Stuffed Vegetable Shashlyks, Eggplant and Zucchini Caviar

So you spent your summer preparing exotic shashlyks on the mangal. Making a döner kebab holds no secrets for you anymore. You’ve mastered the art of the lyulya-kebab, whether with meat or potatoes. And now you’re wondering: what else could you possibly put on a skewer to further defy gravity? How about stuffed vegetables, skewered transversely with their stuffing […]

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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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Kutab, Azerbaijani Stuffed Flatbread

Kutabs are among the most popular Azeri dishes, together with plov, dolma, and of course kebabs (kebabs being a distant first: virtually the only meal you’ll ever eat in a restaurant outside of Baku). A kutab — not to be confused with kutap — is essentially a lavash filled with savory stuffing while still raw, then folded […]

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Shashlyk Five Fingers

I’ve already talked about Stalik Khankishiev a few times, most recently here. In this video, Our Stalik demonstrates an interesting idea. Summer’s coming to an end, you’ve braved the heat wave and the thunderstorms to make kebabs more times than you care to remember — seriously, who thought summer was the best season for grilling? Your ungrateful […]

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Lyulya-Kebabs: An Epic Journey

I’ve often spoken of lyulya-kebabs, whether to criticize the ones I’ve eaten in New York  restaurants (such as here, here, or here), or to sing the praise of the ones I’ve had in Azerbaijan (here and here). Truth be told, it’s not all that easy to excel at preparing those skewers of ground lamb, partly because […]

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Happy Novruz!

Wishing you all a happy Novruz! I am including some pictures of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva taking part in the festivities in Baku, eating plov (above) or drinking tea with the traditional sweets (below). I realize that Food Perestroika’s repertoire of Azeri cuisine is somewhat limited at the moment (the most notable […]

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Pepper Dolma

It may be hard to imagine when you’re eating lamb kebab after lamb kebab in Azerbaijan, but there are a lot more dishes in the national culinary repertoire.  In Baku, you can reasonably expect to find excellent meat dolma, which are vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis or onions) stuffed with a mixture of rice and ground […]

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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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