20 Traditional Azerbaijan Food In Azeri Cuisine To Try

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Azerbaijan is known for its mud volcanoes, oil and natural gas reserves, and being the center of fire worshiping. Located between Russia, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia, the country is home to the most incredible blend of cuisines. Azerbaijan food is a mixture of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors.

You will see a variety and abundance of fresh produce due to the nine climatic zones of the country. Furthermore, cattle and sheep raising contribute to meat and dairy products in this Land of Fire. 

What Is Special About Azerbaijan Food?  

Azerbaijan food is a fusion of colorful and flavorful ingredients. Some of the dishes are purely native, while others show an influence of Turkish, Iranian, and Eastern European cuisine. 

Food in Azerbaijan often has complex flavors and textures. Like many other Middle East cuisines, rice, kebabs, and pickles are a significant part of local meals. Furthermore, it is also a good place for vegetarians and vegans.

Most Famous Azerbaijan Food

Plov (Rice Dish)

azeri-cuisine-plov

Rice dishes are popular in Azeri cuisine, and the national food of Azerbaijan is no exception. Also known as pilaf, plov is among the top dishes throughout Central Asia. 

This flavourful Azeri food has so many variations that you can find more than 20 recipes in different regions. They have varying names and tastes depending on their ingredients and cooking methods. No matter which plov you select for dinner, it will always be a show stopper. 

The most common and popular Azeri plov features saffron, dried apricots, plums, raisins, and chestnuts. It is served alongside traditional Azerbaijan grilled kebab, skewered meat, and cold salads. This Azerbaijan food usually accompanies a glass of wine or sharbat to delight your taste buds. 

Shah Plov (Plov With Crust)

azerbaijan-shah-plov

When we mentioned that plov in Azeri cuisine has dozens of variants, you might have wondered which one you should try first. Without a doubt, shah plov should be your first choice. It is the most beloved and unique version of Plov in Azerbaijan.

Packed with diversified flavors and aromas, Shah Plov is the signature food of the city of Ganja. It features plov wrapped in a cocoon of flatbread. The flatbread has a crispy texture and is known as Gazmakh.

Although it is mostly the main course for weddings and celebrations, you can find it in restaurants throughout the year. Many tourists have recommended Shirvanshah Museum restaurant in Baku to try this distinct Azerbaijan food.

Meat-Based Azerbaijan Food

Piti (Mutton And Chickpeas Stews)

Piti is a hearty stew with over 30 delicious varieties. The stew gets the name Piti from a glazed earthenware pot in which it is cooked and served. The slow cooking process of almost nine hours gives a divine taste to this Azeri food.

The main ingredients of this Azerbaijan food are mutton, chickpeas, potatoes, and tomatoes. Its mellow flavor and rich texture come from saffron-infused water, dried cherry plum, and the addition of salted fat. 

Interestingly, this clear soup is consumed in two steps. First, you have it with crumbled bread dusted with sumac, and the leftover is then enjoyed as the second course. 

Govurma (Fried Meat)

The next dish is from the fertile region of Nakhchivan. The city is known for its ancient practice of preserving meat. Hence, govurma is a kind of preserved meat. 

This traditional Azerbaijan food features large chunks of veal or lamb, which are dried for hours, salted, stewed, and then fried. Melted butter is added to the meat and then shifted into ceramic jars. After storing for 4 to 8 weeks, it’s ready to be a part of other meals. 

In Azerbaijan, locals usually store meat in spring and summer to enjoy it later in winter. Some popular versions of govurma are govurma sorbasi, govurma eggs, govurma sorrel and govurma soup.

Buglama (Lamb Stew)

traditional-lamb-stew

Buglama is the staple food of Georgia and Azerbaijan cuisine. The word buglama means steamed, suggesting the cooking process of this dish. Lamb meat is the signature ingredient of buglama, but it can be substituted with fish or goat meat.

The stew includes onion, tomatoes, bay leaves, peppers, and diced lamb meat. All the ingredients are mixed and slowly cooked with liquid in a sealed pot. It is served hot and garnished with chopped cilantro.

This healthy and nutritious Azerbaijan food also has a vegan recipe. Many cultural vegan restaurants in Baku serve baglama with tofu instead of meat bases.

Djiz Biz (Traditional Lamb Dish)

Djiz biz or jiz biz is a traditional lamb offal dish containing fried lamb organs. The meat parts used in this Azerbaijan food include the kidney, heart, lung, and intestines, which makes it a healthy and heavy meal for dinner. 

The cooking process of djiz biz is very difficult. Every step has individual and unique cooking techniques which give the required tenderness to the meat. In the final step of cooking, all the organs are mixed to make a hearty and aromatic dish. 

