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carrot_salad1

Last time my mother-in-law visited us, she gave me all of her recipe notebooks full of the recipes she has collected over years. It is a special collection and I am going to hand it down to my daughter when she grows up, provided she develops a passion for cooking just like her grandma and … all the modesty aside… […]

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I Won Ice Cream + My 6 Word Memoir

i-love-ice-cream

Yesterday was no ordinary day. I won a contest. And the gift I am receiving is no ordinary either. I won ice cream! My foodie collegue, the most inspiring, creative and fun Erin at Erin Cooks held this contest for the best Ask Erin question. She posted the names of the three winners she picked, and I was thrilled to […]

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tart1

Last month I received an email from Julie Upmeyer in Istanbul who was asking whether I would like to contribute a tart filling recipe for her project called Two Times Tart. The project was a trans-cultural culinary exploration of tastes and geographies, created from the contributions of 9 individuals from Turkey, and its eight neighboring countries -Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Syria, Georgia, […]

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Potato Pirojki

This is a hands down winner in our family. Pirojki. They are believed to have originated from Russia, but have well blended into the cuisine of Azerbaijan and are popular both among the grownups and children alike. These dough pockets, stuffed with savory fillings such as cabbage, mashed green peas, potato or meat, can be either deep fried or baked […]

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My spinach repertoire continues. This time I added a spinach salad I learned from my dear friend Asli. They came over for dinner the other day. The table was set… but I was missing a salad. I had a bag of baby spinach sitting in my refrigerator and Asli suggested we make spinach salad with walnuts, cheese and apples. The […]

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Easy Baklava

easy-baklava

I’ve been wanting to post the recipe for Azerbaijani baklava for a long time. So, for the first time in my life I dared to make baklava myself, but …. it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. It tasted great (we had guests and they loved it) and it had all the right flavors, but I was still not […]

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layered-saffron-rice

Eziz Qonaqlar, Meclisimize Ash Gelir! Ok, no panicking, it’s in Azeri, I’ll translate, word by word: Dear Guests, Pilaff is Entering Our Ceremony! This is how the Tamada, a Toastmaster always announces the appearance of a festive Pilaff at the Azerbaijani wedding ceremony. Royal treatment, you would say? Now, listen to this. Beautifully presented and mouth-watering pilaff is literally escorted […]

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How to Make Saffron Water

Saffron (in Azeri: Zeferan) is widely used in Azerbaijani cuisine to add flavor and color to the food. When buying saffron, go for threads instead of powder, as they stay fresh and aromatic longer than the powder. Saffron water is usually added to rice pilaffs, some meat dishes, soups and sweets. Here’s how you treat this rare spice before it […]

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How to Peel Chestnuts

Chestnuts are widely used in Azerbaijani cuisine, especially in Rice Pilaffs. They make a perfect snack when roasted, too. Here’s how you peel them to use in your recipes. 1. There are two methods you can choose from to treat the chestnuts before peeling them. Option 1: With a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the flat side of each […]

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This is my first recipe in the Fish category. And I started with the king of Azerbaijani fish recipes – fish stuffed with walnuts. On joyful occasions such as the celebration of Spring Holiday – Novruz, the Azerbaijani table overflows with food. But there is always room for fish stuffed with Levengi, a traditional walnut filling originating from the beautiful […]

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Today is the 8th of March – International Women’s Day. I don’t think it is celebrated in the US, but in Azerbaijan it is big. Good for women, bad for men:)) They have to buy flowers, chocolates, gifts for all the women in the family, at work, at school, including wives, moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, cousins, and so on and […]

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Spring is in the Air!

