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Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people and the Armenian diaspora. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals raised in areas populated by Armenians. Armenian food is festive and it has influenced other Mediterranean cuisine.

Regional influences include the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and to a certain extent also influences from the Balkans.[1] Armenian cuisine and traditions in turn have influenced the culinary traditions of nearby countries and cities such as Aleppo.[2] The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing.[3] Lamb, eggplant, yoghurt, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to the maize and rice popular among its Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).

Armenian cuisine distinguishes itself from other regional cuisines in the following ways:

  • Simplicity: The flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on spices.
  • The extensive use of fruits and nuts in savory dishes. Of primary use are: dried apricots, fresh quince, fresh apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts (the latter mostly in Cilicia).
  • The use of pickles and pickled vegetables in savory foods.
  • The extensive use of stuffed items. In addition to grape leaves, Armenians also stuff cabbage leaves, Swiss chard leaves, eggplants, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, various meats (particularly organ meats), whole fish, apples, quince, and even cantaloupe.

it is from russia The primary sauces in Armenian cuisine are:

  • Tomato sauce. This must be a later addition, following the introduction of tomato in the region in the early 19th Century (see tomato).
  • Yogurt sauce.
  • Tahini (crushed sesame seed) sauce. This sauce is frequently substituted for yogurt sauce in Lenten dishes.

Unlike French sauces, Armenian sauces are cooked right with the food, creating a dish that combines elements of a stew and a soup.

Armenian cuisine uses spices sparingly. The primary spices used in Armenian cuisine are:

  • Garlic
  • Red pepper (particularly Aleppo pepper, which is a spicier variety of paprika)
  • Mint (in Western Armenia)
  • Dill (in Eastern Armenia, the current Republic of Armenia)
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Sumac (the powdered dried berry of the Mediterranean sumac bush)
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Mahlab (the powdered pit of the black cherry)
  • Rose water
  • Orange blossom water
  • Basil and bay leaves are used in certain dishes

Many regional recipes include additional local herbs whose use is almost completely forgotten today in the Diaspora.

Armenian foods include small appetizers called mezze, grain and herb salads, phyllo pastries called boeregs, grilled meats and skewers, a large variety of soups, stews, flat breads such as lavash, and a thin crust pizza variant called lahmajoun. Lahmajoun comes in many types. Unlike traditional pizza, it is meat based and contains other spices and herbs. There is also a vegetarian style to lahmajoun that uses a spicy tomato base. Lahmajoun is mostly found in Cilicia, in those areas close to Syria and Lebanon.

Contents

Appetizers

Meals in Armenia often start with mezze, a spread of appetizers served for "the table".[1] Lavash, extremely thin leavened wrap bread made from wheat flour, is the usual accompaniment for mezze.

  • Chechil (tel banir) – braided and pickled string cheese, similar to Georgian sulguni
  • Lahmajoun – a thin-crust pizza with a topping of ground meat
  • Boerek – Armenian fried pelmeni, cylinder-shaped with a filling of fried minced meat; served garnished with yoghurt and chopped garlic.[4]
  • Chee kufta (khema) – small patties of raw meat and fine bulghur (ձաւար) dish similar to steak tartar
  • Topig is a large vegetarian stuffed "meatball". The shell of the meatball is made of chick pea and wheat, while the stuffing is made with onions, walnuts, currants, tahini, and spices. This is primarily a Lenten dish and is often at Michink (the middle of Lent).
  • Eggplant caviar (ikra) -- a dip made with mashed roast eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices.

Salads

Armenian salads tend to be hearty, combining a grain or legume with tomato, onions, and fresh herbs.

  • Eetch -- cracked wheat salad, similar to the Middle Eastern tabouleh.
  • Lentil salad—brown lentils, tomatoes, onions, in a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and chopped parsley. This salad has many variations, with the lentils being replaced by chick peas, black-eyed peas, chopped raw or roasted eggplant, etc.
  • Jajukh—there are several varieties of this salad, which resembles a dip or cold soup. The cucumber jajukh is made with diced cucumbers in a yogurt/garlic sauce. The Swiss chard version is made with blanched, chopped chard in a thick "sauce" of drained yogurt and garlic. This salad is traditionally served on Easter Eve. The Lenten version of this (called "ajem jajukh") substitutes tahini, lemon juice, and little tomato sauce for the drained yogurt.

