Cuisine of Armenia

Cuisine of Armenia

Given the history of the Armenian people, the cuisine of Armenia and of the Armenians in the Armenian Diaspora is representative of the cuisine of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus, with strong influences from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and, to a lesser extent, from the Balkans.Alan Davidson, "The Oxford Companion to Food", Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 35.] Armenians themselves have greatly influenced the culinary traditions of nearby countries or cities, such as Aleppo. [ [ My kind of town: Aleppo] .] The preparation of a large number of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in the Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. [Pokhlebkin, V. V. Russian Delight: A Cookbook of the Soviet People. London: Pan Books, 1978] Lamb, aubergines, youghurt, and bread (lavash) are basic features of the Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to maize and rice popular among its Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).


Meals in Armenia often start with mezze, a spread of appetizers served for "the table". Lavash, extremely thin leavened wrap bread made from wheat flour, is the usual accompaniment for mezze.

* Hummus – smooth chickpea paste
* Chechil ("tel banir") – braided and pickled string cheese, similar to Georgian sulguni
* Mutabal – grilled eggplant chopped or mashed with spices and tahini into a coarse paste, known as baba ghanoush in other cuisines
* Lahmajoun – a thin-crust pizza with a topping of ground meat


* Amarva khorovadz -- barbecued vegetables mixed together, traditional Armenian salad
* Eetch -- bulgur salad, similar to the Middle Eastern tabouleh


Boeregs are a popular snack and fast food, often served as appetizer. These are savory pies made with phyllo pastry and stuffed with cheese ("banirov boereg", from Armenian: "banir" for cheese) or spinach (similar to spanakopita in Greek cuisine). "Sou boereg" ("su boeregi", or "water burek", in Turkish cuisine) is a lasagna-style dish with sheets of phyllo pastry briefly boiled in a large pan before being spread with fillings. ["Sou boereg" recipe on [ ChowHound] ] "Misov boereg" is a bread roll (not phyllo pastry) stuffed with ground meat (similar to Russian pirozhki). "Tepsi boereg".Fact|date=August 2008


Barbecue is very popular in Armenia, and makes the primary offer of main courses in most restaurants and at family gatherings. It is often eaten as fast food.

* Khorovats (or khorovadz) – Armenian word for barbecued or grilled meats (the generic kebab in English), the most representative dish of Armenian cuisine enjoyed in restaurants, family gatherings, and as fast food. A typical "khorovats" is chunks of meat grilled on a skewer (shashlik), although steaks or chops grilled without skewers may be also included. In Armenia itself, "khorovats" is often made with the bone still in the meat (as lamb or pork chops). Western Armenians outside Armenia generally cook the meat with bones taken out and call it by the Turkish name shish kebab. On the other hand, the word "kebab" in Armenia refers to uncased sausage-shaped patties from ground meat grilled on a skewer (called "losh kebab" or "lule kebab" by diasporan Armenians and Turks). In Armenia today, the most popular meat for khorovats (including losh kebab) is pork due to Soviet-era economic heritage. Armenians outside Armenia usually prefer lamb or beef depending on their background, and chicken is also popular.

* "Gharsi khorovats" – slivers of grilled meat rolled up in lavash, similar to the Middle Eastern shawarma and the Turkish doner kebab; this "shashlik Ghars style" takes its name from the city of Kars (Armenian: "Ghars") in eastern Turkey, close to the Armenian border. ["Gharsi (Karsi) khorovats" on [] .]


Armenian soups include "spas", made from yogurt, hulled wheat and herbs (usually cilantro), [Irina Petrosian and David Underwood, "Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore", published by, ISBN 1411698659, p. 60 (parts accessible through Amazon Online Reader).] and "aveluk", made from lentils, walnuts, and wild mountain sorrel (which gives the soup its name). ["Aveluk" soup on the menu of [ Erivan Restaurant in St. Petersburg] ] "Kiufta" soup is made with large balls of strained boiled meat ("kiufta") and greens.

Another soup, "khash", is considered an Armenian institution. Songs and poems have been written about this one dish, which is made from ham hocks and herbs made into a clear broth. Tradition holds that khash can only be cooked by men, who spend the entire night cooking, and can be eaten only in the early morning in the dead of winter, where it served with heaps of fresh garlic and dried lavash.

