Meatballs and eggs

Tava Kyabab, meatballs and eggs

This is a quick and easy dish from Azerbaijan, the type of recipe that makes you wonder how good it can be if made with the best ingredients, not the ones I get from the supermarket.

  • 500 g minced beef
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs
  1. Mix meat and onions, season with salt and pepper and make 6 meatballs.
  2. Add two tablespoons of vegetable of oil to the pot and brown meatballs on both sides over medium heat, around 5 minutes per side.
  3. Beat eggs and add to the pot. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until set.

Serve it with a tart salad and good bread and you’ll be in heaven.

An Ugly Fish Soup

An Ugly Fish Soup

The original recipe calls for sturgeon, a fish I cannot find where I live. At first monkfish was the substitute of choice because of its robust texture but then I saw a conger eel that looked perfect.

Nature has been kind enough to give ugly fishes fantastic flavor. Lamprey, monkish, scorpion fish and conger eel are delicious and among my favorite. Sturgeon must follow this rule for sure. So while at the fishmonger, aim for the grotesque.

  • Four pieces of ugly fish
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 10 allspice peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • a generous bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Chilli powder
  1. Bring 3 liters of to a rolling boil and add onions, allspice, bay leaves, parsley and salt. Boil for 30 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, chilli and fish and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg yolk and flour. Add 1/4 cup of cooking broth. Remove pot from heat and egg and flour mixture, stirring until the soup thickens and serve.

Azeri Chicken and Quince Stew

Quince has a hard flesh that makes it very suitable for slow stews because it doesn’t fall apart.

  • A chicken, cut in pieces
  • 2 onions
  • 2 quinces
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  1. Put everything but turmeric in the pot, cover and stew over low heat until chicken is tender
  2. Add turmeric and squeeze lemon over the stew, stir and cook for a few more minutes. That’s it.

It freezes well.

Azeri Beef Stew With Dried Plums Recipe

Bozartma: Azeri Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Dried Plums

I find stews with red sauce particularly appealing, as the one below. Don’t be shy with the oil, as it gives the dish the depth it asks for. Balance the richness with a side dish of fresh vegetables and pickles.

  • 1 kg beef shank cut in medium pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped as finely as you can
  • 2 tablespoons tomate paste
  • A handful of dried plums
  • 4 potatoes, cut in medium cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  1. Sauté meat and onions in vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes. Then add 3 glasses of water and cook until meat is tender.
  2. Add tomato paste, potatoes and plums and cook until potatoes are done.
  3. Give the dish the final touch with turmeric and salt to taste. Serve.

Tips&Tricks: To freeze it, do it before putting in the potatoes and plums and add when reheating the stew.

Azeri Lemon and Leek Chicken Stew

Azeri Chicken with Leeks and Lemons

I cannot travel much nowadays. Even the shortest breakaway drains our stamina because of all the attention our two babies need, so we’ve decided to wait a little longer until our next trip. Instead, I let my imagination do the work through cooking books. The latest arrival was The Food and Art of Azerbaijan, with many one pot dishes like this one, which is called “Toyug-Límon Buglamasy” (Google cannot find anything by those words, by the way.)

Reading the simple everyday recipes the book is filled with paints a perfect picture of an ordinary Azeri family kitchen and that’s why I love it. This humble chicken stew is a perfect example.

  • 1 chicken
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 3 small lemons
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cut the chicken in medium size pieces.
  2. Finely chop leeks.
  3. Cut lemons in half.
  4. Put all the ingredients in the pot, add salt and pepper to taste, cover with a lid and stew for 45 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

I’ve made it with stuff from the supermarket, but I will try next spring with home raised chicken, and leeks and lemons from a Mayka’s garden.