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.
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Dolma is a dish traditionally made of grape leaves stuffed with various fillings of meat and rice, enriched with herbs or nuts. Its name comes from the verb ‘dolmaq’, meaning ‘to stuff’ in Azerbaijani. The ingredients vary from region to region and depending on the time of year. For example, in summertime, stuffed aubergines or tomatoes are also considered dolma dishes.
Made of rice mixed with herbs, dried fruits, meat or fish and other local ingredients, plov (pilaf) is a dish that can never get boring! It comes in all varieties and is always around during any Azerbaijani holiday. Some of the most popular types are fisinjan (with ground meat in a pomegranate and nut sauce), shirin (with raisins and dried apricots), and shah, which is encased in layers of buttered lavash bread.
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.