Visiting a foreign country, a foreign culture and not tasting typical dishes of that region means you are missing half of the pleasure of your journey. The Armenian cuisine is a perfect example of how history influences the culinary traditions of any land. Here are some authentic Armenian foods you can’t afford to miss.
Tolma or dolma is a dish, made of vegetables stuffed with meat. Those vegetables include grape leaves, tomato, pepper, eggplant and cabbage. Tolma is generally served warm, often with yoghurt sauce with garlic. Armenians has also its type, known as Pasus Tolma. It is made with red beans, lentils, cracked wheat, tomato paste, onion and many spices and flavorings wrapped into cabbage leaves.
HARISSA - CHICKEN PORRIDGE
Actually, there are many Armenian dishes that should taste, but at first it is a must to taste “harissa”. As Armenians say “harissa” is a very special and historical Armenian dish. It is considered to be the symbol for Armenia’s courage. ''Harissa'' is a thick porridge made from dried or roasted cracked wheat and fat-rich meat, usually chicken or lamb.
KHASH – A MOUTHWATERING SOUP Khash is traditionally eaten early in the morning until breakfast or instead. The meal is served with crushed garlic, salt, sliced radish. Khash eats with lavash, radish and various greens. In some parts of Armenia, it is eaten by hands, sprinkle it with dried lavash. Generaly, the cooking ceremony begins in the evening as it is served early in the morning. Traditionally, khash eats in the cold weather of the year, in winter.
KHOROVATS –ARMENIAN BARBECUE
If you happen to be in Armenia in mid-September, be sure to take part in the annual khorovats festival in Akhtala. Khorovats is an inseparable part of every Armenian gathering, be it a summer picnic with friends or a wedding celebration.
GHAPAMA - STUFFED PUMPKIN DISH
Ghapama is an Armenian dish usually prepared during holiday season. It is made of pumpkin. After removing its guts, Armenians stuff it with boiled rice and dried fruits: apple, apricot, plums, chopped almonds, cornel, as well as prunes and raisins. The pumpkin is baked in the oven until it becomes soft (traditionally baked in “tonir”). After cutting and serving the stuffed pumpkin, it is common to pour honey or milk on ghapama, mixing in ground cinnamon or sugar. You may have heard an Armenian folk song about this meal, which is usually sung during the baking and serving process. It is known as “Hey Jan Ghapama”, recently more popularized by a famous Armenian singer Harout Pamboukjian.
ZHINGYALOV HATS - TRADITIONAL DISH OF ARMENIANS FROM NOGORNO KARABAKH
Zhingyalov hats is known from Karabakh cuisine as well as from Kapan and Goris's cuisine, which include greens (zhingyal). In some regions, it is also called Pinjyarov hats, due to the pinjar (nettle), which used in the bread. Zhingyalov hats is made by 25 kind of green.
TRADITIONAL BREAD OF ARMENIA – LAVASH
Armenian cuisine without lavash simply does not exist. Not without a reason the expressions meaning to eat, have dinner, have breakfast, have supper in Armenia are replaced with one – “to eat bread”. This thin fresh bread is still baked using ancient technology in clay tonirs. The real lavash is made from regular flour and spring water on a tonir. Before eating it is sprinkled with water and covered - in a couple of minutes lavash will become soft like new.
GATA – ARMENIAN DESSERTS
A sweet bread made of flour, nuts, and baking soda as main ingredients. This is a perfect pastry recipe to drool over. Its sweet and exotic taste has made it a must-have item in any traditional Armenian event.
BASTURMA – AN ARMENIAN APPETIZER
A tasty dish using dried and seasoned beef. Basturma is a popular cabbage in the Caucasian peoples. It is made from beef, which is not required for thermal treatment and smoke. Although Cured made without heat treatment, it is easy to digest