Azerbaijani Soups and Stews
There are more than thirty types of Azerbaijani soups and stews. While many of them are hearty meat stews, lighter yogurt-based dishes are also prevalent.
Kufta bozbash is a lighter variation of the meat dish kufta, a popular Azerbaijani food consisting of meatballs cooked in various fashions. In kufta bozbash, large meatballs made of rice and minced meat are formed, and occasionally a dried plum or similar fruit will be placed inside each meatball. The meatballs are then cooked with vegetables in a broth and garnished with fresh mint or cilantro. Traditionally, when dished up, each individual portion would include one meatball and some vegetables.
Piti is the most prevalent of all Azerbaijani soups and stews, a blend of tail fat and vegetables cooked in an aromatic mutton bone broth. Piti is consumed in two steps. The first one involves pouring the broth on pieces of bread to create a hearty soup. In the second step, more bread is added and mixed with the remains of piti, including the meat and vegetables. Piti is made and served in a crock called a dopu, while an additional plate is usually provided to separate the meat and vegetables from the broth. Every bite should be savored, as it takes 8-9 hours to prepare this dish.
Dovga is a delicious, rice-and-yogurt-based soup. The dish can be served either hot or cold, depending on the time of year. To make dovga, rice is preboiled and then cooked with yogurt, eggs, flour and greens. Some people cook dovga soup with small mutton meatballs, but the soup is generally an excellent vegetarian option.
Ovdukh and Dogramach are two types of soup that are yogurt-based. Ovdukh, which is served cold, is prepared by mixing yogurt with water and pouring the mixture over boiled slices of meat, hard-boiled eggs, sliced cucumber and herbs. Dogramach is basically the vegetarian version of ovdukh.
Sulu Khangal is a noodle soup featuring mutton broth in which thin, homemade noodles are cooked with chickpeas, onions, and greens. Dried mint is used as the main seasoning, and vinegar is served as an additional spice.
Umach is made of eggs blended with water, salt and flour. This thick mass is gradually added to a meat and vegetable broth, cooked and served with garnishes of saffron and dried mint.
Dushbara are tiny meat-filled dumplings cooked in a mutton bone broth. Once ready, the dumplings are garnished with coriander and fresh mint before serving. The preparation of dushbara soup is very time-consuming, for according to tradition, the dumplings must be so small that ten of them can fit onto a tablespoon.