AZERBAIJAN

xoş gəldin

Welcome from the Azerbaijani Community

Azerbaijan, Land of Fire, crossroads between East and West will stun you with its utmost beauty and breathtaking natural landscapes, ancient historical sites, mouth-watering cuisine and rich hospitality. Once situated along the Silk Road with ancient cities such as Baku, Tabriz, Shaki, Azerbaijan offered a welcoming environment for all and became a hub for multiculturalism, tolerance and hospitality. Azerbaijan offers a
unique and captivating fusion of old and modern with one of the first democracies, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, in the world to embrace democratic values such as equal voting rights to all citizens regardless of their race, culture, religion, one of the first nations in the world granting women equal voting rights and participation. Around 50 million Azerbaijanis live around the world, mainly in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan and speak Azerbaijani, a Turkic language, as a mother tongue. Each year Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Edmonton proudly shares and showcases Azerbaijani culture and heritage with amazing people from all around the world at the Heritage Festival, one of the best festivals in the world, and look forward to welcoming the festival goers to our pavilion in the near future!

Cultural Table with Pomegrantes and Musi

M u s i c

Azerbaijan Folk Music...

is rich with distinct characteristics and features. One of the most unique, rich, complex, and popular forms of folk music is Azerbaijani Mugham. Among the traditional Azerbaijani musical instruments are tar, kamancha, saz, balaban, nagara, ghaval, zurna, some of them listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage website.

CLICK FOR MORE MUSICAL PERFORMANCES...

Lets Dance.jpg

D a n c e

Azerbaijan Traditional Dance...

Dances are an integral part of Azerbaijani culture and pride and there is no important occasion where Azerbaijani national dances are not performed. Suleymani, traditional, cheerful, and energetic Azerbaijani couples folk dance performance is widely performed at Azerbaijani weddings and festivals.

Beautiful%20Dancers%20with%20Azerbaijani

C o s t u m e

Azerbaijani Traditional Clothing...

Azerbaijani cultural outfits represent historical, ethnographic, artistic characteristics of different regions of Azerbaijan also showcase the age, marital and social status of an individual. While traditional clothing design acquired local features and closely connected to local history and traditions, it also showcased the taste and worldview of Azerbaijani people, its ancient history and culture. The traditional clothing is preserved within Azerbaijani national dances.

 

Female dresses are graceful and consist of under and outer garments, headdresses, footwear and complemented with jewellery and accessories such as tiaras, belts etc. One of the main features of Azerbaijani national costumes is head pieces. Tiaras and long braids are integral pieces to Azerbaijani female dances. Jewelry and decorative elements played a special role in the preparation of the national costumes and made it look more attractive and beautiful. Precious stones such as gold, silver were used to make jewellery. 

 

Silk and velvet were among the most widely used fabrics for national clothing. Azerbaijani wedding and holiday clothing were generally made of expensive, elegant fabric and adorned with gold and silver embellishments unlike daily outfits. In addition, clothes reflected marital status and the age of its owner. Young girls and newlywed women would wear brighter coloured outfits embellished with ornaments, while darker and black coloured outfits preferred by elderly women.

 

Use of dark olive, red, green and yellow colours in Azerbaijani female outfits were widely popular, however the most loved colour was bright red and its tones. Red had a great significance and often associated with happiness and joy, thus widely used in brides and grooms clothing. Daily expressions were also reflected on colour the choice of outfit making, such as “loud red” (alishdim-yandim), “scarlet and green are on friendly terms” (al ile yashil khosh yarashir), “red and yellow, on the lookout” (girmizi-sari, chigirma bari). 

Colour harmony was an essential part of Azerbaijanii fashion. The colour choice in Azerbaijani traditional clothing also reflected harmony with nature and people's preference for natural colours, such as white of the sky, blue of the sea, green of the forests, yellow of the sand, gold of the sun. 

