The food in Azerbaijan combines flavours from the Mediterranean, Iran and Turkey. Azerbaijani cuisine features a range of dishes including fresh herbs and vegetables, hearty soups, chargrilled meats and kebab, aromatic rice pilaf, and slow-cooked stews. The food in Azerbaijan is full of flavour and guaranteed to be a true highlight of your visit.
Food in Azerbaijan – 10 Most Popular Dishes
The world dolma means “stuffed”. It is a family of stuffed dishes common in Caucasian, Eastern Mediterranean, Iranian and Balkan cuisines. Dolma can be served cold or warm and it’s my favourite food in Azerbaijan and in other regions of the world.
Dolma is vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with diced meat, rice, onions, fresh herbs such as mint, dill and coriander, salt & pepper and butter. This tasty food in Azerbaijan has more than 25 variations depending on the season and the region.
Badymdjan dolmasi are eggplant, tomatoes and pepper dolma filled with the above ingredients – a wonderful food of Azerbaijan.
Lahmacun translates to “dough with meat.” Pronounced “lah-ma-joun”, it’s a word I learned to say very quickly during my visit as I love this food in Azerbaijan. I’d describe lahmacun as thin, crispy pizza topped with a spiced minced meat combination and is usually served with either fresh parsley or salad and a wedge of lemon. Before consuming the lahmacun, squeeze the lemon inside, add the herbs/salad and fold over and eat while it’s hot. It’s the ultimate street food of Azerbaijan.
Lahmacun is filling, cheap and highly enjoyable – so don’t miss trying this food in Azerbaijan if you get the chance to visit.
It is also popular in the Levant region (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan) where the Ottoman Empire once extended. This dish is known by a different name in other countries, but I can tell you from experience, it is always a pleasure to eat. I enjoyed the variation of lahmacun in Syria, called ‘sfiha’. Read more about the food I loved the most in Syria.
3) Lamb Stew with chestnuts and dried fruit
Lamb or veal stew with chestnuts and dried fruit is a popular food of Azerbaijan. It’s a perfectly balanced sweet and sour stew often served with rice pilaf. This is a dish you must try in Azerbaijan before you leave.
The secret ingredient to create this wonderful stew is albukhara, a tangy dried fruit that adds the sour element to the dish. Once dried apricots, raisins and chestnuts are added, the sweetness from these ingredients creates the balanced flavour of the stew. I love it and as soon as I took the first mouthful, it reminded me of some fantastic meals I ate when travelling in Iran. This makes perfect sense as Iran borders Azerbaijan and both countries have fantastic cuisine.
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4) Baliq Kebab
Baliq (fish) is a popular food in Azerbaijan. Fish caught in the Caspian sea (usually salmon & sturgeon) can be eaten fried whole or cut into chunks, marinated, skewered, and grilled. The marinade is typically a blend of chopped parsley, dill, lemon juice, and salt. This is a common blend of flavours of the food of Azerbaijan.
Plov is known as the national dish of Azerbaijan. This is also a popular dish in other Central Asian and Eastern European countries. Azerbaijani plov uses saffron-flavoured rice cooked with lamb, aromatic herbs, dried chestnuts, apricots, onion, garlic, carrots and cumin.
I enjoyed this delicious ‘Shah plov’ at Xezer Restaurant in Baku. I’d recommend this restaurant for those looking to try delicious food in Azerbaijan.
The crispy exterior you see below is made with lavash, a thin and soft wheat-based flatbread, and it was delicious. This is the kind of food of Azerbaijan that I’d return for.
The food in Azerbaijan maintains some ancient cooking methods. Clay or copper pots are traditionally used and provide a unique flavour to the dish. One Azerbaijani dish which is still cooked and served in a special pan is Sadj. Meat and vegetables are cooked together in the sadj, with tail fat from lamb to add flavour and colour.
It is served from the stove to the table on the pan, usually with the coals burning underneath to keep it hot.
Try the best lamb sadj at Beer Bakal restaurant & lounge in Nakhchivan.