofaromatic green leaves called goy, piecesof chorek (bread), choban (a tomatoand cucumber salad), and sometimeswhite cheese or qatik (souryoghurt).Cold snacks are generallyserved separately from drinks.Light snacks of Azerbaijani cuisine.
Main dishes• Dolma the traditional recipe calls for mincedlamb mixed with rice and flavoured withmint, fennel and cinnamon, and wrapped invine leaves (yarpaq dolması) or cabbageleaves (kələm dolması). There are also soursweet cabbage dolma (turş şirin kələmdolması) and fish dolma (balıq dolması).• Badımcan Dolması tomato, sweet pepper andaubergine stuffed with minced lamb mixedwith chickpeas.• Dushbara small dumplings stuffed withminced lamb and herbs, served in broth.• Lavangi a casserole of chicken stuffed withwalnuts and herbs. A speciality of the Talyshregion in southern Azerbaijan, but verydifficult to find common in restaurants.• Lyulya kabab A mixture of mutton, herbs andspices squeezed around a skewer andbarbecued, often served with lavash (thinsheets of unleavened bread).
• Qutab a sort of pancake turnoverstuffed with minced lamb, cheese orspinach.• Tika kabab chunks of lamb marinated ina mixture of onion, vinegar andpomegranate juice, impaled on a largeskewer and grilled on the barbecue. InRussian, called шашлык, from Turkicshishlyk (literally, "for skewer").• Qovurma Pieces of mutton or lamb onthe bone (blade chops) stewed withonions, tomatoes, and saffron. There isalso sabzi qovurma, a lamb stew withherbs.• Sogan dolmasi The term dolma covers avariety of stuffed vegetable dishes,widespread in the Middle East and theMediterranean. Onion dolma are atasty winter alternative to stuffedaubergines, tomatoes and peppers.
Soups • Piti The national soup of Azerbaijan made frompieces of mutton on the bone cooked withvegetables in a broth; prepared and served inindividual crocks.• Kufta bozbash a pea soup with lamb meatballs andboiled potatoes. The meatballs in kufta bozbash arelarge, hearty and made of minced lamb and rice,sometimes with a zesty dried plum inside.• Sulu khingal Lamb soup with noodles.• Toyuq shorbasi Chicken soup• Dovga a yoghurt based soup (matsoni) with sorrel,spinach, rice, dried peas, and small meatballs madefrom ground mutton; served hot or cold dependingon the season. Ovduk a cold soup based on amatsoni–water mixture poured over slicedcucumbers, chopped boiled meat, quarters of hard-boiled egg, and greens (dill, coriander, basil,sometimes also mint and tarragon).• Dogramach same as ovdukh, but without the meat.Bolva Made with sour milk.
Types of Plov• Plov being prepared in a qazan• Plov is one of the most widespreaddishes in Azerbaijan, with more than 40different recipes. Plovs have differentnames depending on the mainingredients accompanying rice• Azerbaijani plov consists of threedistinct components, servedsimultaneously but on separate platters:rice (warm, never hot), gara, fried meat,dried fruits, eggs, or fish prepared as anaccompaniment to rice, and aromaticherbs. Rice is not mixed with the othercomponents even when eating plov.
Desserts• PakhlavaTypical Azeri desserts are sticky, syrup-saturatedpastries such as pakhlava and halva. The latter, alayer of chopped nuts sandwiched between matsof thread-like fried dough, is a speciality of Shakiin North-West Azerbaijan. Other traditionalpastries include shakarbura (crescent-shaped andfilled with nuts), peshmak (tube-shaped candymade out of rice, flour and sugar) andgirmapadam (pastry filled with chopped nuts).Sweets are generally bought from a pastry shopand eaten at home or on special occasions suchas weddings and wakes. The usual conclusion toa restaurant meal is a plate of fresh fruit that is inseason, such as plums, cherries, apricots orgrapes.
• DrinksBlack tea is Azerbaijans national drink• SherbetsAn Azerbaijani sherbet is a sweet colddrink made of fruit juice mixed or boiledwith sugar, often perfumed with rosewater. Sherbets (not to be confused withsorbet ices) are of Iranian origin and theymay differ greatly in consistency, fromvery thick and jam-like (as in Tajik cuisine)to very light and liquid, as inAzerbaijan.Sherbets are typically preparedin the following natural flavors