Boeregs

Boeregs are savory pies made with phyllo pastry and stuffed with cheese (banirov boereg, from Armenian: banir for cheese) or spinach (similar to spanakopita in Greek cuisine). They are a popular snack and fast food, often served as appetizer. The Sou boereg (su boeregi, or water burek, in Turkish cuisine) is a lasagna-style dish with sheets of phyllo pastry briefly boiled in a large pan before being spread with fillings.[5] Misov boereg is a bread roll (not phyllo pastry) stuffed with ground meat (similar to Russian pirozhki).

Semsek, from the region of Oorfa, is a fried open-faced meat boereg (like mini-pizzas).

A specific Lenten boereg is made with spinach and tahini sauce.

Grilled meats

Grilling (barbecue) is very popular in Armenia, and grilled meats are often the main course in restaurants and at family gatherings. Grilled meat is also eaten as fast food.

  • Khorovats (or khorovadz) – Armenian word for barbecued or grilled meats (the generic kebab in English), the most representative dish of Armenian cuisine enjoyed in restaurants, family gatherings, and as fast food. A typical khorovats is chunks of meat grilled on a skewer (shashlik), although steaks or chops grilled without skewers may be also included. In Armenia itself, khorovats is often made with the bone still in the meat (as lamb or pork chops). Western Armenians outside Armenia generally cook the meat with bones taken out and call it by the Turkish name shish kebab. On the other hand, the word kebab in Armenia refers to uncased sausage-shaped patties from ground meat grilled on a skewer (called losh kebab or lule kebab by diasporan Armenians and Turks). In Armenia today, the most popular meat for khorovats (including losh kebab) is pork due to Soviet-era economic heritage. Armenians outside Armenia usually prefer lamb or beef depending on their background, and chicken is also popular.
  • Gharsi khorovats – slivers of grilled meat rolled up in lavash, similar to the Middle Eastern shawarma and the Turkish doner kebab; this "shashlik Ghars style" takes its name from the city of Kars (Armenian: Ghars) in eastern Turkey, close to the Armenian border.[6]

Soups

Harissa served with vegetables
Manti with sour cream: an essential component of mantapour

Armenian soups include spas, made from yogurt, hulled wheat and herbs (usually cilantro),[7] and aveluk, made from lentils, walnuts, and wild mountain sorrel (which gives the soup its name).[8] Kiufta soup is made with large balls of strained boiled meat (kiufta) and greens.

Another soup, khash, is considered an Armenian institution. Songs and poems have been written about this one dish, which is made from cow's feet and herbs made into a clear broth. Tradition holds that khash can only be cooked by men, who spend the entire night cooking, and can be eaten only in the early morning in the dead of winter, where it served with heaps of fresh garlic and dried lavash.

T'ghit[citation needed] is a very special and old traditional food, made from t'tu lavash (fruit leather, thin roll-up sheets of sour plum puree),[9] which are cut into small pieces and boiled in water. Fried onions are added and the mixture is cooked into a purée. Pieces of lavash bread are placed on top of the mixture, and it is eaten hot with fresh lavash used to scoop up the mixture by hand.

Karshm is a local soup made in the town of Vaik in the Shirak Province. This is a walnut based soup with red and green beans, chick peas and spices, served garnished with red pepper and fresh garlic.[10] Soups of Russian heritage include borscht, a beet root soup with meat and vegetables (served hot in Armenia, with fresh sour cream) and okroshka, a yogurt or kefir based soup with chopped cucumber, green onion, and garlic.

  • Arganak – chicken soup with small meatballs, garnished before serving with beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, and parsley.[11]
  • Blghourapour – a sweet soup made of hulled wheat cooked in grape juice; served hot or cold.[12]
  • Bozbash – a mutton or lamb soup that exists in several regional varieties with the addition of different vegetables and fruits.[13]
  • Brndzapour – rice and potato soup, garnished with coriander.[14]
  • Dzavarapour – hulled wheat, potatoes, tomato puree; egg yolks diluted with water are stirred into the soup before serving.[15]
  • Flol – beef soup with coarsely chopped spinach leaves and cherry-sized dumplings (Armenian: flol) made from oatmeal or wheat flour.[16]
  • Harissaporridge of coarsely ground wheat with pieces of boned chicken
  • Katnapour – a milk-based rice soup, sweetened with sugar.[17][18]
  • Katnov – a milk-based rice soup with cinnamon and sugar.[19]
  • Kololik – soup cooked from mutton bones with ground mutton dumplings, rice, and fresh tarragon garnish; a beaten egg is stirred into the soup before serving.[20]
  • Krchik – soup made from sauerkraut, hulled wheat, potatoes, and tomato puree.[21]
  • Mantapour – beef soup with manti; the manti are typically served with yogurt or sour cream (ttvaser), accompanied by clear soup.[22]
  • Matsnaprtosh[citation needed] - this is the same as okroshka, referenced earlier, with sour clotted milk diluted with cold water, with less vegetation than okroshka itself. Matsnaprtosh is served cold as a refreshment and has the ability to normalize blood pressure.
  • Putuk – mutton cut into pieces, dried peas, potatoes, leeks, and tomato puree, cooked and served in individual crocks.[23]
  • Sarnapour – pea soup with rice, beets and yogurt.[24]
  • Snkapur – a mushroom soup.[25]
  • Tarkhana – flour and yogurt soup
  • Vospapour – lentil soup with dried fruits and ground walnuts.[26]
  • Pekhapour (mustache soup) -- chick peas, shelled wheat (ծեծած), lentils, in a vegetarian broth and fresh tarragon. This soup originates from Aintab.

