Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people, the Armenian diaspora and traditional Armenian foods and dishes. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as incorporating outside influences. The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing, frothing, and pureeing. Lamb, eggplant, mayonnaise, yoghurt, and bread (lavash) are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians use cracked wheat (burghul) in preference to the maize and rice popular among their Caucasian neighbors (Georgia and Azerbaijan).
Armenian cuisine distinguishes itself from other regional cuisines in the following ways:
- The flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on spices.
- The extensive use of fruits and nuts in dishes. Of primary use are: dried apricots, fresh quince, fresh apples, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts (the latter mostly in Cilicia).
- The use of pickles and pickled vegetables in foods.
- The use of fresh herbs either as spices or as accompaniments.
- The extensive use of stuffed items. In addition to grape leaves, Armenians also stuff cabbage leaves, Swiss chard leaves, eggplants, zucchini or squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes, various meats (particularly organ meats), whole fish, apples, quince, and even cantaloupe.
The primary sauces in Armenian cuisine are:
- Tomato sauce or paste. This was a later addition, following the introduction of tomato in the region in the early 19th Century
- Pepper sauce or paste
- Yogurt sauce
- Tahini (crushed sesame seed) sauce. This sauce is frequently substituted for yogurt sauce in Lenten dishes.
Armenian sauces are often cooked with the food, forming a consistency of stew and soup
Here are the short description of Armenian Typical Dishes
- Harisa – porridge made of wheat and sodden fibered chicken
- Basturma – dried beef in spicy covering (caraway, garlic, red pepper)
- Dolma (or tolma) – ground meet wrapped in grape leafs
- Qufta – tender meat balls made of stewed beef
- Lavash – national unleavened wheat bread
- Zhengyalov Hats – a baking stuffed with greens, typical for Republic of Nagorno Karabagh
- Lahmajo – patties with ground meat, tomato sauce and pepper
- Spas – soup made of tan (yogurt) and wheat
- Sujukh – thin dried sausage
- Ghaurma – boiled and fried meat, covered with butter
- Khash – national soup made of macerated beef shins
- Khashlama – boiled beef in broth
- Khorovats – barbeque
- Vegetable Khorovats