Evlik: Dock. This is added to soup, and used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal ailments. In summer, it is dug together with its root and dried. Believed to be good for healing damage to the internal organs during winter; it is steeped and sipped as a tea in the morning and evening.
Isırgan (Gıcıkkan): Stinging nettle. This is used as a filling for a type of bun, as well as eaten as a potherb. When it is to be eaten raw, it is first kneaded with salt. It is believed to be effective against Rheumatism, arthritis etc.
Yeşil Fasulye Kavurması: Green beans sautéed with onion, made just as in Turkey. If made with butter and eggs, it is topped with garlic-infused yogurt as well.
Ispanak Kavurması: Spinach cooked with onions, with the addition of pepper or tomato paste, just as in Turkey.
Merövce: This is a wild plant which grows on mountain slopes, and is not cultivated. It is quite rare and expensive. The stems are prepared and sautéed just as with spinach.
Şomu: A wild herb with a reddish hue that resembles spinach and grows on mountain slopes. Its tops are sautéed.
Çiriş: This is the spring sprouts of Eremurus (foxtail lily), which are sautéed as they are in Turkey.
Dağ Kişnişi (“Mountain coriander”): This herb is not cooked alone but rather added to other dishes for its aroma.
Kuşebbeği: This is Capsella bursa-pastoris, or Shepherd’s purse. The Turkish name means “bird bread.” It is sautéed as well as used for a filling for a pastry known as göy ketesi. These buns may also be made with nettles, or cilantro and spinach. The shepherd’s purse is chopped finely. Dough is rolled out very thin and folded over the herb. The edges are sealed and it is cooked on both sides on a lightly convex griddle called a sac. As the dough rises, it is lightly pricked with a knife. They are then spread with butter and stacked on a metal tray. Shepherd’s purse, nettle and dock, and other herbs such as sorrel and others are also eaten raw.
Just as the Turkish cuisines of Anatolia and the Iran, Karabakh cuisine includes a rich variety of sweet dishes. Sütlaç (rice pudding) is made just as it is in Turkey, by boiling rice in milk till it begins to disintigrage and adding sugar. Fırni is a rather firm type of pudding made of rice flour and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Kuymak: Flour is first browned in butter. Then a light sugar syrup is added, then honey. This is served for nine days to women who have newly given birth.
Baklava: This is made with 21 layers of hand-rolled yufka and a walnut filling is added between each layer. It is cooked in the same way as in Turkey.
Helva (Halvah): This is made in the same way as Turkey.
Şörgoğol: The dough for this dish is rolled thin in small circles as for burma. The filling is prepared of spices and coriander seed, and it is topped with egg and sesame.
Kebabs hold a important place in traditional cooking in Karabakh, including shish kebab as in Turkey. Other types of kebab include:
Bastırma Kebap: This is also known as terbiyeli kebap (marinated kebab). The meat for this dish is first allowed to stand in apple or grape vinegar. It is then cooked with chopped onion and thyme.
Lüle Kebabı or Dövme Kebabı: This is the same as the “Adana Kebabı” of Turkey, made with finely chopped meat, either with or without hot pepper. It is eaten with yufka, lavash or Türki çörek.
Tike Kebabı: This is the same as Turkey’s shish kebab made with cubes of meat.
Balık Kebabı: Fish kebab, also known as asetrin kebabı, it is made with a local fish known as asetrin. It is a special occasion dish.
Bağırsak Kebabı: Intestine kebab, made from the small intestine of sheep and lambs. Its preparation is quite different from that of its nearest Turkish counterpart, kokoreç. The intestine is wound onto the spit. Another dish made with trip cooked on a spit or over hot coals is known as kalin karta. In Turkey, it is commonly made by Karapapah Turks.
In addition, there are potato, tomato and pepper kebabs. To make these, they are hollowed out, then stuffed with sheep tail and cooked as kebab.
Tea in Karabakh traditional cuisine is quite a production. Among the pastries served with tea are kurabiye (various cookies), kete, rulet (rolled-up cookies), feseli (an oily bread) and others. Various nuts and dried fruits are also served7.
1 Dr. Yaşar Kalafat, “Vatan-İran-Turan Hattı ve Cafer Türklerinde Halk İnançları” Türk Dünyası Araştırmaları, Haziran 1997, nr. 108, s. 41-68.
2 Dr. Yaşar Kalafat “Birinci Uluslararası Azerbaycan Sempozyumu ve İkinci İrarı Seyahati Notları”, Kardeş Edebıyatlar, nr. 44, s. 14-18.
3 Yaşar Kalafat, Bakü-Ceyhan Kültür Hattı, Ankara, 2000, s. 97-100; ve “Kaşkayi Türklerinde Sosyal Yaşam” Yörük ve Türkmenlerde Günlük Hayat Sempozyumu Bildirileri, (17-18 Mayıs 2002) Ankara, 2002, s. 109-137
4 Yaşar Kalafat-T. M. Dilmegani “Karşılaştırmalı Güney Azerbaycan Türk Halk İnançları”, İki bin yirmi üç,Haziran 2002, nr. 14, s. 64-69
5 Eren Akçiçek, “Sarmısakla İlgili İnançlar”, Eren’ce (Halk Bilimi Yazıları), İzmir, 1997,s.46-66
6 Y. Kalafat, “Türk Halk İnançlarında Sarımsak ve Soğanla İlgili Hususlar”, Türk Mutfak Kültürü Araştırmaları, Ankara, 2001, s. 85-91
7 Yazımızın “Karadağ Türk Halk Mutfağı” ilgili kısmına Doç. Dr. Aygün Aktar kaynaklık yapmıştır.
* Dr. Asam is President of the Caucasus Department.