|Meat so tender
it falls off the bone. A melding of flavors (lamb, onion, potato
and chickpea) that only comes after hours and hours of simmering.
Add some lavash on the side, and you have piti, an Azerbaijani
stew worth traveling all the way to the Caucasus for. It's a
favorite among Azerbaijanis in both the Republic and in Iran,
where it is popular in teahouses.
The unique thing about piti is that the meat and vegetables are
traditionally prepared in individual clay pots and cooked over
a charcoal hearth.
Pieces of dried lavash or sangak (bread) are put into the delicious
piti broth, which is traditionally eaten separately from the
meat and vegetables. Later the stewed meat and vegetables may
be mashed together and eaten. Raw onion on the side gives the
dish a special "bite".
You can still find cafes in Azerbaijan called "pitikhana"
(piti houses), where piti is served in the traditional clay jars.
Alternatively you can visit Shaki, a town northwest of Baku in
the foothills of the Caucasus that is renowned for its piti.
Or you might even want to try it in a teahouse in Tabriz.
From Azerbaijan International (8.3) Autumn 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.
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AI 8.3 (Autumn 2000)