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So, you are in Baku! Suitcases and jet lag are left in your room, and walks around the city are in full swing. You’ve already strolled along the waterfront, listening to the whisper of the Caspian, climbed to the very top of the Maiden Tower, listened to old stories about the Shirvanshahs, wandered through the former homes of the great rulers, managed to fall in love with the mysterious entangled alleys of the Old City… And, for sure, you are hungry. What is not surprising is that Azerbaijanis like to eat delicious food. Tourists have come to associate Baku not only with the smell of sea and oil, but also with the delicious aroma of Azerbaijani cuisine.
In order to describe the wealth of Caucasian hospitality, it will take more than one page in a tourist booklet; even the whole booklet would hardly be enough. Better we tell you about the light, but tasty and nourishing Azerbaijani dishes. The famous lamb kebab, shah- pilaf and lavangi you will still try anyway – enjoy them best of all, for dinner. And for a quick snack on the go, we recommend choosing lighter meals.
Fertile lands have given us rich nature and a lot of greenery. Skilled housewives know dozens of recipes using fragrant herbs – coriander, celery, spinach, and many such plants that are found only in the Caucasus. Dolma in grape leaves is perhaps the most famous and at the same time original dish of Azerbaijani cuisine. Minced mutton with rice, fresh dill and seasonings wrapped in thin pre-marinated grape leaves. Even though it sounds unusual, the taste is simply inexpressible!
You should also definitely try dovga – this is usually served as a starter and consists of curdled milk and finely chopped greens with the addition of chickpeas. When served hot, dovga becomes an exotic alternative to the usual soup, and the cold version will peerfectly satisfy and cool you on a hot day.
It is difficult to talk about the local cuisine without mentioning pilaf – there are so many varieties that every gourmet will immediately find several favourites. Worth mentioning, for example, is pilaf with sabzi-govurma – white long-grain rice and spiced stewed greens with pieces of meat. You can leave out and the meal will become vegetarian.
In the ‘must-try’ list of a traveler through Azerbaijan, a separate place is occupied by gutabs. A thin dough, folded in the shape of a crescent, filled with fresh greens, meat or pumpkin. It is lightly fried in an overturned hot frying pan called a saj and served hot.
Salads in Azerbaijan are also a favourite..One very popular cold snack is Mangal Salad, whose name suggests the way of cooking. The secret of the aroma of the «smoke of the fire» is simple: eggplants, tomatoes and pepper are cooked on the grill and then cut into a salad. We advise you to try it!
We finish our short review with one of the most delicious dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine – this is a variety of dolma called Three Sisters. As it looks – eggplants, tomatoes and Bulgarian pepper (those same three ingredients) are filled with minced meat, fried with seasoning and herbs, and languish on a low heat until ready. The taste is unforgettable!
After a relaxing hearty dinner, and dessert comes the time for interesting conversation. The traditions of tea drinking in Baku are unshakable – this tart drink is drunk at any time of the day here, and in any weather. Order a tea set, and you will want to put off your walks and shopping for a later hour.
Along with a teapot of freshly brewed tea with thyme, poured into an armudu glass, tea will be served with assorted jams as well as nuts and dried fruits. We advise you to choose jam from walnuts, white cherries, and watermelon or rose petals and, of course, do not forget to try national pastries – baklava, Sheki halvasi, badambura.