Adventures in Armenian Cooking - Appetizers

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<- Adventures in Armenian Cooking


SALADS: Fassoulia Plaki, Fassoulia Piaz, Tabouleh Salata, Fassoulia Salata

MEATS: Kharpet Porov Kufta, Lahmajoon, Kherna, Patlijan Kufta, Meat Boerag

VEGETABLES: IMAM Bayeldi, Hamov Patlijan, GANGAR ( Enginar in Turkish), Dapkadz Karnabede( turkish ) Armenian is tdzaggagagamp


BREADS - In the Armenian tradition, the many varieties of breads are used with cheeses, olives, appetizers. The following three recipes are for breads with cheese filling: Tapsi Banir Boerag, Banir Boerag, Peynirlee

Convert US weights to metric

Stuffed grape leaves (YALANCHY SARMA / Patat)

by Gadar Tanelian

Prepare all ingredients beforehand and allow at least 2½ hours.

Rice Filling
1 cup rice, extra long grain
½ cup pure olive oil
¼ cup veg. oil
2½ lbs. onions (chopped - equiv. to 5 heaping cups)
1 tbsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper
1½ cups water
½ cup fresh lemon juice squeezed and strained
1 tbsp. pignoli nuts ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. dried dill or (2 tbsp. fresh chopped)

Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan (stainless steel). When piece of onion sizzles then add pignoli nuts and all of onion. Mix well, then stir in salt, black and red pepper.

Cook over medium heat stirring all the time. Do not brown onion. Cook until soft or until color changes from pure white to off-white. Now add washed and drained rice. Mix well. Add chopped parsley and dill mixing well with ingredients in pan. Add 1½ cups water and cook approximately 15 minutes, stirring often so bottom and sides won't stick to pan or burn. Now add lemon juice. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Empty ingredients into open pan. Line bottom of another 4-quart stainless steel pan with grape leaves. (This helps prevent burning.)

Wrapping leaves: (1 cup rice uses up a 9 ounce grape eaves). Cut stems off leaves and unfold. Fill grape leaves with rice mixture using tablespoon. Mix rice occasionally so oil will be evenly distributed. Hold leaf on left palm with stem side away from you and vein side up. Place tablespoon of rice on top end near stem. Now fold top down and the two sides over, then roll toward the inside of your palm covering all the rice. Make a firm roll in shape of cigar. Lay wrapped grape leaves end to end in circle in bottom of pan, covering first the bottom, then start 2nd row continuing in circle pattern. when all wrapped leaves are arranged in pan, add 2 cups of water and cover pan with inverted 10" plate over sarmas and cook until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat and cook ½ hour. Turn off heat and let set for approximately 15 minutes. Remove plate. Let cool.

Using same system of arranging in cooking pan, empty rolled leaves carefully and place on shallow serving dish or pyrex bowl.* Cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate. Serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon wedges or parsley sprigs.

Makes approximately 60 sarmas, using small leaves

NOTE: or use following method:

Place shallow pan over top of pan. Hold firmly by both handles and quickly invert away from you with a good firm twist of your wrists, without disturbing the rows of sarmas.

Mixed pickles (TOURSHI)

Armenian pickles / Turshi
by St. Gregory's Women's Aux.

3-4 cauliflowers, broken into small flowerets
2 bunches celery, cut in desired lengths
3 lbs. carrots, cut in desired lengths
3 lbs. green pepper, cut in desired lengths
small white onions (opt.)
green tomatoes (opt.)
green or wax beans (opt.)
4-5 hot peppers
brown sugar
celery tops

Into each quart bottle place 1½" piece of hot pepper and clove of garlic cut in half. Fill bottles with assorted, washed, cut-up vegetables. Pour brine to about 1½' from top and tightly pack additional vegetables in jars as they begin to settle.

Use celery tops to keep vegetables under liquid. Then complete filling of brine. Place a teaspoon of brown sugar on top of each jar and seal tightly. Set bottles in cool place. Tourshi will be ready in two weeks.

