About Azerbaijan History and Cuisine

Azerbaijan – one of the oldest centers of civilization. Azerbaijani culture goes back thousands of years deep.

“Father of History” Herodotus, who lived in the V century BC, said that in the land of Azerbaijan in ancient times were established remarkable monuments. On the aesthetic tastes and outlook of the ancient ancestors of Azerbaijanis throughout the ages show and rock carvings in Gobustan, Nakhichevan, Apsheron, the findings of archaeologists in the area of one of the earliest human settlements, Azyhskoy cave.

The long and thorny path passed Azeri people for thousands of years. A lot of testing has made the ancient country of lights, many times it became a place of crossing “copies” and took to their boards with new strikes fated his destiny. But despite all the predictions in each case, the ruins left behind by conquerors or geological hazards, and again revived the new culture of the province.

Cramped on three sides by mountains with stone hands, but on the other hand washed by the moist breath of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan is a unique geographical layout of our planet. The diversity of terrain and sea are represented by a factor 9 of the 11 existing in the world climate types.

In Azerbaijan, you can watch all four seasons. So lush vegetation of the humid subtropical zone next to the eternal snows and glaciers Shahdagh and Murovdaga, filled with spring scent in the woods Ismayilly, Lachin, Kelbajar with hot-Mil, Mugan and Shirvan steppes, fog and rain over the fertile valleys, tea, and perfumed citrus plantations in foothills Talish-hot and gusty north-Khazri-Apsheron.

The natural contrasts, the wealth of natural resources, complex backgrounds, giving Azerbaijan features unique geographical identity. Contributed to this independent state, it has played a significant role in its further development.

Azerbaijan is considered to be the long edge. And there really are many people, who are over 100 years old. Scientists explain this phenomenon of many ingredients: a favorable climate, lifestyle, and, last but not least, a healthy diet and proper nutrition, an important factor, positively affecting the efficiency and the life and largely determines the duration of life.

The art of cooking in Azerbaijan is rooted in the depths of centuries. Archaeologists in many areas of Azerbaijan found primitive stone tools, made in the time of the Stone Age. At the sites of ancient human found stone axes, hammers, utensils and other utensils, indicating the emergence of pockets of pastoral and primitive farming. These ancient objects, which our ancestors met their physical needs as well as images of Gobustan rock-a kind of ethnographic encyclopedia of people, helping to penetrate the secrets of the times of human civilization.

In Azerbaijan, as early as the Neolithic population of cultivated wheat and barley, and employees, along with meat the main raw material for cooking. In the Bronze Age to the development of pastoralism in the diet ancestors were composed and products from milk. The Azeris have since time immemorial enjoyed clay churn. Later in the evolution of improved nutrition, culinary ability of the Azerbaijani people.

Azerbaijan cuisine belongs to one of the most interesting cuisines worldwide. It is well known among the Eastern cuisines, but some of the dishes are included in the menu of international cuisine. A lot of it is historically based, as appropriate, on the relevant national tastes, lifestyles, etc. Azerbaijan cuisine dishes are mentioned in ancient written sources, records of travelers and explorers.

Azerbaijan’s geographic location at the crossroads of ancient trade routes and the busiest north-south and from east to west on the one hand contributed to the penetration of the generous gifts of the Azerbaijani lands on the world market, but on the other – the recognition of animal and plant diversity in Azerbaijan produced hard-working and skilled hands of the Azerbaijani laborers.

Historically, the life of the Azerbaijani people run and developed in close proximity with other people-neighbors, the Georgians, Armenians, Persians, Turks, Lezgins. This, of course, is due to the similarity of their national cuisines. However, the Azeri cuisine and has its own distinctive national flavor, reflected in the specificity of cooking techniques, aromatic taste, color and traditions of the Azerbaijani feast.

With the growth of material well-being of people in the Soviet years has improved the range and quality of food products. Azerbaijan kitchen on the composition and diversity of dishes is one of the most delicious and healthy cuisine. It is notable for an abundance of all kinds of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, complemented by aromatic herbs and spices.

The most sophisticated gourmets coming to Azerbaijan from different corners of the world will come to the delight of the thin delicacy of taste and flavor of dishes Azerbaijani cuisine. Azerbaijani cuisine and dishes are original and unique. They are not confused with other dishes of national cuisines.
It’s no secret that the cuisine of Azerbaijan enjoys continued popularity among other nations, as well as purely Azerbaijani dishes as dolma, bozbash, bozartma, chyhyrtma, hashil, shish kebab, Petey, pilaf, govurma included in the national menu neighboring Caucasian peoples. In turn, through cultural exchanges, some dishes people-neighbors are widespread in the Azerbaijani media.

