Azerbaijan Cuisine

Azerbaijani cuisine, throughout the centuries, has been influenced by the foods of different cultures due to political and economic processes in Azerbaijan. Still, today’s Azerbaijani cuisine has distinctive and unique features. Many foods that are indigenous to the country can now be seen in the cuisines of other cultures. For the Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of the country’s culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values of the nation.

Out of 11 climate zones known in the world, Azerbaijan has nine.[1] This contributes to the fertility of the land, which in its turn results in the richness of the country’s cuisine. The Caspian Sea is home to many edible species of fish, including the sturgeon, Caspian salmon (a subspecies of trout, now critically endangered), Caspian white fish (kutum), sardines, grey mullet, and others. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of Azerbaijan’s best known delicacies well sought after in other parts of the world, including former Soviet countries.

Azerbaijani cuisine has over 30 kinds of soups, including those prepared from plain yogurt. There is a wide variety of kebabs and shashliks, including lamb, beef, chicken, and fish (baliq) kebabs. Sturgeon, a common fish, is normally skewered and grilled as a shashlik, being served with a tart pomegranate sauce called narsharab. The traditional condiments are salt, black pepper, sumac, and especially saffron, which is grown domestically on the Absheron Peninsula. A national dish of Azerbaijani cuisine is saffron-rice plov served with various herbs and greens, a combination totally different from Uzbek plovs. Azerbaijan has more than 40 different plov recipes. Dried fruits and walnuts are used in many dishes.

Azerbaijani cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, cilantro (coriander), dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leeks, chives, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress, are very popular and often accompany main dishes on the table.

Black tea is the national beverage, and it is drunk at the beginning of each meal before food is eaten. It is also a hospitality beverage that always welcomes guests, often accompanied by fruit preserves




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