Some recipes call for use of skinned almonds. This is very easy to do at home. Here’s how:
1. Put the almonds in a pot and pour boiling water over them to barely cover their tops.
2. Let the almonds sit in the water for about 2 minutes. Do not keep them there for too long, or they will lose their crispiness and will be too soft.
3. Drain off the water, pat dry the nuts with paper towels or a kitchen towel and slip the skins off by squeezing the almonds between your thumb and forefinger. The skin will easily slide off.
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 is added to your dish. Note that the amount of saffron and water differs from recipe to recipe, so refer to your recipe for the specifics. This is just a basic guideline. Only 2 steps to follow!
1. Grind saffron threads into powder using a mortar and pestle.
2. Dissolve in hot water, allow to rest for at least 5 minutes and use as directed in the recipe.