Today we’ll make a journey to Azerbaijan, and see how national dishes are cooked, developing a theme of the cult of tea and sweets. A purely gastronomic post is presented below.
In Azerbaijan food is made a cult. Local people like their dishes to be tasty and full. Let’s start with sweets. They drink tea from special glasses that let tea remain hot though the edges of the utensils are cold. It makes drinking convenient. While drinking tea they eat sweet raisin flavours, nuts and pressed sugar covered with syrup. Local glasses are larger than those used in Turkey. Black tea with addition of herbs is preferred. Green tea is not that popular and is considered as a modern trend. You won’t have to put sugar in your cup of tea as a plenty of sweets is always available.
They eat different kinds of jam. The jam can be made of watermelon, walnuts, white dogwood, and paradise apples. It is easy to mistake the apples for black cherries as they look alike. One will understand the difference only after tasting the jam.
Baklava is a landmark of the country. There is a separate recipe stating how it’s better to cook the dish in every part of Azerbaijan. These sweet triangles are landmarks of Gabala region.
Halvah is an oriental dessert made of sugar, nuts and seeds of oil cultures. There is also another type of halvah made of wheat flour or even vegetables. Many people believe halvah from Shaki town to be the best.
The tastiest halvah is sold in Shaki. It will take too much time and efforts to make the dish at home that’s why people prefer buying it and can cook it themselves only on a special occasion that is when celebrating the New Year. The secret of halvah making is known only to those for whom the process of cooking sweets turned into family business. Halvah has a soft and crispy taste which makes the product special and different from other sweets.
Halvah is produced in a small shop like this. Owners of the business don’t reveal their secrets to anyone. The recipe remains unknown. They will never tell you how much nuts are needed or how sweet syrup can be cooked. By the way, in summer which is too hot here the product can get spoil too fast due to a great amount of oil and rice flour in it. So, be careful!
First they make bakery dough which is then put in a hot pan through a grate.
See how halvah is cooked.