Even in the second half of XIX century and beginning of XX century in the Shaki famous master of preparation under the name of Petey Horuz-ogly. In order to taste his delicious piti people from all over Azerbaijan specially came to Sheki. Petey in Shaki prepared from mutton bones bases with the addition of saffron. Piti prepared from of old in South Azerbaijan (Tabriz), and they rightly consider it a national dish of Azeri people. Later this dish under a different name was included in the cuisines of neighboring peoples.

Azerbaijan cooking on cooking characteristics and taste of food, as well as the use of sharp spices and seasonings is much closer to the eastern cuisine.

Currently, Azerbaijan cookery, preserving the specific features of the old ways of cooking, has modified them taking into account the modern culinary demands.

The Azerbaijani national dishes have long been preparing for copper utensils. And now in many areas and rural areas of Azerbaijan dishes cooked in the copper pan, turn out tastier. Therefore, items of the Azerbaijani national cuisine (pot, durshlag, bowl, tray, skimmer, polovnik, etc.) mainly made of copper. It should be noted that, as in the past, and now, copper pots and other utensils in special workshops periodically treated with tin (tinning) to prevent falling into the food, and therefore in the body, large quantities of copper. Some national dishes in the cafes and restaurants are served in special earthenware (pitishnitse), where they are preparing.
Most of the national dishes prepared from meat of lamb, beef and poultry. Meals of minced meat are widely distributed. The sea, lakes and rivers of the republic are rich sources of fish of various species of fish, especially sturgeon and stellate sturgeon. Sturgeon and flake fish are basically used in Azeri cuisine.

Azerbaijan cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables, especially green vegetables, eggplant, sweet peppers (biber), cabbage, spinach, sorrel, beets, radish, onions, cucumbers, green beans, etc. The range of national dishes varies with many culinary products from rice, flour, vegetables and green vegetables.

In the Azerbaijani cuisine is widely used by local spices such as saffron, cumin, fennel, anise, bay leaf, coriander, and the spicy flavor leaf vegetables as mint, dill, parsley, celery, tarragon, basil, savory, thyme, etc. In the Azerbaijani cuisine, with the addition of saffron prepare 50 different dishes and 10 different flour confectionery products.

To improve the taste of foods commonly used lemons, olives, olives, edible acid, abgora, azgil-Sharab, narsharab, cherry-plum, albuhara, mountain dogwood, Akhtala, dried apricots, lavashana, sumac, etc.

Salads of fresh vegetables in the kitchen of Azerbaijan have a special place. When cooking with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, coriander and basil, cut the vegetables very finely. You eat this salad with the main dishes.

In the modern Azerbaijani cuisine from salads and snacks available salad “Khazar”, “Azerbaijan”, “Bahar”, salad of red caviar, Shaki salad, kyukyu of greens, kyukyu of Kutum, kyukyu of nuts, beans fisindzhan of maroon and etc. As cold snacks are served to the table separately for different liquid and a second different salting meat dishes and pickles, pickled garlic, chili, eggplant, hyafta-bedzhar, onions, marinated with thorns, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
In the Azerbaijani national cuisine there are more than 30 titles of the first dishes. This is all kinds of meat dishes (piti, kyufta-bozbash, shorba, etc.), dishes of sour milk and greens (dovga, ovduh, dogramach, Balvi, etc.).

In the manufacture of certain dishes, each prepared in a separate portion of utensils (Petey), or in a small number of servings (dyushbara, Sulu-Hingan etc.).

Unlike conventional soups Azerbaijan first courses of their consistency are more concentrated and dense, as they usually contain a small amount of broth.

A distinctive feature of the Azeri cuisine is that some national dishes replace both the first and second meals. For example, piti, kyufta-bozbash etc. The broth is served separately, and then the rest (meat, peas, potatoes) as a main dish, but cooked together.

Another characteristic of the Azerbaijani liquid foods is used in their manufacture fat, which usually lay in a dish of finely minced form.

For the first filling dishes tomato paste or tomato sauce is used very rarely. Instead, this summer, use fresh tomatoes, and winter-dried alchu (to make sour taste) and spices with a coloring matter (saffron, sarykek).

In Azerbaijan, there are a wide variety of kitchen flour first dish-Sulu-Hingan, hamrashi, umach, kyurza, dyushbara, etc.

Widespread dishes made from fresh and sour milk or katyka, such as firni, syudlu syyyg, dovga, kelekosh, ovduh etc.

Main courses are prepared mainly from the lamb, as well as poultry, fowl, vegetables and rice.
One of the most popular dishes in the Azerbaijan – is plov. There are about 40 recipes for cooking this dish. Depending on the nature and type of additions pilav is called: kourma pilaf (with lamb stew), plov sobza kourma (with stewed mutton and greens), toyug pilaf (with chicken), the width of pilaf (with sweet dried fruits), syudli pilaf (rice boiled in milk), etc.