The natives usually enjoy this warm dish with traditional bread, pickles, veggies, and red onions. Some modern restaurants also serve it with fried potatoes.

Lula Kebab (Grilled Or Roasted Lamb)

azeri-roasted-lamb

The word kebab means roasted meat. It is an invention of Turks but is also appreciated in other Middle Eastern countries. Kebabs are so popular in Azerbaijan food that almost every citizen has tasted them.

Azerbaijan food has numerous varieties of kebabs, among which lula kebabs are very popular. They contain minced meat of lamb or goat, herbs, lemon, and seasonings. The meat mixture is skewered in square shapes and roasted over an open flame. 

Kebabs are very easy to find in Azerbaijan, especially in Baku. These are usually served with red onion slices and a traditional Azerbaijani bread called lavash.

Lavangi (Stuffed Fish Or Chicken)

lavangi-in-azerbaijan

It is one of the best-known facts about Azerbaijan that the Lankaran regions present the best classic Azeri cuisine. Among other distinct dishes, Lavangi or levengi is something that you must try in Azerbaijan.

Lavangi is the national food of Azerbaijan, made with either fish or chicken. This iconic dish includes chicken or fish stuffed with a mixture of walnuts, raisins, onions, green cherry plum, and pomegranate molasses. The combination of these ingredients results in a sweet and sour dish. 

This Azerbaijani dish is hard to find in restaurants, as it is reserved for special occasions such as Nowruz. But if you are lucky, you might find a guesthouse in Baku that offers this palatable food.

Soups In Azerbaijan Food

Dushbara (Dumpling Soup)

azeri-dish-dushbara

Dushbara is one of the popular snacks in Azeri food, originating from Turkish cuisine. The traditional snack looks like mini pockets, similar to Italian tortellini. It is eaten throughout the country and is especially loved by the natives of the capital city, Baku. 

This Baku food is made by cutting paper-thin dough into small pockets to fit half a dozen in a single spoon. The dough pockets have ground lamb or mutton with onion, pepper, and salt. The stuffed dumplings are cooked in translucent lamb broth. 

Dushbara has a dominant taste of ground meat and is served topped with crushed garlic and mint. According to local tradition, almost every woman in the country knows how to cook this Azerbaijan food in its tiny size. Its incredible taste will tell you why.

Dovga (Yogurt Soup)

azerbaijan-yogurt-soup

Dovga is a traditional vegetarian yogurt soup dish in Azerbaijan, where it is considered a staple for weddings. The popularity of this soup goes beyond the borders of Azerbaijan, and now it is also a part of Turkish, Iranian, and Armenian cuisine.

This culinary delight of Azeri cuisine contains yogurt, rice, spinach, chickpeas, dill, mint, coriander, and eggs. It can be eaten both hot or cold, depending on the weather, and is traditionally served in a deep bowl known as Kasa.

In local restaurants, this Azerbaijan food is served as the digestive booster with the main course. Although this soup is usually a vegetarian dish, be sure you confirm before tasting it, because some restaurants in Baku add meatballs to enhance their flavor.

Ovdukh (Cold Soup)

azeri-cold-soup

Ovdukh, also known as Dogramach, is a cold soup similar to Dovga. The only difference is that ovdukh is made without heating and includes yogurt instead of kefir.

The main ingredients of this Azerbaijan food are chopped dill, spring onion, and cucumber. Sometimes, all the ingredients are diluted to make this refreshing soup. This Azeri food also has a non-vegetarian option, which includes ground beef and chopped eggs. 

It is the perfect cold drink for hot summer trips in Azerbaijan, as it is refreshing and aromatic at the same time. 

Bozbash (Traditional Meat Soup)

traditional-meat-soup

Bozbash is the traditional food of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Iran. The delicacy was introduced in the 19th century and named after the Turkish-Azeri words “boz” and “bash” which mean gray and head.

This thick soup contains veggies, dried fruits, and meat with local spices. Similar to other Azerbaijan food, it has several recipes. Among all, kufta bozbash is the most famous one, featuring a flavourful gigantic meatball with broth.

You will find a new taste of this fragrant soup in different cities because of the variation in ingredients and cooking methods. You can enjoy it as an appetizer or a side dish with the main course.

Pasta Dishes In Azeri Cuisine

Surhullu (Pasta With Sausages)

azeri-dish-surhullu

Every traditional food of Azerbaijan has diversified and distinctive features of its origin region. Surhullu will introduce you to the unique taste of the mountainous region of Qakh. It is known to be one of the authentic local Azerbaijani dishes from Qakh.

