Armenian cuisine is one of the most ancient on Earth and its preparation techniques today remain almost the same as 1500 years ago. Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people and the Armenian diaspora. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outide influences. The cuisine also reflects the traditional crops and animals raised in areas populated by Armenians. Regional influences include the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and to a certain extent also influences from the Balkans. Armenian cuisine and traditions in turn have influenced the culinary traditions of nearby countries and cities such as Aleppo. The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. Lamb, eggplant, yoghurt, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul).
The traditional style cuisine is rich with dishes made of fruits, meat of wild animals and different kinds of fish.
Armenian foods include small appetizers, grain and herb salads, grilled meats, a large variety of soups, stews and flat breads.
Bread is a favorite in Armenian cuisine and usually found at the table at every meal.
In fact it is hard to imagine Armenian cuisine without the traditional lavash bread (unleavened wheat cake), which is loved the world over.
Wild rice and rice pilaf are also common in Armenia, as is skewered meat, commonly known as shish kebab, which is fast becoming as popular as hamburgers.
Armenians are also famous for their soups, which are essential everyday meals for families. The most popular is khash, a clear broth made from ham hocks and herbs.
Tradition holds that khash can only be cooked by men and eaten in the early morning in the dead of winter when it is served with fresh garlic and dried lavash.
Another well-known dish is gharsi khorovats – slivers of grilled meat rolled up in lavash, similar to the Turkish doner kebab.
In fact Armenian cookery uses about 300 kinds of wild-growing herbs, commonly used as seasonings or even a simple dish.
However, you won’t find many cookbooks on Armenian cuisine as most recipes are handed down from parent to child. These recipes are forever changing with the ingredients available.
Actually there are hundreds and hundreds of recipes in Armenian cuisine, after all, Armenians can be considered among the biggest gourmets in the world.
Nowadays they are trying to preserve these traditions – passed down as part of their heritage.
Armenian soups include spas, made from yogurt, hulled wheat and herbs (usually cilantro), and aveluk, made from lentils, walnuts, and wild mountain sorrel (which gives the soup its name). Kiufta soup is made with large balls of strained boiled meat and greens.
Another soup, khash, is considered an Armenian institution. Songs and poems have been written about this one dish, which is made from ham hocks and herbs made into a clear broth. Tradition holds that khash can only be cooked by men, who spend the entire night cooking, and can be eaten only in the early morning in the dead of winter, where it served with heaps of fresh garlic and dried lavash.
T'ghitis a very special and old traditional food, made from t'tu lavash (fruit leather, thin roll-up sheets of sour plum puree), which are cut into small pieces and boiled in water. Fried onions are added and the mixture is cooked into a purée. Pieces of lavash bread are placed on top of the mixture, and it is eaten hot with fresh lavash used to scoop up the mixture by hand.
Karshm is a local soup made in the town of Vaik in the Shirak Province. This is a walnut based soup with red and green beans, chick peas and spices, served garnished with red pepper and fresh garlic. Soups of Russian heritage include borscht, a beet root soup with meat and vegetables (served hot in Armenia, with fresh sour cream) and okroshka, a yogurt or kefir based soup with chopped cucumber, green onion, and garlic.
·Arganak – chicken soup with small meatballs, garnished before serving with beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, and parsley.
·Blghourapour – a sweet soup made of hulled wheat cooked in grape juice; served hot or cold. ·Bozbash – a mutton or lamb soup that exists in several regional varieties with the addition of different vegetables and fruits.
·Brndzapour – rice and potato soup, garnished with coriander.
·Dzavarapour – hulled wheat, potatoes, tomato puree; egg yolks diluted with water are stirred into the soup before serving.
·Flol – beef soup with coarsely chopped spinach leaves and cherry-sized dumplings (Armenian: flol) made from oatmeal or wheat flour.
·Harissa – porridge of coarsely ground wheat with pieces of boned chicken
·Katnapour – a milk-based rice soup, sweetened with sugar.
·Katnov – a milk-based rice soup with cinnamon and sugar.
·Kololik – soup cooked from mutton bones with ground mutton dumplings, rice, and fresh tarragon garnish; a beaten egg is stirred into the soup before serving.
