10 Traditional Recipes That Celebrate the Cooking of the Caucasus

These top-rated recipes celebrate Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijanian, and southern Russian cuisines from the region known as the Caucasus. This mountainous region between the the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea has a long, rich culinary history. It's also the likely birthplace of wine, with a history dating back some 8,000 years, as well as the earliest wine trade — they built makeshift boats from the area's abundant trees, loaded them up with jars of wine, and floated the wine down river into Mesopotamia. Look for Georgian wines in specialty wine stores; they're worth seeking out and will make great pairing partners for these authentic recipes from the Caucasus.

01 of 11

Chanakhi (Georgian Lamb Stew)

Chanakhi (Georgian Lamb Stew)
Allrecipes

In this traditional Georgian stew, lamb and eggplant bake with garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs in a heavy casserole dish. "We loved it!" says Emilka Clark. "It seems like the ingredients are very simple and there aren't many spices on the list, but it turned out so flavorful!"

02 of 11

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves
Chef John

Known as tolma in Armenian cuisine, these popular baked grape leaves are stuffed with ground lamb, vegetables, and rice. Chef John also adds fresh mint, currants, and pine nuts. "They take some time and effort to put together," says Chef John, "so maybe make a double batch."

03 of 11

Traditional Armenian Gomgush

Traditional Armenian Gomgush
Tigran

Here's a simple Armenian stew that features lamb, tomatoes, eggplants, and herbs. It's traditionally baked in a clay oven called a tonir until the lamb is fall-apart tender.

04 of 11

Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)

Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)
Photo by Chef John.

This boat-shaped Georgian bread boasts a cheese-stuffed crust and an egg baked right into its center. "They take a little finesse but the payoff is well worth it," says Chef John. "After all, what more could you want other than cheesy, soft-while-chewy bread dipped in its own bed of runny egg yolk and molten cheese?"

05 of 11

Azeri Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs

Azeri Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs
Soup Loving Nicole

"Tender chicken thighs marinated in rich and creamy yogurt mixed with spices is a popular dish in Azerbaijan," says NutmegBunny, the recipe submitter.

06 of 11

Armenian Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)

Armenian Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi) in a glass dish
Chef Joanna

"I hope you enjoy this taste of Armenia from my family to yours!" says Chef Joanna, who submitted this recipe for eggplants stuffed with sautéed bell peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce. "Serve with sides of tabbouleh salad, hummus, and a whole wheat pita."

07 of 11

Hychin

Hychin
Allrecipes

These Georgian flatbreads are filled with potatoes and shredded mozzarella cheese and then fried in a cast-iron skillet until golden-brown. Enjoy them with yogurt, garlic, and dill sauce on the side. Experiment with fresh halloumi or cotija cheeses instead of mozzarella if you like.

08 of 11

Armenian Rice Pilaf

Armenian Rice Pilaf

So easy! This simple Armenian pilaf features egg noodles and rice simmered in chicken broth until the rice fluffs up and all the liquid is gone. "This is a staple of Armenian homes and is always a favorite with everyone," says 5lilblessings, the recipe submitter. "Very easy to prepare and delicious with any meal, especially poultry."

09 of 11

Homemade Manti

Homemade Manti (Traditional Turkish Dumplings)
Homemade Manti (Traditional Turkish Dumplings).

The jury is in: everyonr loves dumplings! Variations on these dumplings are known by various names and are popular in Turkey, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and throughout the southern Caucasus. This particular manti recipe is billed as Turkish, which is fitting, since the Turks are credited with first introducing them to the Caucasus.

10 of 11

Armenian Shish Kabob

Armenian Shish Kabob
markmathosian

Like dumplings, kabobs are a near universal delight. These Armenian kabobs feature lamb marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, garlic. You'll grill the skewered lamb twice, first by itself, then once again, alternating the re-skewered lamb with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Enjoy with rice pilaf and flatbread.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love