½ gal. cider vinegar
½ pt. water, strained from ½ box cooked pickling spices
(pickling spice mix should have Allspice, Mustard, Clove, Ginger, Cinnamon, Coriander seeds, Black pepper, Dill seeds, Bay Leaves, Cardamom).
1 gal. water
1½ cups cooking salt (non-iodized)

Makes approximately 12 quarts

Pickled Swiss chard (PANDJAR TOURSHI)

by Gadar Tanelian

1 bushel swiss chard (strip - saving stalks. Wash well.)

Boil water in 4-gallon pot. Add Swiss chard. Mix well and boil approximately 15-20 minutes. Test stalk for tenderness. Do not overcook. Remove from heat. Strain and lower stalks into cold water to cover.

Pour 4 quarts of water in a large pot, add 1 teaspoon dried yeast, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper, 1 tablespoon crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons salt. Mix well (taste for salt content).

Remove swiss chard from cold water and mix into yeast mixture. Cover with large white dish cloth and cover with pan cover. Let set 1 day. Mix well before pouring. into one or two quart jars.

Fill to top with the seasoned water. Cover tightly and store up side-down for a few days. Then turn upright and store in cool place. The longer it sets, the better it tastes.

Makes approximately 2 gallons

Pickled green peppers stuffed with chopped vegetables (SALAMORAH TOURSHI)

by Akaby Yaylaian

1 bunch celery, finely chopped
3 green peppers, finely chopped
10 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Mix salt, vinegar, brown sugar and add to other ingredients. Mix well. Cover and set aside.

Clean pulp from 12 large thick green peppers. Save tops. Sprinkle inside lightly with salt Fill with chopped vegetable mixture. Replace pepper tops. Tie crosswise and lengthwise with string. Pack in one gallon wide-mouthed jars.

1½ gallons water
½ gallon vinegar
1½ tbsp. brown sugar
1½ cups salt

Boil half package pickling spices with one cup water for ten minutes. Strain. Add liquid to brine. Stir thoroughly. Pack peppers tightly in jars. Pour brine to very top. Place one wide slice green pepper on top and seal tightly.

Keep in dark place. Ready to eat in about 10 days. To serve: cut pepper in half length-wise.

Makes 2 gallons

NOTE: Finely chopped cauliflower or cabbage may be substituted for some of the vegetables.

Cured spiced meat (BASTERMA)

by Mary Garibian

1 slice of beef (about 2 lbs.)
¼ cup bagged granulated salt

Select very tender cut of beef from rib part, about one and a half inch thick, any length you desire (approx. 8"). Insert heavy string through one end and make a loop. Rub meat with salt and let stand in refrigerator for 3 days placing a heavy item on top and turn once a day.

Wash meat well with cold water and leave in clear water for one hour. Then drain and press between towels to remove moisture. Continue until meat is quite dry. Hang in cool airy place to dry about two weeks.

Chairnen mixture:
3 tbsp. chaimen
2 tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. red pepper (opt.)
½ tsp. salt
½ tbsp. blk. pepper
½ tbsp. kimion (cumin)
½ tsp. allspice
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup water

Combine all above ingredients, adding water a little at a time to make thick paste. Soak meat in it for 2 weeks. Hang in airy place for 2 more weeks.

May be used immediately, refrigerated, or frozen.

NOTE: A cheese cloth casing may be used to slip meat into before hanging.

Armenian spiced dried sausagess (SOUJOOKH)

by Olivia Hagopian

10 lbs lean ground chuck or undercut
1/3 cup salt
1 can curry powder (1½ oz)
1 can cloves (1½ oz)
1 can kimion (1½ oz)
1/3 cup blk. pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup allspice
¼ can paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all spices and sprinkle over meat. Knead until well blended. Refrigerate overnight. Mix again and add more spices according to taste. Again refrigerate overnight. Prepare two cloth bags 10x14 inches.

