Posted by Roth McCoy | Posted in World Recipes | Posted on 11-07-2010
Armenian picnic , barbeque and recipes
Armenia is a country with one of the oldest cultures in the Caucasus. Caucasian cuisine has something in common in all countries of the region, however national traditions add special flavor to it. Armenia is bordering with Georgia, Baku, Iran and Turkey. It is the oldest Christian country in the world. The present article is dedicated to Armenian cuisine, picnic traditions; also we will provide a relevant few picnic recipes.
Armenians enjoy spending time in family, among friends and relatives. Picnics and barbeques are an important part of Armenian life. Although in the cities there are numerous restaurants and BBQ spots a picnic in the nature is a special occasion for everybody. Armenians prepare for the picnic barbeque a couple of days in advance. Barbeque has its Armenian equivalent, namely “khorovats”, thus the verb “horovel” would mean “to roast or broil” on natural fire not in the oven or grill. Horovats is prepared on skewers (i.e. stainless metal or wood sticks). There is food that Armenians would surely have at the picnic. The most necessary are: basturma, lavash, vegetables, tan and other. We will explain in detail what does each mean and will give recipes of each of these key meals or products.
As Armenians are gourmand they enjoy preparing food, and make it delicious. A day before leaving for a picnic it is a must that the meat intended for horovats (either pork or beef) will be specially prepared. To make barbeque soft, juicy and very tasty Armenians put the meat in special dressing (or marinade) which Armenians call “basturma” for a day (in case you are short of time a couple of hours will also do). Basturma is prepared the following way: 1 kilogram of meat should be washed, cut in pieces of 30 – 40 g (the size best fit for skewers) and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Add 150 – 200 g of sliced onions and poor 150 – 200 g of vinegar. Keep in fringe ideally for 5 – 10 hours.
Along with meat barbeque Armenians usually roast (or grill) vegetables, namely: eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Skewer the vegetables and keep them above the coals till rinds on the vegetables become blackish and partially peeling off. Take the vegetables of the skewers and peel them off, cut in small pieces, add salt, pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil and greens: basil, parsley, coriander, and dill.
Armenian traditional bread
is a must during the picnics. It is called lavash and can also be spelled as “lahvash”. Lavash is a thin flatbread and although it is a part of cuisine in different countries it originated in Armenia and only here it is thin as a paper. The flat rolled-out dough is prepared of wheat flour and then slapped to an inward side of the tonir (a wood or clay oven). When lavash is fresh it is soft, when dried it resembles crackers or chips.
The traditional cold non-alcoholic Armenian drink is tan. Besides being healthy it is very refreshing in hot summers. Tan is prepared from a sour milk product much resembling a yogurt. Mix same proportions of sour yogurt and water, add salt. Shake well, drink cold.
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