TRAVEL NEWS: What’s a Plov? Find out in The First Cookbook from Azerbaijan

In the 336-page Pomegranates and Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan, readers can explore 200 tempting recipes. The book is comprised primarily of never-before-published recipes, along with some favorites from the author. It’s the first book of recipes from Azerbaijan published in the U.S.

The First Azerbiajiani Cokbook published in the US

The First Azerbiajiani Cokbook published in the US

What makes food from the region so special: ecology. Out of 11 climate zones known in the world, the Azerbaijani climate has nine. This contributes to the fertility of the land, which in its turn results in the richness of the country’s cuisine. It is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. The main course of Azerbaijani cuisine are over 30 kinds of soups, including those prepared from plain yogurt. One of the most reputed dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine, however, is plov from saffron-covered rice, served with various herbs and greens. Azerbaijani cuisine includes more than 40 different plov recipes.

Interspersed throughout the text of the book are fascinating glimpses of local culture and traditional food-related proverbs that will make the reader’s adventure even more memorable.

Feride Buyuran is the creator of AZCookbook.com, a popular food blog that features recipes and stories from Azerbaijan and beyond. Her passion for cooking and fond childhood memories led her to produce this book – her first – about the cuisine of her homeland. The book is a result of more than 6 years of exploring the food culture of Azerbaijan, collecting and testing recipes from various regions of the country, as well as photographing the dishes.

Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leek, chive, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes. The Caspian Sea is home to many edible species of fish, including the sturgeon, Caspian salmon, kutum, sardines, grey mullet, and others. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of Azerbaijan’s best known delicacies well sought after in other parts of the world, including former Soviet countries.

Other second courses include a wide variety of kebabs and shashlik, including lamb, beef, chicken, and fish (baliq) kebabs. Sturgeon, a common fish, is normally skewered and grilled as a shashlik, being served with a tart pomegranate sauce called narsharab. Dried fruits and walnuts are used in many dishes. The traditional condiments are salt, black pepper, sumac, and especially saffron, which is grown domestically on the Absheron Peninsula.

To learn more about the book or to order it, visit the News.AZ website.

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Original World offers unique cultural immersion tours to Azerbaijan – where you eat plov to your heart’s content – including the upcoming Small Group Guided Tour of The Caucasus: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan
, which departs for 21 days in September 2014.

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