Fish

  • Ishkhan – Sevan trout (endangered species), served steamed, grilled on a skewer, or stuffed and baked in the oven
  • Sig – a whitefish from Lake Sevan, native to northern Russian lakes (endangered species in Armenia)
  • Karmrakhayt (alabalagh) – a river trout,[27] also produced in high-altitude artificial lakes (e.g., the Mantash Reservoir in Shirak Province).[28]
  • Kogak – an indigenous Lake Sevan fish of the carp family, also called Sevan khramulya (overfished)

Main courses

  • Fasulya (fassoulia) – a stew made with green beans, lamb and tomato broth or other ingredients
  • Ghapama – pumpkin stew
  • Kchuch – a casserole of mixed vegetables with pieces of meat or fish on top, baked and served in a clay pot
  • Tjvjik – a dish of fried liver and kidneys with onions
  • Satsivi - pieces of roast chicken in walnut sauce, taken from Georgian cuisine

Meat products

Armenian basturma
  • Basturma – a highly seasoned, air-dried raw beef, similar to pastrami
  • Yershig – a spicy beef sausage (called sujuk in Turkey)
  • Kiufta – meaning meatball comes in many types, such as Hayastan kiufta, Kharpert kiufta (Porov kiufta), Ishli kiufta, etc.

Dairy products

  • Labneh – Strained dense yogurt made from sheep, cow, or goat milk; often served in mezze with olive oil and spices
  • Matsoun – yogurt
  • Tahn (ayran) – a sour milk drink prepared by diluting yogurt with cold water
  • Ttvaser – sour cream in Armenian; also known by the Russian-derived word smetan

Bread

Choreg at an Armenian Easter celebration
  • Lavash – the staple bread of Armenian cuisine
  • Matnakash – soft and puffy leavened bread, made of wheat flour and shaped into oval or round loaves; the characteristic golden or golden-brown crust is achieved by coating the surface of the loaves with sweetened tea essence before baking.[29]
  • Paghach – flaky layered bread.[30]
  • Choereg (or choreg) – braided bread formed into rolls or loaves, also a traditional loaf for Easter.[30]

Sweets

  • Alani – pitted dried peaches stuffed with ground walnuts and sugar.[31]
  • Kadaif (ghataif) – shredded dough with cream, cheese, or chopped walnut filling, soaked with sugar syrup.[32]
  • Anoushabour – dried fruits stewed with barley, garnished with chopped almonds or walnuts (a traditional Christmas pudding).[32]
  • Bastegh (pastegh) - homemade fruit leather.
  • T'tu lavash – thin roll-up sheets of sour plum puree (fruit leather).

They often have bakeries.

Ritual foods

  • Nshkhar -- bread used for Holy Communion
  • Mas -- literally means "piece" a piece of leftover bread from the making of Nshkhar, given to worshippers after church service
  • Matagh -- sacrificial meat. can be of any animal such as goat, lamb, or even bird.

