Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve Icherisheher under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Azerbaĳani cuisine is one of the most interesting cuisines in the world, particularly in the East. Although there are some similarities with the traditions of the Caucasian and Central Asian nationalities, Azerbaĳani cuisine has its own unique flavor. When visiting Baku, gourmets fall in love with Azerbaijani cuisine. Some of the most well-known and traditional Azerbaĳani dishes include dolma, bozbash, chigirtma, khashil, kebab, piti, plov and govurma. Much of this cuisine now appears on the national menus of neighboring Caucasian nations. The majority of Azeri national dishes are made from mutton, beef and poultry. Dishes made of minced meat and fish (especially starred sturgeon and sturgeon) are widely known. Lula-kebabs, or kebabs made of minced meat, fish and chicken are also very popular. Vegetables and greens such as eggplant, sweet pepper, cabbage, spinach, sorrel, beet, radish, onion, cucumber and string beans are also an essential part of Azerbaĳani cuisine. In Baku cuisine, spices such as cumin, fennel, anise, bay leaf, coriander, mint, dill, parsley, celery, basil and thyme are widely used. Particularly popular spice is saffron which is used in more than 50 national dishes. Pastries are also important and popular in Azeri cuisine and include such things as kutabs, dushbara, khingal, gurza, and khamirash. Azerbaĳani dishes have been cooked in copper pots since ancient times. Even today, many residents of Icherisheher continue to follow this tradition of cooking food in copper pots, believing that food cooked in this manner tastes best of all. The most regal of all Azeri dishes is plov (rice) seasoned with a variety of different ingredients including lamb, chestnuts and dried alycha. A sweet plov contains raisins and dried apricots, a plov-sabza contains greens or herbs, a plov with chigirtma is made of chicken, scrambled eggs and poured with lemon juice, while a plov-fisinjan is made with minced meat, ground walnuts and poured with narsharab (pomegranate sauce). Azerbaĳan has a longstanding tradition of tea drinking and it is consumed always and everywhere! Tea is typically served to guests before a meal, it is served in many tea rooms where people come to socialize and chat, and it is served at the end of a meal. One advantage of tea drinking is that it allows people to communicate informally even within a large group of people. Tea in Azerbaĳan is a symbol of kind hospitality and is often served with preserves (jams) made of quince, fig, watermelon peel, apricot, sour-cherries, cherries, peaches, plums, cornel berries, walnuts, strawberry, blackberry, grapes and others. Spices such as dried thyme, clove, cardamom and others may be added to tea to give it a special flavor. Azeri desserts are also very diverse and include such dishes as pakhlava, shekerbura, gogal, tykhma, sherbets (made with a mixture of sweet water and lemon juice) and others. Many of these desserts are prepared for the national holiday of Novruz – the arrival of spring. Azerbaĳani wines, cognacs and brandies are world renowned for their excellent quality. Local grape breeds “bayanshiraz,” “tabrizi,” “tavkveri,” “ag-shany” and “gara-shany” are equally good for the production of light wines, as well as strong beverages. Residents of Baku, as well as all Azerbaĳanis, love to eat delicious food. Preparing and sharing a good meal is a ritual based on years of Azerbaĳani tradition.