Dushbara is a traditional dumpling soup, which while popular throughout the country, is considered a true Baku delicacy. It consists of tiny meat dumplings, boiled together in a broth with a touch of vinegar and garlic sauce. According to tradition, Azerbaijanis should be able to make the dushbara dumplings small enough to fit 10 of them all on one tablespoon! Preparing dushbara may be time-consuming, but it’s a great winter warmer.
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Our most sinfully flavoursome pastry is the famous pakhlava: layers of dough, stuffed with nuts or pistachios, and coated with honey or syrup. Traditionally, it’s eaten during the Novruz holiday together with shekerbura and shorgoghal, but it’s also enjoyed throughout the year. Pakhlava has a distinctive diamond shape, symbolising fire, and differs from region to region. We highly recommend trying the regional variations of pakhlava in Sheki and Guba – two cities famous for their sweets.
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.
Sheki’s signature dish started out as a hearty lamb stew for the city’s working class. Now it’s popular throughout the country, although for the most authentic pot of piti you should definitely head to Sheki. Chickpeas, chestnuts, saffron and local spices pack the dish with flavour, but the key element lies in the earthenware pots in which piti is cooked and served. What’s more, this is actually two dishes in one: first you pour the broth into a separate bowl and enjoy as a soup starter and then you pour in the rest for the main course!