The NATIONAL CUISINE OF AZERBAIJAN is a whole culture with a variety of dishes and the rules of their use. And it’s not for nothing that the most favorite folk way of spending free time is a feast. Breakfast, smoothly turning into lunch, then into dinner and finally… breakfast the next day is one of the most common activities on weekends and holidays. We love to eat, are able and competently appreciate the taste qualities of both the first and second courses.
Each city in Azerbaijan is famous for a certain dish. Sheki city is famous for its PITI. Piti is not the first, not the second, but a full meal in the aggregate.
Rich thick lamb soup is a complex tradition of both cooking and eating. Piti has been preparing for twelve hours. Chickpeas are soaked for several hours, after which they are cooked until half cooked. In parallel, chestnuts are boiled until half-cooked. Then, in clay portioned clay pots, medium-cut pieces of boneless lamb are laid out, poured with water, and put the pots on the fire, where they are brought to a boil. The foam is removed twice, after which chickpeas, chestnuts and a small onion are added to the pots. Then the portions are placed in the oven, where the piti is cooked over low heat.
After one hour, an onion is removed from the portion, which has already released all its flavor, a couple of sour cherry plum berries and several sprigs of saffron are added to give the dish a special flavor. Tightly close the neck of the pot with a leaf of “Quyruq” – lamb fat, after which it is put back into the oven for another forty minutes. And piti is served to the table.
Piti is eat step by step. First, the broth from the pot is carefully poured into the “kyasa” – a deep bowl for the first courses. Broth with a thin sweet taste from onions and chestnuts, salted and peppered to taste, or even used without these seasonings. But it is customary to add “sumax” to it – grated dried barberry, which will enhance the sourness of cherry plum. Then a thin lavash or “tandir” bread is crumbled into the broth, after which it is immediately eaten.
Next, stewed meat, guyrug, chestnuts and chickpeas are dumped out of the pot into the empty kyasa. They are crumpled with a spoon, brought to an almost homogeneous puree, and are consumed with appetite as a second course.
Piti is served with appetizers of pickles and raw onions. After the meal, to enhance digestion, it is recommended to eat a piece of white sheep cheese and after ten minutes wash down the food with a glass of hot tea.
TOURS of Azerbaijan Travel International cover many regions of our country. One of them is a tour to Sheki. And here, during lunch, guests of Azerbaijan will have chance to taste our beloved Piti.