Traditional Dishes

Yarpaq (Tenek) Dolmasi Recipe

Azerbaijani-Style Stuffed Grape Leaves, Dolma Recipe

 

Type : Main Dishes  

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 4-5

 

Azerbaijani Stuffed Grape Leaves - Dolma (Yarpag Dolmasi) - are small in size, round in shape, and absolutely delicious with the filling that includes copious amounts of fresh herbs along with other delicious ingredients. Watch this video and get your step by step tutorial with added bonus - cook's tips! Let's roll those leaves and make this super delicious dish!

Author: Feride Buyuran

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef (or a combination)

  • 1 medium onion, passed through a meat grinder or grated

  • ½ cup medium-grain white rice, thoroughly rinsed (do not use long grain rice, such as Basmati!)

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill

  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  •  ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • About 100 small-size or 50 medium-size fresh grape leaves (or frozen grape leaves, or canned leaves (about ¾ of a 16-ounce can)

  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) or unsalted butter (add more if meat is lean), or olive oil

  • Plain Yogurt or Garlicky yogurt sauce, to serve (recipe follows)

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the stuffing. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the stuffing (add less salt if using briny canned leaves). Mix with your hand until well combined.

  2. If using fresh grape leaves, boil slightly salted water in a medium saucepan and blanch the leaves in small batches (about 10 at a time) in the boiling water for about a minute (less if the leaves are very tender). This will soften the leaves and make them easier to roll and faster to cook. Remove the leaves from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Cut off the stems.

  3. If using canned leaves, put batches of them in a colander, rinse well under cold water to remove the salt, and drain. If the canned leaves feel too thick, blanch them in boiling water for about a minute, then drain. Otherwise, do not blanch. Cut off the stems.

  4. Have a medium saucepan ready. If using medium-size mature leaves, cut them in half. Small, young leaves can remain whole.

  5. If there are any torn or damaged leaves, do not discard—use them to patch holes in other leaves as needed. Also, arrange some of the damaged leaves flat on the bottom of the saucepan. If you don’t have damaged leaves, line the bottom of the saucepan with unused whole leaves to cover.

  6. Now stuff the grape leaves. Hold a leaf (or half, if cut) shiny side down on the palm of your hand. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling at the stem end of the leaf. Fold the top down, then the sides over the filling and roll up tightly to shape it into a 1-inch round bundle. Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, on the bottom of the pan. Continue until all the leaves and filling are used, arranging the stuffed bundles snugly together in the pan, making several layers.

  7. Dot the top with butter and pour in water to cover the dolma halfway. Place a small lid or a small ovenproof plate on top of the stuffed leaves to keep them tight and to prevent them from opening. Cover and bring to a boil.

  8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the leaves are tender, the filling is cooked, and there is little liquid left (if the liquid is completely absorbed at some point during cooking, add more water and continue to simmer).

  9. Serve immediately with bread and plain yogurt or garlicky yogurt sauce to spoon onto the dolma to taste.

  10. Garlicky Yogurt Sauce: To make garlicky yogurt sauce, in a bowl, combine 1 cup or more plain yogurt with 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press.

Baklava

Azerbaijani-Style Baklava (Pakhlava) Recipe

 

Type : Dessert

 

Pakhlava (Pahlava) is a delicious sweet pastry of Middle Eastern origins. There are several varieties of Pakhlava in Azerbaijan, the most popular of which is the multilayered Azerbaijani-style pakhlava. Traditionally it is eaten during Novruz, an Azerbaijani holiday celebrating the new year and the coming of spring, together with Shekerbura and Shor-Gogal, but is often enjoyed all throughout the year.

Ingredients

Yeast Mixture:

  • 1 tsp dry yeast

  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar

  • 1 tbsp flour

  • 1/3 cup warm water (or milk)

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 large egg (room temperature)

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 tbsp sour cream (room temperature)

  • 1 cup (1/2 lb) warm melted unsalted butter

  • 1 cup warm milk

  • 6 cups all purpose flour

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 cups crushed nuts (walnuts, peeled almonds, or peeled hazelnuts)

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar

Ingredients for layering:

  • 1 cup clarified warmed and melted butter

Ingredients for coating and decorations:

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1 tsp saffron infusion

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • nuts

  • 1/2 cup hot melted clarified butter

Ingredients for syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare the yeast mixture.

