Azerbaijan cuisine is very original and multifarious. It is represented by immense amount of meals: soups, second courses, sweets, drinks. Various types of pilau, shish kebab, levengi, shekerbura, pakhlava and many kinds of fruits and vegetables.
Geographic location and loads of climate zones generously provide azerbaijan cuisine with products. In local recipes, meals are cooked from mutton, beef, fish, birds, fruits and vegetables. Necesserily, almost in every meal, there is a portion of different sorts of fresh green (cilantro, dill, basil and etc). Furthermore, different kitchen herbs and seasonings are generally used and favorite ones are - crocus and sumach.
Pilau is specifically loved and revered in Azerbaijan. It is made of rice, which is stewed in cauldron. It is necessary to cook pilau with species, most preferable one which is crocus. Characteristic feature of azerbaijan pilau is stuffing, so called "gara" (meat or fish with raisin, dried apricots or other dried fruits) which is made and served separately from the main dish. There is a rumour that there are more than hundred pilau types in Azerbaijan. This list also includes pilau with fruit stuffing (shirin plov) , pilau with milk (sudlu plov), with eggs, nutts, sewed meat and green (sabzi-govurma plov). There is special attention for khan-pilau, which is baked in dough.
Other meal, which comes to mind when mention azerbaijan cuisine is kebab. Exactly in Azerbaijan you can taste the most delicious kebab. Despite it has just one name, kebab has many different variations. It is cooked in mangal or tandir: lamb, beef, bird. It can be cooked fresh or marinated, for example in pomegranate.Usually kebab is spiced with sumach - some sour spices .
Dolma is another favorite meal in Azerbaijan. Classic dolma cooked like a forcemeat, wrapped in grape leafs (yarpag dolma). Moreover, there are many other dolma types when cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant and pepper are used for stuffing.
One of the special and favorite dishes is - kutab. It is a thin cupcake in the form of Crescent with meat, green and pumpkin as a stuffing.
There are more than 30 first courses in azerbaijan cuisine. These are: piti (hot meat soup) and bozbash, kufta-bozbash (soup with meat balls) and other soups. Moreover, there are first courses which are cooked from green, dovga, dogramaj.
One of the special and unique soups is kxash. This is the first course meal, which is cooked of boiled cow or sheep's feet, although other cow parts, such as the brain, head and stomach (tripe) may also be used. Khash is boiled several hours before it begins to dense. In fact, khash is very useful , because it has a lot of nutritions as calsium and many others vitamins.Usually consumed as a breakfast soup.
It is essential to have bread on the table. In Azerbaijan, it is traditional churek, cooked in tandir and lavash, cooked in saj. Moreover, there is almost always fresh salad on the table. Many tourists claim that azerbaijan tomatoes and cucumbers are the most delicious in the world.
Tea party in Azerbaijan - is one the valuable traditions, in which sweets and jams have special place. Pakhlava and shekerbura take first place in sweets. In doing so, pakhlava is very different from region to region (baki, sheki).
Tea is served with various delicious sweeties, fruit jam and sliced lemon.For drinking azerbaijanis often use traditional armudu (pear-shaped) glass. Tea is served continuously when there are guests or when there is an interesting conversation. For Azerbaijanis tea with milk is uncommon.
There is special type of kitchen utensils for cooking special meals.For instance, piti is cooked in special clay pots in special wall stoves, jiz-biz - usually on saj, pillau -in special qazans. Every region in Azerbaijan is famous for its own specialty: levengi in Lenkaran, kutab and dushpere in Absheron, gurza in Baku, piti in Sheki.
The Azerbaijani cuisine is not only tasty but also good for your health; this is evidenced by a lot of long-livers and centenarians in the country. Researchers say that it is due, firstly, to Azerbaijan's salubrious climate, secondly, the healthy lifestyle of the people, and last but not least, the wholesome food and eating habits. Advantogeous climate, close proximity to the sea, rivers and many other factors played key role in creating rich azerbaijan cuisine.