For the Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of their culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values.
Out of 11 climate zones known in the world, the Azerbaijani climate has nine.This contributes to the fertility of the land, which in its turn results in the richness of the cuisine.
In the past Azerbaijani national dishes had been cooked in copper utensils. There are some rural areas where the meals are prepared in copper utensils today and they are so palatable. Therefore, the equipments of Azerbaijani national cuisine are mainly made of copper.
Our table is full of different types of greens and vegetables such as aubergine, tomato, sweet pepper, spinach, cabbage, onion, sorrel, beet, radish, cucumber, green bean. Rice and products made from flour are widely used in national cuisine. It is famous for vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, coriander, dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leek, chive, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress are very popular and often accompany main dishes. The majority of national dishes is prepared of lamb, beef and poultry meat. Dishes prepared of minced meat are more prevalent. Sea, lakes and rivers of the Republic of Azerbaijan are abundant with different fish species, particularly white sturgeon. Sturgeon fish is widely used in preparation of national dishes. The Caspian Sea is home to many edible species of fish, including the sturgeon, Caspian salmon, kutum, sardines, grey mullet, and others. Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is one of Azerbaijan’s best known delicacies well sought after in other parts of the world, including former Soviet countries.
One of the most reputed dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine is plov from saffron-covered rice, served with various herbs and greens, a combination totally distinct from those found in Uzbek plovs. Azerbaijani cuisine includes more than 40 different plov recipes. Other second courses include a wide variety of kebabs and shashlik, including lamb, beef, chicken, duck and fish (baliq) kebabs. Sturgeon, a common fish, is normally skewered and grilled as a shashlik, being served with a tart pomegranate sauce called narsharab. Dried fruits and walnuts are used in many dishes. The traditional condiments are salt, black pepper, sumac, and especially saffron, which is grown domestically on the Absheron Peninsula. The third courses include soups which the types of this dish are more than 30 in Azerbaijan national cuisine. These include kufta bozbash, piti prapered of meat and dovga, ovdux, doğramac, balva prepared of greens and yoghurt. Some soups are served in national or interesting and unusual shaped bowls.
Black tea is the national beverage, and is drunk after food is eaten. It is also offered to guests as a gesture of welcome, often accompanied by fruit preserves.