I am forever fascinated with food from other cultures. International cuisine reveals so much depth and many unique flavor combinations that delight my culinary curiosity.
Today’s recipe comes from Azerbaijan, a country with a fascinating history and captivating cultural and culinary heritage.
Azerbaijan is known as the “Land of Fire” because of its rich natural gas deposits that sometimes ignite and burn up through the ground, has a unique cuisine that is the product of centuries of cultural exchange. One can find food traditions there originating in Turkey, Iran, Russia, Georgia, the Middle East & Central Asia.
Only in Azerbaijan can you visit a crude oil spa where you lie naked in a pool of oil up to your neck and relax. I am pretty sure this is up there with fish massages in Thailand. (Check out a video of my mom and I enjoying our fish massage here.)
I recently met the delightful Feride Buyuran, author of the multiple award-winning Azerbaijan cookbook called Pomegranates & Saffron, A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan at a Melissa’s Produce media luncheon.
This cookbook is a fascinating glimpse into local culture and traditions with, 200 easy to follow and oh so appetizing recipes, gorgeously photographed.
The bread recipes alone will make you swoon.
Once the weather cools down, I am going to make the “Layered Almond Pastries” on page 256. Until then, here are some other flavorful recipes I sampled and loved. The dishes were scrumptious and notable for an extravagant use of fresh herbs.
Chopped Vegetable Salad pg. 38 & Vegetable Kabab Salad pg. 41
Meatballs in Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce pg. 71 & Ganja-Style Chicken with Eggs pg. 98
Rice Pilaf with Dill & Fava Beans pg. 178 & Baku-Style Baklava pg. 249
The Ganja-Style Chicken with Eggs recipe captivated me because I can’t recall ever cooking chicken with eggs. Feride encouraged us to adapt her recipes and make them our own. So that is exactly what I did.
Since it is currently summer and cooking anything for a long period is out of the question for me, I used a Rotisserie Chicken instead of cooking my own. It makes this recipe a breeze. I also added mushrooms because I had them on hand and they were terrific. I could easily see adding bell peppers as well.
- 1 Rotisserie chicken, cut up in bite-size pieces
- About 10 tablespoons clarified butter or unsalted butter
- 3 medium onions, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (3 packed cups)
- 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (I used 1-inch grated fresh turmeric)
- 4 large eggs
- Ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Heat 8 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch frying pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, about 15 minutes. Add the turmeric, stir to evenly coat the onion, and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Remove the onion from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the remaining butter in the pan.
- Melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the same frying pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms start to turn dark reddish-brown with golden spots. This should take another 5-8 minutes.
- Return the onion to the pan, season with black pepper, and additional salt to taste. Add chicken and stir to combine, and level with a spoon.
- Break the eggs in a small bowl and beat lightly. Pour the eggs evenly over the
- chicken mixture. Cover and cook until the eggs are set, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with rice pilaf or bread.
“This cookbook is part culture, part history, part ethnography, part recipes, part stories – a little bit of everything written with love that I hope readers will enjoy and appreciate.” – Feride Buyuran
This cookbook inspires me with Azerbaijani cuisine’s diversity of flavors and techniques. I enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to trek to this exotic and picturesque country.
…and then, she paused for thought.
You can check out Feride’s website & blog for other great recipes. www.AZCookbook.com
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Pomegranates & Saffron” cookbook to cook with. All opinions are my own.