Armenian Food Is A Strong Celebration Of A Culture And Its People -
Armenian Food Is A Strong Celebration Of A Culture And Its People
Armenia is a unique blend of cultures that have been transformed into one local cuisine, full of flavor and bursting with life.
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Armenian food is a celebration of culture and tradition and that's something that has been held close for centuries. The dishes in Armenia are a unique blend of cultures spanning from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and even Eastern Europe. Thus, the blending of cultures has shaped the flavors of this region in a way that's incomparable to other countries. With its close proximity also to Asia, there are many flavors that are at work to shape this country's unique cuisine, many of which have been hailed for years as some of the best.
Even the dishes that can be found throughout other neighboring countries and regions will never taste quite as they do in Armenia, simply because of the personal twist each person has added. As recipes were added, they were also adopted and the dolma you have in Greece might not be quite what you'll try in Armenia. So while it is a fusion, it's a fusion of flavors that have been personalized and customized, traditional only to Armenia with not many others able to duplicate it.
It seems that almost every country has its own take on the kebab and khorovats is the Armenian take on a similar dish. This skewered and grilled meat usually consists of lamb, pork, or beef, and, in contrast to many others, the meat is actually seasoned very minimally. Whereas marinades are an abundance on kebabs in other cultures, khorovats are served quite simply as it's believed the flavors of the meat are allowed to shine through more this way.[
The skewers are cooked over an open flame which allows them to get slightly charred and soak up a smoky, flame-grilled flavor. Vegetables are often served with khorovats, such as eggplant, peppers, onions, fried tomatoes, and greens.
The correct pronunciation while in Armenia is actually 'tolma' and while these are similar to the stuffed grape leaves one might find throughout the Middle East, they're also quite different. It's true that every generation is likely to have their own recipe, and often add more ingredients than the typical dolma which consists simply of rice, minced meat, onions, and spices.
In Armenia, these dolmas can be found with any variation of tomatoes, courgette, lentils, aubergine (eggplant), red peppers, mint, or coriander. For Easter, dolmas are made a bit differently as well and are wrapped in cabbage leaves as opposed to grape leaves.
This dish starts with a base of minced meat which is then mixed with ground wheat and onions, but the difference between the Armenian dish and other kofta is the way in which the dish is cooked. Typically, the dish is grilled but in Armenia, it's actually cooked in a broth which yields a more delicate result that's mild in flavor without the grill as a factor.
That doesn't mean a lack of flavor, though, as the broth itself is flavored with pomegranate molasses and brown sugar. A squeeze of lemon over the top cuts through the richness of this dish and serves as the perfect balance.
Ishkahn is Armenia's most popular fish dish and starts with a piece of trout, usually, one that's caught in Lake Sevan. There's no secret to this dish other than the fact that trout from Lake Sevan often have more meat on them and thus, yield a bolder and richer flavored fish than anywhere else.
The trout can be cooked in any number of ways and is often boiled, fried, or braised. Wine and fresh herbs make up major flavor components in many of the dishes, with notes of basil, tarragon, pepper, and chives peeking through.
This dish is specific to Southern Armenia and has gained a reputation as being the most popular vegetarian dish in the country, so much so that it can be found relatively easily in many restaurants. The dish starts with butternut squash that has been cooked with the center scooped out, and then stuffed with all manner of delicious ingredients, such as rice and dried fruits.
Each recipe is different from place to place and this is usually reflected in the range of dried fruits that can be stuffed into the squash - anything from apples to plums and even prunes are fair game. The only constant with this dish is that apricots must be included, as they're unique to Armenia and are seen in many recipes. The juices from the squash plump up the dried fruits, while the sweetness from the dried fruits seeps into the squash, making it a sweeter dish that exudes natural flavor.
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