This completely unique meatball dish hails from Nakhchivan and is named after its massive size, which will amaze even the most experienced travellers: this is the biggest and heaviest of all the kufta meals in Azerbaijani cuisine and way too much for just one person. The dish is prepared from a full chicken stuffed with a boiled egg and covered by a mix of minced beef and fatty mutton which is rolled into a giant ball, cooked and served with boiled potatoes.
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Qutabs are a sort of pancake stuffed with different fillings – such as meat, spinach, cheese or pumpkin - and cooked on an iron disk called a saj. In Baku and the Absheron region, qutabs are drizzled with melted butter and served with yogurt and pomegranate. They can also be sprinkled with sumac, rolled into tubes and eaten with your hands. Azerbaijanis often serve qutabs with ayran – a cold yogurt drink mixed with salt and herbs.
Shekerbura is another irresistibly sweet pastry. Shaped like a half moon with elaborate exterior patterns made using special mini tongs, the inside is filled with ground almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and sugar. The tastiest shekerbura is so soft that it disintegrates immediately in the mouth! Like pakhlava, it’s one of the symbolic sweets of the much-loved Novruz holiday, during which family and friends join forces to bake them together.
Our deep respect for bread is genuine and heartfelt: we swear by it and never throw it away. A wide variety of breads are baked around the country, the most popular being tandir and lavash. While tandir is greased with egg yolk and baked in a clay oven, lavash is a flat bread, wafer-thin and baked on a saj.
Served mostly at weddings or special occasions, shah plov is considered the ‘king of plovs’ and is most commonly accompanied by qovurma – cooked meat, nuts, dry fruits and herbs. Shah plov is both a delicious dish and an unforgettable experience. After cutting the plov, which is glued together by a covering of buttery lavash bread, the astonishing aroma of the rice and other ingredients is sure to leave you with a lasting impression.