Armenian cuisine relies heavily on fresh, clean and organic fruits and vegetables which means that there are less spices and herbs used within their dishes overall in comparison to other national cuisines.
In terms of quality, Armenian dishes strive to provide a diverse and delicious portfolio of options. This means that both vegetarians and meat lovers will definitely find something to their liking. Keep in mind that if you are going to attempt to recreate any of the following dishes, they will be time consuming in nature.
Khorovats: Armenian Barbecue
If you have ever had a specific type of food that you are extremely fond of, like to eat all the time and love it because not only does it taste good but it is super simple to make? That is what the Khorovats are to Armenians. It is a comfort food that can be cooked on any occasion and is basically what we know as barbecue. It can be any type of meat, often either beef, chicken or mutton which is marinaded the day before, put onto a metal barbecue stick and then cooked on an open grill barbecue.
Khorovats are unique in that they have a very specific aromatic taste to them since they are cooked on grape coals (or in a wood fire). They are served at large gatherings such as weddings and birthdays but can be eaten just within the family. Check out a recipe here.
Khash: The Winter Wonder Soup
If you have ever wanted to try cow’s feet, then khash soup is your best bet! Khash is made up of fragrant spices like basil and the main ingredient is cow’s feet which take several hours of pre-soaking. It is known as the winter soup as it is used to warm up during the colder season. It is traditionally eaten in the morning but it can provide a great way to relax at night. It is extremely easy to prepare but is quite time consuming in preparation. Check out a recipe here.
Harissa is a thick porridge that is made out of either dried wheat or cracked wheat. It has a long cooking process and herbs are often used as a substitute for meat when meat is not available. Otherwise, fat-rich meat such as chicken or lamb is used in combination with the wheat. In other cases, sometimes pearl barley is used in combination with chicken. It is an extremely filling dish and can be eaten for dinner or for breakfast. Check out a recipe here.
Gata: Sweet Pastry Dessert
These are absolutely delicious and will satiate any sweet tooth. What makes these great is that they are many ways to prepare them as every region in Armenia has a different way which makes it near impossible to have the same kind. They are made out of layers of soft dough, with each layer having both melted butter and sugar baked into it. They are often decorated and are considered a “sweet bread”. Check out a recipe here.
Pilaf: A Simple Rice Side Dish
Plain rice is not all that tasty, but when you add spices and seasoning to it with the addition of meat, pilaf becomes one of the most aromatic dishes in the Armenia repertoire. What makes it great is that you can serve it in many different ways, with chicken broth, with garlic, with onion or even with parsley. Check out a recipe here.
Trakht: A Patty With a Surprise!
Traditional Armenian Trakht is known for its super easy preparation and its delicious diversity. Not only can you stuff the patties with whatever type of meat you desire, you can also insert in your own surprise. The Armenians usually insert either gold coins or carrot slices into their patties as the “treasure” portion that the name implies, but you can put in whatever you desire. Minced beef, made by hand, is the traditional choice for the stuffing. The outside of the patty itself is made out of cracked wheat. Check out a recipes here.
Spas: Delicate Soup
Spas is an extremely diverse dish as it can be served both in the summer time as well as in the winter as it does taste delicious regardless of whether it is cold or hot. It is made out of fermented matsun, often has wheat added to it and always has some form of greenery added to it like mint. The most common spa is made out of barley, mint and yogourt and will often sport either coriander or parsley on top. It is a delicate soup and is low-calorie. Check out a recipe here.
Although these are the most popular and commonly enjoyed dishes, there are plenty of others that should be tried if you come across them. For instance stuffed chicken wings Armenian style are absolutely amazing as is their nutmeg cake recipe.