Divide meat in half and fill bags. Take two sticks (about 12" long), one for each bag, and place at open end of bag. Wrap cloth around stick firmly and sew in place, leaving ends exposed. with a rolling pin spread the meat inside bag to all corners to fill air space lake some string loops on extended ends of stick and hang out to dry in cold, dry sunny weather. Bring bags in at sundown and refrigerate overnight. Repeat this process for 2 weeks, then cut bags away from meat and then cut up partially dried meat into quarters. Thread a string through each piece and hang out to dry uncovered for one more week, refrigerating at night. when done, wrap each in aluminum foil and refrigerate or freeze. Use as needed.

NOTE: Casings may be used instead of cloth bags.

Makes 8 5x6 pieces

Armenian Cheese (HAIGACAN BANIR)

by Takouhi Shemligian

5 qts. raw milk (unpasteurized)
¼ Rennet tablet

Heat milk to 860 (little better than lukewarm) Remove from heat. Add dissolved tablet, stir (dissolve tablet by stirring in tablespoon of warm water), cover and set for 45 minutes. Cut down and across with spoon, set again for 10 minutes. Remove excess water. Wet cheese cloth bag. Set in sink and pour cheese in bag. Twist opening, place heavy object on top. After ½ hour, shake bag down. Set two hours or until cheese is firm. Remove from bag, cut in pieces, place in bowl and refrigerate.

After third day, dip each piece in salt and refrigerate.

NOTE: This cheese may be made with 1 gallon whole milk and 1 Rennet tablet

Rennet tablets may be ordered from:
Chr. Hansents Laboratory, Inc.
9015 W. Maple Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53314

Vials of 12 tablets - $2.25
Vials of 25 tablets - $3.05

(RAFFI'S NOTE: These are 1973 Prices, and a 1973 address, good luck!)

Makes about two lbs.

Mussels with rice mixture (MIDIA PILAF)

by Elmas Merigian

10 lge. onions
1½ cup olive oil (or mix ½ olive oil and ½ vegetable oil)
1 can mussels in shell
1 can mussels (meat only)
2 cups rice
4 cups liquid combining water and broth
5 tbsp. lemon juice or to taste
1 cup chopped parsley

Heat oil and saute onions until soft. Add remainder of ingredients, mix well, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until fluffy, approximately 25 minutes.

To serve, arrange shells around mound of filling.

Makes 14 to 16 servings.


by Yeretzgin Salpie Artinian

4 med. eggplants
4 cloves garlic
chopped nuts or chopped parsley (opt.)
2 8-oz. cartons plain yogurt
salt to taste

Broil eggplant until softened. Cool, peel and mash. Blender may be used. Crush garlic, eggplant, salt and 1½ carton of yogurt thoroughly. Place into serving bowl. Spread remaining yogurt over top and garnish with chopped nuts or chopped parsley.

Serves 12-14

Mussels with rice (MIDIA PILAF)

by Nevart Kojian

10 med. onions, chopped fine
2 cups rice
2 cups olive oil
1 cup currants (opt.)
3/4 cup pignoli nuts (pine) (opt.)
4 cups canned mussels (reserve broth)
salt, pepper
dill, cinnamon to taste

Add water to broth to make 4 cups liquid.

Saute onions in olive oil, add rice and stir. Add mussels, liquid and seasonings. Squeeze ½ lemon over all and cook.

Brown pine nuts in a little butter until slightly softened. when rice is cooked, add pine nuts and currants and cook 5 minutes more.

Serves 10-12

NOTE: 1 can of mussels with shells may be substituted for 1 cup of canned mussels. These shells should be cooked by placing on top of the filling. After cooking, they may be inserted into the filling or filled individually and arranged around mound of filling which will be leftover.

Fried cheese turnover (DABGADZ BANIR BOERAG)

by Yeretzgin Saiple Artinian

3 cups flour
1 egg
1 cup water
½ cup veg. oil
½ tsp. salt

1 lb. Muenster cheese, cut in small pieces (2 varieties of cheese may be mixed and substituted)
¼ cup minced parsley
salt, pepper to taste (mix filling together thoroughly)

Mix all dough ingredients together and knead. Divide into two balls, cover, and set aside ½ hour Roll out each ball into circles 1/8" thick Using plastic bowl of 4" to 5" diameter, cut out rounds of dough from larger circles.