Drinks

Non-alcoholic

  • Armenian coffee -- strong black coffee, finely ground, sometimes sweet
  • Kefir -- fermented milk drink
  • Kvas -- sweet, fermented bread drink
  • Than – yoghurt drink (still or carbonated)
  • Jermuk -- a brand of mineral water from the Jermuk area
  • Hayq, Sari – a brand of bottled mountain spring water from the Jermuk area (in Armenian Hayq stands for Armenia and Sari for from the mountains).
  • Tarkhun soda -- tarragon flavored

Alcoholic

  • Beer (popular brands: Kotayk, Erebuni, Kilikia, Gyumri)
  • Armenian brandy (popular brand names Ararat, Dvin)
  • Oghi – an Armenian vodka, usually distilled from fruit;[33][34] also called aragh.[35] Artsakh is a well-known brand name of Armenian mulberry vodka (tuti oghi) produced in Nagorno-Karabakh from local fruit.[36] In the Armenian Diaspora, where fruit vodka is not distilled, oghi refers to the aniseed-flavored distilled alcoholic drink called arak in the Middle East, raki in Turkey, or ouzo in Greece.[37][38]
  • Pomegranate wines – sweet and semi-sweet fruit wines made from pomegranate juice.
  • Areni wines are red wines made from the Armenian Аreni grape (Vayots Dzor region). While most Areni wines are dry, Vernashen is semi-sweet.
  • Ijevan – a dry white wine from the Tavush region (Lalvari grape). Semi-sweet red Ijevan is produced from the Kakhet grape in Tavush, while dry red Ijevan is made from Areni grapes and is properly classified as an Areni wine.[39]
  • Mulberry Vodka A traditional Armenian vodka made from distilling the Mulberry, which is a berry grown all over Armenia, especially in the highlands and Artsakh.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press, p. 35.
  2. ^ Malouf, Greg (21 May 2007)."My kind of town: Aleppo", The Daily Telegraph (London).
  3. ^ Pokhlebkin, V. V. (1978). Russian Delight: A Cookbook of the Soviet People. London: Pan Books.
  4. ^ Boraki recipe (Russian)
  5. ^ Sou boereg recipe, ChowHound.
  6. ^ Gharsi (Karsi) khorovats, ArmenianFood.ru.
  7. ^ Petrosian, Irina; Underwood, David (2006). Armenian food: Fact, fiction & folklore, Bloomington, IN: Yerkir, p. 60. ISBN 1411698657 (parts accessible through Amazon Online Reader).
  8. ^ Aveluk soup on the menu of Erivan Restaurant in St. Petersburg.
  9. ^ T'tu lavash described here.
  10. ^ "Karshm" soup, Travel Guide to Shirak.
  11. ^ Arganak recipe on ArmeniaFood.ru (Russian)
  12. ^ Blghourapour recipe on Gnozis.info (Russian)
  13. ^ Bozbash in Uvezian, Sonia, The Cuisine of Armenia, Siamanto Press, Northbrook, IL, 2001 (parts accessible through Amazon Online Reader).
  14. ^ Brndzapour recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  15. ^ Dzavarapour recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  16. ^ Flol recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  17. ^ Katnapour recipe on Menu.am (Armenian)
  18. ^ Katnapour recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  19. ^ Katnov recipe on Menu.am (Armenian)
  20. ^ Kololik recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  21. ^ Krchik recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  22. ^ Mantapour recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  23. ^ Putuk recipe on ArmenianFood.ru (Russian)
  24. ^ Sarnapour (Armenian: սառնապուր) recipe atHaytun.pi.am (Armenian)
  25. ^ Armenian cookbook
  26. ^ Vospapour recipe on Armenian National Cuisine (Russian)
  27. ^ Karmrakhayt in Marmarik River
  28. ^ Karmrakhayt in Mantash Reservoir
  29. ^ Matnakash recipe on Armenian Portal in Estonia. (Russian)
  30. ^ a b Bread recipes in Adventures in Armenian Cooking
  31. ^ Alani described on Million Menu
  32. ^ a b Desserts on Adventures in Armenian Cooking
  33. ^ Oghi, an Armenian fruit vodka
  34. ^ Oghi, homemade fruit vodka in Southern Armenia
  35. ^ Aragh, Armenian moonshine
  36. ^ Artsakh mulberry vodka
  37. ^ Hacikyan, Agop Jack; Basmajian, Gabriel; Franchuk, Edward S.; Nourhan Ouzounian (2000). The Heritage of Armenian Literature. Wayne State University Press. pp. 815. ISBN 0814332218. 
  38. ^ Sherman, Chris (26 July 2006). "The spirit of relaxation", St Petersburg Times, Florida.
  39. ^ Ijevan Winery (Russian)

General references

  • The Cuisine of Armenia by Sonia Uvezian, Dikran Palulian (Illustrator)
  • Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore, Irina Petrosian and David Underwood

External links


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