A book about Azerbaijani cuisine by Stalik Khankishiyev, “Bazar, kazan and dastarkhan”, has been named the winner of a contest in the Caroussel du Louvre gallery in Paris that involved culinary books from 65 countries and chefs from 10 countries.
Speaking to the awards ceremony, Khankishiyev, a promoter of Azerbaijan’s cuisine, also highlighted the country’s history, culture, music, and traditions.
Azerbaijani cuisine is one of the most interesting ones in the whole world and the Orient in particular. It is somewhat similar to the traditions of Caucasus and Central Asian people but has its distinct features. It is remarkable by the abundance of every possible type of meat, fish and vegetable dishes dressed by fragrant greens and spices.
The most experienced gourmets coming to Azerbaijan have become connoisseurs of its cuisine. The dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine are original and unique. It is not surprising that purely Azerbaijani dolma, bozbash, bozartma, chykhyrtma, khashil, Shish kebab, piti, pilaff, and govurma are included in the national menus of neighboring Caucasus nations.
Most of national meals are cooked from mutton, beef and poultry. Azerbaijanis as well as other Moslems do not eat pork. Dishes from chopped meat and, certainly, fish, are widespread here.
The variety of national foods also includes many dishes with rice, flour, vegetables and greens. The Azerbaijani cuisine widely uses such spices. Especially popular in the Azerbaijani cuisine is saffron: more than 50 national dishes are cooked with this herb! To enhance the flavors of dishes Azerbaijanis extensively use lemons, green and black olives, cherry plums, dried apricots, etc.
Pita, bread baked in tendir (furnaces for baking bread), is very popular in Azerbaijan.
Vegetable salads are special in the Azerbaijani cuisine as well. Salads are served as side dishes.
The Azerbaijani cuisine is not only tasty but also good for your health; this is evidenced by a lot of long-livers and centenarians in the country. Researchers say that it is due, firstly, to Azerbaijan’s salubrious climate, secondly, the healthy lifestyle of the people, and last but not least, the wholesome food and eating habits.
Tea is served first according to the tradition.
Azerbaijanis always drink tea, mainly black one, before dinner. As soon as guests arrive tea is the first thing to serve. The advantage of this tradition is that tea drinking with many guests around the table makes the conversation flow smoother. Tea is a symbol of hospitality in Azerbaijan.
After tea the main courses are served. Azerbaijanis normally do not serve soups at banquets, celebrations and weddings.
From the earliest times, in the Azerbaijani culinary tradition there is a rule: in order to prepare a delicious dish, the chef should be in a good mood, be a kind person, and is always encouraged to sing while cooking. A traditional Azerbaijani dinner lasts pretty long – about three hours or even more.