"T'ghit"Fact|date=July 2008 is a very special and old traditional food, made from "t'tu lavash" (fruit leather, thin roll-up sheets of sour plum puree), [T'tu lavash [ described here] ] which are cut into small pieces and boiled in water. Fried onions are added and the mixture is cooked into a purée. Pieces of lavash bread are placed on top of the mixture, and it is eaten hot with fresh lavash used to scoop up the mixture by hand.

"Karshm" is a local soup made in the town of Vaik in the Shirak province. This is a walnut based soup with red and green beans, chick peas and spices, served garnished with red pepper and fresh garlic. ["Karshm" soup from [ "Travel Guide to Shirak"] .] Soups of Russian heritage include borscht, a beet root soup with meat and vegetables (served hot in Armenia, with fresh sour cream) and okroshka, a yogurt or kefir based soup with chopped cucumber, green onion, and garlic.

* "Arganak" – chicken soup with small meatballs, garnished before serving with beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, and parsley. ["Arganak" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Blghourapour" – a sweet soup made of hulled wheat cooked in grape juice; served hot or cold. ["Blghourapour" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Bozbash" – a mutton or lamb soup that exists in several regional varieties with the addition of different vegetables and fruits. ["Bozbash" in [ Sonia Uvezian, "The Cuisine of Armenia"] , Siamanto Press, Northbrook, IL, 2001 (parts accessible through Amazon Online Reader)]
* "Brndzapour" – rice and potato soup, garnished with coriander. ["Brndzapour" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Dzavarapour" – hulled wheat, potatoes, tomato puree; egg yolks diluted with water are stirred into the soup before serving. ["Dzavarapour" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Flol" – beef soup with coarsely chopped spinach leaves and cherry-sized dumplings (Armenian: "flol") made from oatmeal or wheat flour."Flol" recipe on [] ru icon]
* Harissaporridge of coarsely ground wheat with pieces of boned chicken
* "Katnapour" – a milk-based rice soup, sweetened with sugar. ["Katnapour" recipe on [] ru icon]
* Katnov
* "Kololik" – soup cooked from mutton bones with ground mutton dumplings, rice, and fresh tarragon garnish; a beaten egg is stirred into the soup before serving. ["Kololik" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Krchik" – soup made from sauerkraut, hulled wheat, potatoes, and tomato puree. ["Krchik" recipe on [] ru icon]
* "Mantapour" – beef soup with manti; the manti are typically served with yogurt or sour cream ("ttvaser"), accompanied by clear soup. ["Mantapour" recipe on [] ru icon]
* Matsnaprtosh
* "Putuk" – mutton cut into pieces, dried peas, potatoes, leeks, and tomato puree, cooked and served in individual crocks. ["Putuk" recipe on [] ru icon]
* Sarnapour
* "Snkapur" – a mushroom soup [ "Armenian cookbook"] ]
* Sounkapour
* Tarkhana – flour and yogurt soup
* "Vospapour" – lentil soup with dried fruits and ground walnuts. ["Vospapour" recipe on [ Armenian National Cuisine] ru icon]


*Ishkhan – Sevan trout (endangered species), served steamed, grilled on a skewer, or stuffed and baked in the oven
*Sig – a whitefish from Lake Sevan, native to northern Russian lakes (endangered species in Armenia)
*Karmrakhayt ("alabalagh") – a river trout, [ [ "Karmrakhayt" in Marmarik River ] ] also produced in high-altitude artificial lakes (e.g., the Mantash Reservoir in Shirak province). [ [ "Karmrakhayt" in Mantash Reservoir ] ]
*Kogak – an indigenous Lake Sevan fish of the carp family, also called Sevan khramulya (overfished)

Main courses

* Fasulya ("fassoulia") – a stew made with green beans, lamb and tomato broth or other ingredients
* Ghapama – pumpkin stew
* Kchuch – a casserole of mixed vegetables with pieces of meat or fish on top, baked and served in a clay pot
* Moussaka – baked dish consisting of spiced ground meat (usually lamb) between layers of aubergine slices
* Mujaddara – cooked lentils and rice
* Tjvjik – a dish of fried liver and kidneys with onions
* Satsivi - pieces of roast chicken in walnut sauce, taken from Georgian cuisine

Meat products

* Basturma – a highly seasoned, air-dried raw beef, similar to pastrami
* Yershig – a spicy beef sausage (called sujuk in Turkey)
* Kiufta – meaning meatball comes in many types, such as Hayastan kiufta, Kharpert kiufta (Porov kiufta), Ishli kiufta, etc.