From the second course should emphasize barbecues: basturma-kebab, skewers of teriyaki, barbecue amateur, skewers of liver and kidney prepared from natural meat; lyulya-kebab, Tawali-kebab, Sham-kebab, and others are made from minced meat.

From the second pastry dishes are widespread hashil, Hingan with meat, syuzma Hingan, yarpag Hingan, kutaby (with meat, pumpkin, greens), chyudyu etc.

Many other dishes are prepared from fish. Shashlik Sturgeon, Kutum in Azerbaijan, kyukyu of Kutum, balyg chyhyrtma, stuffed fish, boiled, fried, stewed, balyg-pilau, pilaf with sevruga and balyg mutyadzhyam – the most common fish in Azerbaijan.

Second dishes made from meat, fish, vegetables and flour, there are over 100 items.
Such dishes Azerbaijan cookery as pilaf, Petey, Lula-kebab, stuffed fish on the Azeri and others have the deserved attention in the world.

Peculiar manner of filing of dishes: first, by tradition is served tea, followed by a second dish, the Azerbaijanis at banquets, celebrations and weddings are not usually the first dish is served, to the same table every possible greens, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers (salted or pickled in winter). Often, after dinner (especially pilau) served dovga, arguing that dovga prepared from sour milk and greens, promotes better learning of the previous meal (rice, meat, etc.).

In Azerbaijan kitchen Sweet (third) dishes have very limited use and therefore their range is negligible. From the sweet dishes are prepared firni, sudzhug, tarah and kuymag.

Traditionally, meal, i.e. breakfast, lunch or dinner ends with sweets. “Food,” said Ivan Pavlov, “started with pleasure because of the need for food, have to finish them, despite the satisfaction of needs, with the object of that pleasure is a substance that did not require a work of the digestive … sugar.” Based on these provisions there have long been in Azerbaijan vow ends sherbet or sweets.

The Azerbaijani national confectionery products are divided into three groups – flour, jelly and sweet products.

To the flour products include: Shekera-borer, pahlava, Shekera-churek, kurabe Baku, roll Ordubad, kyata Karabakh, tyhma Cuban, kyulcha Lenkeran, mutaki Shamakha, pahlava Nakhichevan and the other national flour products comprise more than 30 titles, with in each area has its own special products.

In Baku has long been preparing Shekera-buru, Baku pahlavu, Shekera-churek and other sweets. A special place is occupied by Sheki sweets. This pahlava Shaki, peshvenk, phone (telhalva) gyrmabadam and others, which is used in the production of rice flour, sugar, nut kernel, butter, egg whites and spices.

From jelly sweets in Azerbaijan are preparing Shekera-pendir, parvarda, kozinaki of nuts, kinzovy nogul, Goz paste, etc.

From “sweet” sweets should be noted Turkish delight (with various additions) nogul bitmish, filler figs, sherbet, feshmek etc.

In Azerbaijan, the most common drink is sherbet. To prepare the sorbet using sugar, lemon, saffron, seeds of mint and basil, as well as different fruits.

Azerbaijani to receive the basic food drink tea, mainly black. A long tradition in Azerbaijan: immediately after the arrival of guests, serve them tea. The advantage of this tradition is that drinking tea in the crowded company has to communicate enjoyment. Tea in Azerbaijan is a symbol of warm hospitality.

By tea served from quince jam, figs, watermelon crusts, apricots, cherries, cherries, peaches, plums, kizils, walnuts, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, berries of the mulberry, etc. If tea is sometimes added in small amounts dried leaves of inflorescence savory, clove, cardamon and other spices, which give the tea the special flavor.

Out of cinnamon (darchyn tea) and ginger (zyandzhafil tea) is also preparing a special tea. In recent years, has become a popular coffee and cooked in the east.

Sometimes the tea add rose water. This gives the tea the special flavor and well quenches thirst. Rose water is also a special drink, sherbet, which is called in the Sheki-Zakatalskoy Zone ovshala.
Azerbaijan is rich in rare sources of mineral waters. “Turshu-su”, “Isti-Su, Sirab, Darydag and others have therapeutic value. Characteristically, “Badamly” is currently the only republic in the canteen of water. That has been universally recognized far beyond the republic. On the territory of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, there are about 140 mineral springs.

From generation to generation, evolved and developed Azerbaijani cookery, which were typical dishes with high nutritional qualities and spicy taste, beautiful appearance.

We hope that this site will create the visitors a detailed and thorough understanding of the Azerbaijani kitchen and help them in everyday domestic concerns.

Ahmedov I.A. From the book “The Azerbaijan cookery.
Ishyg publishing.