Azeri Cuisine. Its going to be a challenge.

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According to the few sources I have found, Azeri food has changed a lot during the last century, and there is some conjecture over what counts at true Azeri food. Families ceased preparing many traditional dishes during the Soviet period, and haven’t revived them, while many Russian dishes became staples, says Tahir Amiraslanov, in an article for Azerbaijan International.

To complicate matters further, Azeri food differs substantially from region to region, both withing the Republic of Azerbaijan, and between the Republic and Southern Azerbaijin (in Iran). And don’t even get me started on the challenge that will be veganising this stuff. As it turns out, Azeri food includes a LOT of lamb, beef, and fish, not to mention some exotic uses of animal I hadn’t come across before (Fancy some gelatinous stewed lambs head with your Vodka? Camel turnovers, anyone?).

But on we push!

Azeri food includes a lot of soups, stews, breads and stuffed things (dolma, but not just vine leaves, as we’re used to). Meals may start and end with black tea, sweetened with jam, and there are a number of sweets including cakes, dried fruits, shakerbura and pahklava. Frequent ingredients seem to be meat, butter, yoghurt and egg, so I suppose I’ll be doing a lot of substituting. That said it will be good warm food to suit the current Melbourne chill.

I’m going to attempt to veganise these dishes:

  • Dushbere (dumpling soup)
  • Plov (rice pilaf)
  • Badimjan Dolma (eggplant stuffed with rice and meat)
  • Gutabi (crepes or turnovers- filled with greens or meat)
  • Khangal (a pasta dish with butter, yoghurt and, you guessed it, meat)
  • Kufta (meatballs served in a clear soup)
  • Badimcan Borucuqlari (eggplant rolls)
  • Sherbert (a sweet drink)
  • Shekerbura (a pastry thing) or Pakhlava (another pastry thing)
  • and finally, Zebra cake (to be fair, I actually jumped the gun and made this while before I got sick, but I’ll post it with the others)

Wish me luck!

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