Here is another recipe for a colorful summer salad from Azerbaijan, Choban Salad (Shepherd’s Salad in English). Made with fresh vegetables, this salad can be served as a side or with some cheese and bread as a main dish….
Rattlesnake Beans with Onions and Peppers sounds delicious – just kidding. Don’t worry there are no actual rattlesnakes involved in this recipe. The name comes from the streaky pattern the rattlesnake beans develop as they mature, which supposedly resembles a pattern on a rattlesnake. …
This recipe was inspired by the delicious lentil soup my Turkish friend prepared for our friends and me during my college years. Since then I have developed my own recipe, which luckily turned out to be a success. I have been making this soup for many years now, not just because it is one of my favorites, but because everyone who tries it falls in love with it….
Borsch originated in Ukraine, but is popular in Eastern Europe and the republics of former USSR. I love preparing it, especially in cold months, to warm up and get my dose of nutrients from all the hearty vegetables that it is made of. Try it! You won’t regret!
Beef Stew (Optional):
1 ½- 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
12-14 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
3 large beets, peeled and grated
9 cups beef broth (For a vegetarian version use vegetable stock.)
1/2 small white cabbage, about 8 cups, cored and shredded
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
1/2 tsp freshly ground coriander seeds (optional)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
2 cups sour cream or Greek yogurt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Stew Meat and Broth:
Cook: 2-3 hrs
Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Over medium heat sear pieces of beef on all sides in small batches to insure faster browning and sealing in of juices. Browning of all the pieces at once will create excess moisture which will cause toughening of the meat.
After you finished browning your last batch, add the rest of the stew meat back into the pot and pour over water to cover. Add 1 tsp of salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low until the meat is tender about 2-3 hours. Skim off any impurities as they rise to the surface of the broth.
Remove the meat from the pot. Strain the broth to get rid of the remaining impurities.
Prep: 20 min Cook: 40 min Total: 1 hr
Heat the oil in a large pan. Sweat the onions over low-medium heat for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the tomato paste, and stir it for 30 seconds.
Add the carrots and beets.
Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and potatoes, and pour over the broth from the beef stew. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the fresh herbs and stew meat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Prep: 1 min
Mix the garlic, salt and yogurt in a small bowl.
Serve the Borsch with a dollop of the dressing.
For lunch today, I had one of my favorite savory pastries, delicious qutab. Every time I am in Baku, I order it when I eat out, and make it with my mother at home. That is how much I like qutab.
Different variations of qutab, served both as an appetizer and main dish, are popular in Azerbaijan and the neighboring countries. The filling for qutab can be both vegetarian, made with pumpkin, herbs or/and cheese, and non-vegetarian, made with ground meat.
In this recipe, the filling is made with herbs and onions. If you would like to add some protein to your qutab, substitute 1 cup of soft cheese for 1 cup of herbs.
Prep: 40 min Cook: 20 min Total: 1 hr
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cups water
extra flour for dusting
1 medium onions, 1 cup, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 cup dill, chopped
1 cups cilantro, chopped
1 cup spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup nettle or mint, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 tbsp sumac (optional)
In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and slowly pour in water. Add more water if needed. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it becomes pliable. The dough is going to be stiff. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and saute until translucent for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the herbs and salt. Then, add in the onions.
After letting the dough rest, shape it into a log and cut into 10 equal parts. Roll these pieces into balls.
Remove 1 ball at a time from underneath the plastic wrap. Place it on a lightly floured surface and pat down. Roll into 1 mm thick 8 inch circle. The thinner you roll it, the better the outcome. With a tip of your finger dipped into water, wet the edges of one half of the circle.
Place 1/3 cup of the filling on that half. Fold the other half over, and lightly press on it to release the air. Then, press on the edges to seal the qutab.
Place the pastry on a preheated griddle or non-stick frying pan. Cook over medium heat flipping it over several times for about 2 minute on each side until golden patches start to appear.
Place it on a platter, and brush the top side with melted butter. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls. Stack qutabs on top of each other.
Serve hot with sumac and yogurt.