  1. In a large cup, mix the dry ingredients together (yeast, flour, and sugar).

  2. Add 1/3 cup of warm milk or milk. Mix into smooth mass and leave it in a warm place to rise. 

  3. While it's rising, melt the butter over low heat, and lightly warm the milk.

Preparing the dough:

  1. Mix the egg, salt, sour cream, yeast mixture, warm milk and melted butter in a large bowl.

  2. Begin kneading the dough while slowly adding flour. (The quality of flour can vary, so keep in mind that you may have to add more or less than the amount listed in the ingredients.) Remember to save some flour for dusting the layers. Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth, soft, and does not stick to your hands.

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 2 hours in a warm place. To make the dough rise more quickly, turn on the oven to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit and place the bowl on top of the stove.

Preparing the filling and syrup:

  1. Blend the nuts (not too finely) using a blender or food processor. Remove the nuts from the blender and mix them with the sugar, ground cardamom, ground coriander, and vanilla sugar.

  2. For syrup, mix together sugar and water in a small pot or saucepan, and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, don't let it boil. Then add the honey in a pan and lemon juice, mix well, and cook over very low heat for about 10-15 more minutes. Do not let it boil! You will get approximately 1 cup of syrup.

Assembling and baking Pakhlava:

  1. Risen puffy dough divide into 12 balls, one for each layer of pakhlava. 10 of them have to be the same size, and 2 of them are larger (For bottom and top layers). Cover them to prevent from drying.

  2. Brush a 12"x18" baking pan with melted butter.

  3. Roll out the first large ball of dough, place it into your baking pan, making sure the dough completely covers the bottom, and gently brush the layer with warm, melted, clarified butter.

  4. Then add 4+ tablespoons of filling and spread it evenly.

  5. Roll out the second ball into a very thin layer until it's see-through.

  6. Place it on top of the first layer, brush with butter, and spread the filling on it.

  7. Repeat until all the layers are used, but do not butter and do not spread the filling on the uppermost layer. Last layer must be thicker, than layers in the middle of pakhlava. Slightly compress every other layer so that your pakhlava will be nicely formed.

  8. Cut the pakhlava into diamonds and coat it with a mixture of egg yolks, saffron infusion and olive oil.

  9. Press a nut into the center of each diamond-shaped slice.

  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and let bake for 20 minutes.

  11. Then remove it from the oven, cut very gently all diamonds to the bottom of the pan and slowly pour a 1/2 cup of melted clarified butter on top. 

  12. Place it back into the oven to bake for another 15 minutes.

  13. Remove pakhlava from the oven and cut again all diamonds to the bottom of the pan then slowly pour over the honey syrup, making sure that it gets in between each slice. Place pakhlava back into the oven for another 10 minutes. After it's done baking, remove from the oven and let it cool down.

  14. While it's still warm, carefully remove each slice one-by-one from the baking pan, and place it onto a plate to be served.

  15. Enjoy with a cup of tea!

Recipe Videos

Layered Rice Pilaff With Dried Fruit and Chestnuts Recipe

Stuffed Eggplants, Peppers and Tomatoes

Shekerbura - Azerbaijani Traditional Dessert Recipe

Yogurt Soup with Fresh Herbs and Chickpeas (Dovgha)

Tea Culture

Tea is the most popular drink for Azerbaijanis and a staple of Azerbaijani hospitality, reflects
ancient traditions and a lifestyle.  No guest leaves Azerbaijani household without a cup of freshly brewed tea served with a tray of sweets, desserts, dried fruits, jams and much
more.

Behind the Scenes

Setting up the festival

Painting
Prep2
prep3
prep4
prep5
testing
prep6
stage

Food preparation