Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recipes from Azerbaijan


I am always talking about how great the food is in Azerbaijan. Besides the fresh ingredients and bountiful fruits and vegetables available during most of the year, in Azerbaijan almost everything is made from scratch daily.

Many families also make their own bread. It is mostly white bread in round loaves. I always had the impression that making bread required lots of hand-kneading or time spent with a mixer. Azerbaijanis make bread without a lot of kneading and it looks and tastes just fine.


Take some lavash bread (round and flat—flatter than pita bread), sprinkle with a few tablespoons of grated or crumbled sheep or goat cheese and a few tablespoons of some fresh, chopped herbs. Put a little oil in a pan, fold the lavash in half with the contents inside. Fry for a minute or two until hot.

Roll up to eat or cut in pieces to eat it.

We have freshly cut bunches of herbs available every day. A good-sized bouquet of herbs is about 25 cents.

Garlic/Yogurt Sauce

Mix a couple of cups of plain yogurt with a few cloves of minced garlic. Let it sit for a day or so in a glass jar in the fridge. It makes a great topping for vegetables, pasta or to add to the top of soup or stew.

Beet Salad

I know, you don’t like beets, you don’t know what to do with them, etc. But many volunteers here like beets now. This salad is great and easy to make.

Serves 6

One pound of beets, cleaned and peeled
½ cup of small pieces of walnuts
8 cloves of garlic, minced
some mayonnaise or sour cream

Cook the beets in boiling water until you can get a fork through them, but not easily. Cool them off. Either shred the beets on a medium or fine part of a hand grater or put them in a food processor on the “grate” setting. Mix the walnuts, garlic and beets together and stir until everything is well mixed.

Add enough mayonnaise or sour cream and mix again until everything is stuck together somewhat. The amount of mayonnaise/sour cream is an individual decision. Taste and add salt and pepper if you want. Cool in the fridge until cold. Added excitement--your urine will be red for a couple of days. Maybe save this for Valentine's Day?

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