·Krchik – soup made from sauerkraut, hulled wheat, potatoes, and tomato puree.
·Mantapour – beef soup with manti; the manti are typically served with yogurt or sour cream (ttvaser), accompanied by clear soup.
Grilling (barbecue) is very popular in Armenia, and grilled meats are often the main course in restaurants and at family gatherings. Grilled meat is also eaten as fast food.
· Khorovats (or khorovadz) – Armenian word for barbecued or grilled meats (the generic kebab in English), the most representative dish of Armenian cuisine enjoyed in restaurants, family gatherings, and as fast food. A typical khorovats is chunks of meat grilled on a skewer, although steaks or chops grilled without skewers may be also included. In Armenia itself, khorovats is often made with the bone still in the meat (as lambor pork chops). Western Armenians outside Armenia generally cook the meat with bones taken out and call it by the Turkish name shish kebab. On the other hand, the word kebab in Armenia refers to uncased sausage-shaped patties from ground meat grilled on a skewer (called losh kebab or lule kebab by diasporan Armenians and Turks). In Armenia today, the most popular meat for khorovats (including losh kebab) is pork due to Soviet-era economic heritage. Armenians outside Armenia usually prefer lamb or beef depending on their background, and chicken is also popular.
· Gharsi khorovats – slivers of grilled meat rolled up in lavash, similar to the Middle-Eastern shawarma and the Turkish doner kebab; this "shashlik Ghars style" takes its name from the city of Kars (Armenian: Ghars) in eastern Turkey, close to the Armenian border.
· Fasulya – a stew made with green beans, lamb and tomato broth or other ingredients.
· Ghapama– pumpkin stew.
· Kchuch– a casserole of mixed vegetables with pieces of meat or fish on top, baked and served in a clay pot.
· Tjvjik– a dish of fried liver and kidneys with onions.
·Ishkhan – Sevan trout (endangered species), served steamed, grilled on a skewer, or stuffed and baked in the oven.
·Sig – a whitefish from the Lake Sevan, native to northern Russian lakes (endangered species in Armenia).
·Karmrakhayt(alabalagh) – a river trout, also produced in high-altitude artificial lakes.
·Koghak– an indigenous Lake Sevan fish of the carp family, also called Sevan khramulya.
· Basturma – a highly seasoned, air-dried raw beef, similar to pastrami.
· Yershig – a spicy beef sausage.
·Kiufta – meaning meatball comes in many types, such as Hayastan kiufta, Kharpert kiufta (Porov kiufta), Ishli kiufta, etc.
·Tahn– a sour milk drink prepared by diluting yogurt with cold water.
·Lavash – the staple bread of Armenian cuisine
·Matnakash– soft and puffy leavened bread, made of wheat flour and shaped into oval or round loaves; the characteristic golden or golden-brown crust is achieved by coating the surface of the loaves with sweetened tea essence before baking.
·Paghach – flaky layered bread.
·Choereg (or choreg) – braided bread formed into rolls or loaves, also a traditional loaf for Easter.
·Alani – pitted dried peaches stuffed with ground walnuts and sugar.
·Anoushabour – dried fruits stewed with barley, garnished with chopped almonds or walnuts (a traditional Christmas pudding).
· Armenian brandy (popular brand names Ararat, Nairi, Akhtamar).
· Oghi– an Armenian vodka, usually distilled from fruit; also called aragh. Artsakh is a well-known brand name of Armenian mulberry vodka (tuti oghi) produced in Nagorno-Karabakh from local fruit. In the Armenian Diaspora, where fruit vodka is not distilled, oghi refers to the aniseed-flavored distilled alcoholic drink called arak in the Middle East, rakiin Turkey, or ouzo in Greece.
· Pomegranate wines – sweet and semi-sweet fruit wines made from pomegranate juice.
· Areni wines are red and white wines made from the Armenian Ðreni sort of grapes (Vayots Dzor region).
· Ijevan– a dry white wine from the Tavush region (Lalvari grape). Semi-sweet red Ijevan is produced from the Kakhet grape in Tavush, while dry red Ijevan is made from Areni grapes and is properly classified as an Areni wine.