Place 1 tablespoon filling on center of each round. Bring edges together to form turnover and press edges with fingers to seal. in deep hot fat until golden brown, turning over to brown both sides.

Serves 25 to 30

NOTE: Occasionally some dough may be left over. These pieces may be fried plain and served with sugar or syrup.

VARIATION: 1 small onion minced or 2 or 3 stalks of scallions minced may be added with ¼ teaspoon red pepper to filling.


by Angel Aykanian

2 Sm. eggplants
4 lge. onions, sliced
2 carrots, grated
5-6 tbsps. olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 tsp. fresh or dried dill

Bake eggplant in oven or cook on fire. Peel and mash well. Brown onions in oil in skillet and add all ingredients. Cook one hour over low heat until smooth, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Use Armenian or Syrian bread to dip into eggplant dip. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 3 cups.


by Mary Garibian

2 eggplants
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup taheen
2 tbsp. fresh or dry parsley, minced for garnish
2 tbsp. olive oil

Prick holes in eggplant and bake whole eggplants in 400 preheated oven for about 1 hour until soft. Peel and mash well. Add the rest of the ingredients except parsley and olive oil. Blend mixture very well.

If you prefer, use blender. Add more lemon or taheen and salt if you wish. Garnish with minced parsley and sprinkle with olive oil. Chill and serve as dip or on rounds of crackers and rye.

Makes 2 cups dip

Crushed chick peas and crushed sesame seed dip (SISERR AND TAHEEN DIP)

by Shirley Setian

1 14-oz. container hommous dip
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, sliced
1½ tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil

Mix all ingredients. thoroughly. Garnish with lemon wedges and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with Syrian bread cut in small pieces, crackers, Armenian patz hatz (thin cracker bread) or cut up vegetables.

Salted & toasted pumpkin or squash seeds (TUTUMI GOOD)

by Shirley Setian

1 lb squash or pumpkin seeds
1 qt water
½ cup salt

Bring squash seeds to a boil in salted water. Simmer 30 minutes. Drain. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet and place in 300 preheated oven, stirring occasionally about an hour, until seeds are dry and lightly toasted.

Store in airtight container

Layered garbanzo bean pâté (TOPIK)

2/3 cups dried Zante currants
1/4 cup mild olive oil
4 cups chopped white onions (medium dice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling the pâté
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 cups canned garbanzo beans, well drained, liquid reserved
3 tablespoons tahini paste, room temperature, well stirred
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium-sized yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and boiled

1. Place the currants in a medium bowl, add boiling water to a level one-half inch above the currants and let them stand for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and very lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the currant soaking liquid when onions begin to look dry.

3. Add the currants and another 2 to 3 tablespoons of their soaking liquid and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Stir in the pine nuts.

4. In a food processor, purée the garbanzo beans in 2 batches with the tahini, lemon juice and 4 to 5 tablespoons of the bean liquid until very smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.

5. Mash the potatoes until smooth with a potato masher or pass through a ricer. Stir the mashed potatoes into the puréed mixture and mix thoroughly. Season with salt.

6. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving 4 to 5 inches of overhang on all sides. Wet your hands with cold water and use them to spread half of the garbanzo mixture evenly on the bottom. Spread the onion mixture evenly on top; it will be a rather thick layer. With wet hands, spread the other half of the garbanzo mixture on top of that. Fold in the overhang to enclose the pâté. Weight the pâté with a small cast-iron skillet, a plate topped with two 16-ounce cans or something of similar weight, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

7. To serve, bring the pâté to room temperature, invert it onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the top lightly with cinnamon (you can do this decoratively through a doily). Cut into squares.

Total time: 1.5 hours, plus chilling time

Servings: Makes 9 squares

Each serving: 306 calories; 9 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 246 mg. sodium.