Tree in Bloom

Spring is coming. With its colors, liveliness and freshness. Where I live we’ve been seeing trees blooming and hearing birds chirping for quite some time already. I took a picture of our neighbor’s beautiful tree in full bloom (our apricot tree is lazy, it’s just starting to bloom, slowly) a couple of days ago, during my morning stroll with the […]

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Dried Bean Stew (Mash Shorbasi)

Dried Bean Soup

My ancestors are from the city of Ordubad in Azerbaijan. Even though neither my parents nor my sister and I were born there, we have been influenced by the food of that region immensely with authentic recipes from Ordubad having been passing from generation to generation in our family. The following recipe of a hearty and flavorful stew is one […]

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Zebra Cake

Zebra Cake

This is just a beautiful cake. I baked it today and wanted to share the recipe with you. I like looking at Zebra cake more that eating it even though it is incredibly delicious. I am not the original creator of this cake, although I wish I were:) I heard that Zebra cake is very popular in Eastern Europe. It […]

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Mixed Vegetable Pickle

pickled mixed vegetables

We are going to do some canning today. In Azerbaijan, canning is a sort of culinary tradition. Jars with homemade preserves, jams, pickles, relishes, sauces can be found in almost every household. They are usually prepared in summer when fruits and vegetables are in abundance and consumed in winter when they are in high demand:) Pickles make a perfect accompaniment […]

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Pomegranate Salad

pomegranate salad

I wrote earlier that my favorite vegetable is eggplant. But I have a favorite fruit, too. POMEGRANATE! In California, Farmers Markets, some grocery stores carry this fruit, usually during the pomegranate season, which is around November-February. During that time I run from store to store in search of the juiciest, largest, cutest pomegranates! Then I bring them home and with […]

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Dumpling Soup (Dushbere)

AZ Cookbook | Dumpling Soup (Dushbere)

Hi, I am back. And I am going to challenge you today as I did myself yesterday, cooking dushbere, Azerbaijani dumpling soup. It is my four-year-old daughter’s favorite, who loves this soup so much that she will trade her favorite macaroni and cheese for a bowl of dushvere without any hesitation. When she asked me to make it again yesterday […]

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It’s Official Now!

AZ Cookbook | It’s Official Now! | Welcome to my kitchen, friends!

Today is January 23, 2008 and my long ago conceived idea to have my own food blog has finally turned into reality and I am officially ready to welcome you here! Ok, here we go… Welcome to my kitchen, friends! If you love to try something new, authentic, different, flavorful and nutritious, you are in the right place. This blog […]

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Spinach With Eggs

AZ Cookbook | Spinach with Eggs

Spinach is good for you. It’s healthy. I always knew it was good but if you asked me the specifics of its benefits, I would be clueless as to what to say. But after reading a bunch of “spinach”-related articles over the Internet (it saves, doesn’t it), I learned one thing for sure – Need more Iron? Go for spinach! […]

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Creamy Yogurt Soup

AZ Cookbook | Creamy Yogurt Soup

Yogurt is widely used in Azerbaijani kitchen. Yogurt soups are especially popular. Some chilled, some warm. There is yogurt soup with fresh herbs, chickpeas and small meatballs, there is chilled yogurt soup with cucumber and there is this wonderful soup called Kelekosh we are going to make today. Honestly, I don’t remember eating Kelekosh in Azerbaijan. I only read about […]

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Stuffed Grape Leaves

stuffed-grape-leaves

No Azerbaijani table is complete without DOLMA, the all-time favorite, and my favorite too as a matter of fact. The word DOLMA means “stuffed” in Azeri. Variations of this dish are present in cuisines of several other countries, including Middle Eastern, Persian, Turkish and Greek. I’ve tried different versions but still there is something special about Azerbaijani dolma. There is […]

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Tandir (Tandoori) Bread

tandoori-bread1

UPDATE: This is my entry to Click, a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri. You can read my dedication to Bri at as well the bloggers’ appeal to support her HERE. *********** Nothing wrong about it but … honestly, I do crave Tandir Bread sometimes. Tandor or Tandoori as it is better […]

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AZ Cookbook | Eggplant Rolls

I looooove eggplant! In fact, it is my favorite vegetable, and I love almost anything that has eggplant in it. It is quite a popular veggie in Azerbaijan. We use it in many different ways, from fried eggplant, to eggplant pickle and even eggplant preserve (my aunt makes the best eggplant preserve ever!)! Today we are going to make Eggplant […]

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