Celebrating Shabbat with Azerbaijani flavors

An exploration into the Azerbaijani kitchen.

By FAYE LEVY, YAKIR LEVY
July 8, 2016 23:57
Azerbaijani cuisine

Feride Buyuran's award winning cookbook highlights the great use of pomegranates, cardamom and basmati rice in Azerbaijani cuisine. (photo credit: YAKIR LEVY)

 
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For next Friday night we plan to prepare a chicken course that’s very different from the Shabbat chicken dishes we are accustomed to. It’s called Ganja-style chicken with eggs and it is from the city of Ganja in western Azerbaijan. (See recipe.) We tasted this delicious dish, which looks like a pashtida (pie) and requires only a few ingredients, at a presentation by Feride Buyuran, the award-winning author of the cookbook Pomegranates and Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan.

To go with the chicken we’ll prepare another Azerbaijani specialty – vegetable kebab salad made of vegetables grilled like kebabs. This salad needs no dressing because the juices from the grilled vegetables moisten it. (See recipe.) Fresh herbs are central to Azerbaijani cuisine. The dishes we sampled at Buyuran’s presentation were flavored with a variety of herbs – dill, basil, fresh coriander and mint. Herbs were used even in Buyuran’s sweet drinks, like her refreshing basil sharbat.

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