Dairy products

* Labneh – Strained dense yogurt made from sheep, cow, or goat milk; often served in mezze with olive oil and spices
* Matsoun – yogurt
* Tahn ("ayran") – a sour milk drink prepared by diluting yogurt with cold water
* "Ttvaser" – sour cream in Armenian; also known by the Russian-derived word "smetan"


* Lavash – the staple bread of Armenian cuisine
* Matnakash – soft and puffy leavened bread, made of wheat flour and shaped into oval or round loaves; the characteristic golden or golden-brown crust is achieved by coating the surface of the loaves with sweetened tea essence before baking. ["Matnakash" recipe on [ Armenian Portal in Estonia.] ru icon]
* "Paghach" – flaky layered bread.Bread recipes in [ Adventures in Armenian Cooking] ]
* Choereg (or choreg) – braided bread formed into rolls or loaves, also a traditional loaf for Easter.


* "Alani" – pitted dried peaches stuffed with ground walnuts and sugar. ["Alani" described on [ Million Menu] ]
* "Kadaif" ("ghataif") – shredded dough with cream, cheese, or chopped walnut filling, soaked with sugar syrup.Desserts on [ Adventures in Armenian Cooking] ]
* "Anoushabour" – dried fruits stewed with barley, garnished with chopped almonds or walnuts (a traditional Christmas pudding).
* "Bastegh" ("pastegh") - homemade fruit leather.
* "T'tu lavash" – thin roll-up sheets of sour plum puree (fruit leather).

Ritual foods

* Nshkhar -- bread used for Holy Communion
* Mas -- literally means "piece" a piece of leftover bread from the making of Nshkhar, given to worshippers after church service
* Matagh -- sacrificial meat. can be of any animal such as goat, lamb, or even bird.



*Armenian coffee -- strong black coffee, finely ground, sometimes sweet
*Kefir -- fermented milk drink
*Kvas -- sweet, fermented bread drink
*Tahn – yoghurt drink (still or carbonated)
*Jermuk -- a band of mineral water from the Jermuk area
*Hayq, Sari – a brand of bottled mountain spring water from the Jermuk area (in Armenian "Hayq" stands for "Armenia" and "Sari" for "from the mountains").
*"Gazoz" – a generic name for a flavored carbonated drink, either bottled soda or sparkling water mixed with syrup in a glass.Fact|date=August 2008


* Beer ( ['s-Place-1590603/Armenian-Beer-Kotayk-Erebuni-Kilikia-17522 popular brands] "Kotayk", "Erebuni", "Kilikia")
* Armenian brandy (popular brand names "Ararat", "Dvin")
* Oghi – an aniseed-flavored distilled alcoholic drink (called "arak" in the Middle East, raki in Turkey, or ouzo in Greece)
* Pomegranate wines – sweet and semi-sweet fruit wines made from pomegranate juice.
* "Areni wines" are red wines made from the Armenian Аreni grape (Vayots Dzor region). While most Areni wines are dry, Vernashen is semi-sweet.
* [ "Ijevan"] – a dry white wine from the Tavush region (Lalvari grape). Semi-sweet red Ijevan is produced from the Kakhet grape in Tavush, while dry red Ijevan is made from Areni grapes and is properly classified as an Areni wine. [ [ Ijevan Winery] ru icon]


General references

*The Cuisine of Armenia by Sonia Uvezian, Dikran Palulian (Illustrator)
*Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore, Irina Petrosian and David Underwood

External links

* [ "Adventures in Armenian Cooking"] , St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Indian Orchard, MA
* [ Armenian Cuisine]
* [ Armenian Food Blog]
* [ — an extensive selection of Armenian dishes with recipes] ru icon.
* [ Armenian cuisine — hundreds of recipes organized by courses] ru icon.
* [ Armenian cuisine — a compact list of 78 Armenian dishes] ru icon.
* [ Armenian cooking — a general description of Armenian cuisine, including 90 recipes] ru icon.

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