Shashlyk Po-Karski

Shashlyk Po-Karski, Döner Kebab, and Gyro

Shashlyk po-karski (Kars-style shashlyk) is a rather mysterious dish. Every time I’ve ordered it in restaurants, I’ve been served either a rack of lamb or individual grilled lamb chops. What made either version specifically from Kars, a Turkish town that once belonged to medieval Armenia? Why not call it chalakhach, another dish of mysterious origins that […]

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Caucasus Adventures Redux

I’ve recently posted the last installment of my Azerbaijan Adventures, so it’s time to say farewell to the Caucasus (for the time being, at least), and look back at all I have distilled over the past three years. Like a goat jumping over the snowy peaks of the Caucasus, I have traveled through Georgia, Armenia, […]

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Whitefish Cakes, Onion and Tomato Salad

This recipe closes my trilogy of “Lake Sevan’s Gifts” (see here and here for the first two parts). Common whitefish, locally called sig, was introduced into Lake Sevan from Lake Ladoga, and has since become the prominent species as far as food goes. Goldfish were also introduced, which is a rather curious choice. Fish are typically […]

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Crawfish Lyulya Kebabs

Here’s the second dish in my trilogy of Lake Sevan’s Gifts (the Trout Kutap was my first)! Lyulya kebabs are originally an Azerbaijani dish consisting of a mixture of ground lamb cooked on a skewer. They’re so popular that they spread far beyond the borders of Azerbaijan, and variations are being offered, with other main […]

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Zhingalov Khats, Herb Flatbread from Karabakh

Zhingalov khats, a flatbread with a variety of fresh herbs, is a specialty from Nagorno-Karabakh (literally, it means bread with herbs in Armenian). If you ever visit the market in Stepanakert, you can taste the real deal made fresh in front of you. Unfortunately, that might be your only chance to do so: my Internet and […]

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Lavash, Armenian Flatbread

Lavash is a large flatbread popular in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, where it’s commonly used to wrap food like kebabs. The etymology of the word is unclear, and various scholars alternately mention an Armenian, Turkic or Persian origin. The picture above shows the lavash stacks at the market in Yerevan. These breads are quite large, but […]

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Armenian Brandied Apricot Preserves

Related to my recent trip to Armenia, here’s a recipe for apricot preserves with a Caucasian twist. As you can see from the picture above, apricots are plentiful in Armenia. Why not combine them with some local brandy and honey? Young Armenian brandies may lack the subtlety to be enjoyed as digestifs, but they offer a robust […]

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