WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT ARMENIA
Rich Armenian cuisine, abundance of fruits and vegetables
Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest in Europe; it thrives on ancient culinary traditions of the Armenian people. The cuisine reflects the history and geography of the Armenian settlements as well as has traces of the cultural influence from Europe and the East.
So what exactly characterizes traditional Armenian cuisine? First of all, Armenians focus on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than the spices. Secondly, Armenians more than anyone else love using fruits and nuts: dried apricots, fresh quince and apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine-nuts. Thirdly, Armenians rarely use dried spices, giving preference to fresh herbs.
Traditional Armenian meal often begins with the hors-d'oeuvre, usually cheese or meatballs. Sometimes the meal starts with vegetable salads, small pies with cheese or spinach or soups. Because of the warm climate, soups are predominantly cold or spicy if hot. Soups are served together with lavash (an Armenian thin flatbread served with most of the dishes).
Then comes the main course. Perhaps it won’t be wrong to say that grilled meat, namely a variety of barbeques and steaks, is the most popular main dish in Armenia. Very often Armenians eat lamb and beef, though poultry is also popular. There are also fish dishes prepared mostly from trout and whitefish.
Then again, for a dessert Armenians prefer natural products such as fresh or dried fruits, honey and nuts. For holidays families make special sweet cakes with various nut or fruit fillings. The food culture plays a central role in Armenian cuisine. Here people believe that dining and drinking in a good mood benefit your health, hence the importance of the feasts in the Armenian culinary culture.
Armenian Khorovats (barbeque)
The moment you say “khorovats”, the mouth starts watering and memories of hot summer days come to mind.
Armenians make barbeque mainly of pork, though during the recent period beef kebab has been becoming more and more popular.
Rinse the meat and cut it into pieces. Add onions, cut into rings, and the seasoning. Stir everything together and leave the meat to marinate for 1 hour. Then thread meat onto the skewers. 10-15 minutes on the wood grill, and the barbeque is ready! Don’t forget to turn it upside down a couple of times. Bon appétit!
Still wondering what makes Armenian barbeque so special? The answer is simple: the quality of the meat and the marinating technique.
To prepare true dolma you need to have fresh meat, grape leaves and various spices. Arguably, the recipe has three stages: preparation of grape leaves, preparation of the staffing, assembling dolmas and simmering at medium heat until ready.
Place the grape leaves (fresh or defrosted in the boiling salted water. Take the leaves out as soon as they change the colour and remove the stems from the leaves. In a separate bowl mix together the minced beef, onions and such spices as thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Then wrap the staffing in the leaves. When all the dolmas are assembled, put them in the pot with salted water, cover the pot with a plate and simmer at medium heat until ready. Simply try the dolma to check the doneness.
Average time of simmering is 30-50 minutes. While dolma is getting ready, prepare the garlic sauce with the sour cream: crush some garlic into the sour cream and stir well.
Sevan trout is a national dish of the Armenian cuisine which, skilfully prepared, can take less than 1 hour. Naturally, the main ingredient is the trout from Sevan lakeJ.
Rinse, gut and scale the trout. Stuff the trout with vegetables and greenery and drizzle with lemon juice. Then place the trout on the baking pan, previously adding some good olive oil.
This simple dish is sometimes prepared with other spices, such as ginger and lemon zest. For this recipe you have to grate the ginger and lemon zest and then sprinkle the trout with lemon zest, ginger and garlic. The fish is baked for 20 minutes at a temperature of 180-200 degrees.
The fish is ready to serve.
It takes a serious effort to cook baklava. But if you use ready-made phyllo dough then it makes the process simple and easy.
First off chop the walnuts, toss with cinnamon and roast a little the mix without butter. Now take the phyllo dough, unroll it and place a thin sheet in the baking form. Before doing so, oil the form with clarified butter. Then place a layer of roasted walnuts with cinnamon on the dough and cover it with another layer of dough. Repeat until you have 3 sheets layered.
Then cut baklava into diamond shapes and send it to oven preheated to 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
While baklava is in the oven, prepare the sauce. Put butter and honey in the pot. Mix in some vanilla extract (optional), water and melt all this in a water bath until smooth. When baklava is ready, take it out from the oven and spoon the sauce over it, let for some time to soak well. Enjoy the baklava!
Armenian gata is very easy to cook. The ingredients are almost always at hand. And gata is always very delicious.
First prepare the dough. Sift out flour. In a separate bowl mix flour with salt, add baking soda slaked with vinegar, butter, an egg and kefir. Knead the dough and refrigerate for half an hour.
While the dough is sitting in the fridge prepare the filling. Beat softened butter with sugar and vanilla sugar. Add 100 grams of flour and baking powder. Grind the mixture with fingers into crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it for a while in room temperature.
Divide it into two or three parts, then spread each part into a thin rectangle. Place half or third of the filling on one sheet, without covering the edges. Repeat this with the second or third sheet and the rest of the filling.
Roll up the rectangles, flatten them with your palms and cut into trapeze shapes of medium size. Spread the dough with the beaten egg. Bake in the over until golden at 190 degrees.
Yes, you read it right. Armenians make even okroshka. Only it is very different from the original Russian soup, it is ArmenianJ.
Rinse the cucumbers, peel and cut into small cubes. Chop the greenery. This okroshka can be served in а wineglass. Place cucumbers with greenery in the glass, add a pinch of salt.
Pour in cold water and matsoon (Armenian yogurt). Stir it up and serve immediately.
Compared to other types of okroshka this one is very rich in vitamins. It is pleasantly refreshing and reenergizing. The combination of various greens results not only in a fabulous taste but also gives an incredibly flavour.
Of course, here you can find only a few recipes of the Armenian cuisine. But this is enough to know that Armenia is a paradise for a gourmet. So if you love to indulge in good food, we look forward to welcoming you here under the Armenian sun.