Surhullu consists of homemade pasta topped with strips of fresh lamb or meat. The hand-made pasta is boiled in broth and dressed with garlic. This hearty and tender dish is well-loved in the northwest region of the country.

Apart from its superb taste, it is appreciated as a nutritious food. You can easily find it at local restaurants and guest houses. 

Khingal (Pasta With Meat And Yogurt)

Khingal is considered the first pasta-like dish introduced in the Caucasian region. Similar to other Azeri cuisine, this Azerbaijan food also has countless recipes. Among all its variants, Yarpaq khingal is the most loved by locals.

The pasta is made by cutting the dough into minute square shapes and then boiling it. Meanwhile, the ground meat is cooked with butter, onion, and spices until golden brown. This pasta and meat are served with a side of yogurt sauce.

It is an excellent Azeri food to satisfy your cravings for a quick snack. To get the authentic taste of khingal, visit small restaurants that offer traditional Azerbaijan food. 

Pancake And Pastries In Azerbaijan Food

Gutab (Stuffed Pancakes)

azeri-stuffed-pancakes

Gutab is a traditional fast food of Azerbaijan. The crowd of people at local gutab shops suggests it is one of the big hits among Azerbaijan dishes. Although this dish first appeared in Azeri cuisine, it is believed to have roots in South Caucasian and Jewish regions. 

Gutab is a simple flatbread stuffed with a variety of delectable fillings. Among all of its famous versions, green gutab is the best-selling. It is the one with herbs and greens, including pumpkin, spinach, cilantro, onion, and dill.

There are also some non-vegetarian and sweet varieties of this crescent-shaped flatbread. You can enjoy this fast food with the traditional drinks of Azerbaijan.

Kata (Azerbaijani Puff Pastry)

Kata is a sweet and short Azerbaijan puff pastry made with butter, sugar, and oil. It originates from Karabakh and varies in size and shape in different regions. Among all, the most popular and flavorful is the one found in Karabakh.

This sweet Azerbaijan food has a thin flaky texture of sugar, butter, and flour crumbs. On top, it is drizzled with vanilla or lemon zest. Before putting it in an oven, it is pricked with a fork for beautiful patterns.

This pastry has an appetizing golden color and is mostly eaten warm with tea. You can find this lovely Azerbaijani food in local bakeries across the country.

Badambura (Almond Puff Pastry)

Badambura is a unique addition to Azeri cuisine. It is a puff pastry with several layers of flaky dough and a pleasing and slightly sweet flavor. 

This multi-layered pastry is stuffed with almonds, cardamom, and vanilla, brushed with egg wash, and baked until light golden brown. Finally, it is garnished with icing sugar.

This sweet Azerbaijan food holds traditional values and is made on special days such as Nowruz. You can visit local bakeries to find this amazing sweet snack.

Shekerbura (Sweet Pastry)

azerbaijan-sweet-pastry

Shekerbura is a sweet Azeri puff pastry that originated in the 7th century, during the Iranians Empire Era. Now, it has become a beloved snack of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Similar to badambura, this sweet snack is also associated with the Nowruz celebration.

This crescent shape of Azerbaijan food has a delicious filling of sugar and groundnuts. The outer crust is very flaky, pairing perfectly with the nutty filling.

According to Azerbaijani culture, locals make this snack together with their families. It is always served fresh and enjoyed both warm and cold.

Pakhlava (Layered Pastry)

pakhlava-in-azerbaijan

Pakhlava is an Azerbaijani food originating from Turkish cuisine. Many people describe it as the descendant of the famous dessert baklava.

Just like baklava, Pakhlava is a sweet pastry featuring flaky layers of buttered dough, garnished with hazelnuts and walnuts. The signature filling of this Azerbaijan food includes cinnamon, nuts, and clove-infused syrup or honey.

In Azerbaijan, this sweet pastry is always a part of the celebrations. You can relish its unique taste from any restaurant, bakery, or pastry shop. The locals usually recommend enjoying it with their famous traditional black tea.

FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD

Discovering Traditional Azerbaijan Food 

The capital city of Baku is considered the hub of traditional Azerbaijan food and the main attraction of tourists. There are many trendy roadside cafes alongside the Silk Road trade route that serve food in old-fashioned copper and clay bowls.

The wide range of Azerbaijan cuisine has all the culinary options, from light and warming, to heavy and hearty. There are numerous colorful vegetarian and incredible meat dishes in this spectacular “Land of Fire.” Most locals enjoy traditional food with black tea in adorable rosebud-shaped tea cups.


PIN THESE AZERBAIJAN FOOD FOR LATER!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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