The Foods eaten by the people of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani cuisine has a rich history influenced by its unique geography, various Turkic, Persian, and other regional culinary traditions, and its status as a significant hub on the Silk Road. Over the past 500 years, the country's diet has evolved, but some core elements have remained.

Grains:

  • Rice: Often served as "plov" or pilaf, sometimes with saffron, dried fruits, or meat.
  • Bread: Flatbreads like "tendir" and other types of bread are common staples.

Meat:

  • Lamb: The most commonly consumed meat, often grilled as kebabs or cooked in stews.
  • Chicken: Also popular, especially in dishes like "buglama" (a type of stew) and kebabs.
  • Fish: Particularly sturgeon and trout, commonly found in the Caspian Sea, are part of the diet.

Dairy:

  • Yogurt: Consumed as a drink ("ayran") or used in various dishes.
  • Cheese: Varieties like "pendir," a feta-like cheese, are common.

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Tomatoes, Eggplants, and Peppers: These are often stuffed with a mixture of meat, rice, and spices ("dolma").
  • Pomegranates: Used both as a fruit and in sauces, reflecting its cultural importance.

Legumes:

  • Beans and Lentils: Used in stews and as accompaniments.

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Walnuts and Almonds: Used in various dishes, including desserts.
  • Sesame Seeds: Used in bread-making and desserts.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Coriander, Mint, Dill, and Basil: These herbs are commonly used in Azerbaijani cooking.
  • Saffron, Turmeric, and Sumac: Spices that are frequently used, especially in rice dishes.

Beverages:

  • Tea: An essential part of Azerbaijani culture, usually served in a pear-shaped glass.
  • Sherbet: A non-alcoholic sweet beverage made from fruit juices and extracts.

Sweets and Desserts:

  • Pakhlava: Similar to baklava, this dessert is made of pastry layers and a filling of ground nuts, sweetened with syrup or honey.
  • Shekerbura: A sweet pastry filled with ground nuts and sugar.
  • Halva: A dense, sweet confection made from sesame or sunflower seeds.

Other Elements:

  • Eggs: Often used in various dishes, including with herbs to make "kuku" (an Azerbaijani frittata-like dish).

Azerbaijani cuisine is a blend of flavors and techniques, influenced by the various empires, cultures, and nations that have interacted with the region over the past 500 years. While the culinary landscape has adapted and incorporated new elements, the fundamental components—lamb, rice, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and an array of herbs and spices—have remained consistent.

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