Adventures in Armenian Cooking - Vegetarian

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Wheat Ball (BAKI KUFTA)

by Naomi Johnson

1 can chick peas
½ cup Cream of Wheat or farina
2 cups fine bulghour
[cracked wheat 1 cup water
salt, pepper to taste

6 med. onions
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp. crushed basil
1 lb. peanut butter
½ can taheen

Kufta shell:
Blend chick peas in blender or put through the fine blade of a meat grinder.

Put chick peas, Cream of Wheat or farina and bulghour, salt and pepper into a bowl, add the water and set aside for 30 minutes.

Chop onions. Put in a two quart saucepan, add 1/3 water and cook on a medium flame until onions are limp but not browned. Strain onions and set aside to cool. Reserve water for the kufta mixture.

Add parsley, basil, peanut butter and taheen to cooled onions. Mix and fill kufta shells as follows:

Knead the kufta mixture. Wet your hands from time to time as you knead the mixture. As you knead you will see the mixture will hold together and feel firm. Continue kneading for 12 to 15 minutes.

With a bit of the mixture (about the size of a golf ball) form into a ball shape. Press your index finger into the base of the ball and press it all around the inside wall to make an opening without breaking through. The wall should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Place a spoonful of the filling into the opening and seal it gently by pushing the opening together until it is closed. Be sure the filling does not ooze out. Smooth the surface of the kufta and gently roll into a hall. Continue making kuftas until both shell and filling mixtures are used up.

Boil together 1½ quarts water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Gently drop 6 to 8 kuftas into the boiling water, bring the water to a boil again and simmer the kuftas for 10 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Remove kuftas carefully and continue cooking the balance. Chill and serve. Lenten dish.

Makes 27 kuftas

Bulghur with eggs and tomatoes (HAVGITOV KUFTA)

by Der Hayr Guiragossian

3 cups tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 cup fine bulghour
1 med. onion, chopped fine
4 eggs
6 tbsp. butter or margarine
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt, pepper to taste

Cook tomatoes and add bulghour. Remove from heat. Let stand 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile scramble eggs in butter in frying pan. Cool slightly and stir into tomato mixture. Add onion, salt and pepper. sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm or cold.

Serves 6

NOTE: If fresh tomatoes are used, peel; cut up and cook until saucelike.

Cheese Stuffed eggplant (PATLIJAN BANIR DOLMA /Sempoog Banir Letsvadz)

by Esther Muradian

3 eggplants
1 tbsp. parsley, finely minced
½ lb. cottage cheese
4 eggs
4 tbsps. butter
2 tsp. Cream of Wheat

Remove stem from eggplant, cut each unpeeled eggplant in half. Bring salted water to cover eggplant to boil. Cook eggplant until tender. Do not overcook. Remove from water and cool. Beat egg and cook in melted butter. Add cottage cheese, Cream of Wheat, parsley and stir. Remove pulp from eggplant, add to egg mixture and stir.

Arrange eggplant shells in greased 10x14 baking pan. Fill shells with prepared mixture. Cover with foil and bake in 350o preheated oven 20 minutes, Let rest 15 minutes.

Serves 6

chick peas (SISERR)

by Margaret Garibian

4 cups canned chick peas
2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed
1 cup chicken or beef stock
l cup onions, sliced
½ cup green peppers, sliced
salt, pepper to taste
2 tbsps. oil
pinch of basil (rahan)

Fry onions and peppers until softened. Add rest of ingredients and cook over medium heat for about an hour.

Serves 4-5

NOTE: Well sauteed lamb may be added to this dish. If lamb is used, use lamb broth instead of chicken or beef broth.

Lentil kufte (VOSPOV KUFTE)

Also known as Lentil Balls or VOSPOV KHEMA by Ann Tashjian

1½ cups yellow split peas or lentils
4 cups water
1¼ cups fine bulghour (cracked wheat)
1 tbsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of red pepper
½ cup veg. oil, 2 tbsp. butter or marg. combined
1 cup onions. chopped

Wash lentils or peas, add water and bring to boil. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, on low heat. Do not stir. Turn off heat. Add bulghour, seasonings and stir well Saute onions in melted oil mixture until softened and golden brown.

Pour over lentil mixture and mix well. Serve with mixture of 1 cup chopped parsley and 1 cup chopped onion or spring onions including greens (optional).

Serves 6

Lentils with apricots (MUSHOSH)

Recipe of Van

1 lb. brown lentils
1 tsp. salt
½ lb. dried apricots
2 tbsp. sugar

Cover lentils with water in saucepan. Add salt and cook until soft about 30 to 40 minutes. Add apricots and sugar. Add additional hot water if needed to cover.

Cook 10-15 minutes until apricots are tender. Serve as side dish warm or cold.

Serves 6-8

VARIATION: Add 1 finely chopped onion before cooking lentils.

Lentil dish (VOSPOV PILAF)

by Mary Garibian

1 cup whole lentils
½ cup rice
3½ cups water
Salt to taste
1 cup onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil or butter
pepper to taste

Wash lentils, put in pan with water and salt. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add rice, lower heat to simmer and cook until all water is absorbed. When tender, remove from heat.

If this is to be eaten warm, saute onions in butter; if onions are sauteed in oil, serve cold.

After onions are sauteed, add to mixture with pepper. Mix and serve.

Serves 4

VARIATION: 1/2 cup coarse bulghour may be substituted in place of rice.

Zucchini pie (TUTUMOV BOERAG)

by Helen Meregian

1 lb. zucchini, grated
1 Sm. onion, grated
½ to 3/4 lb. sharp cheese, grated
v 5 eggs
salt, pepper to taste

After grating zucchini, squeeze until dry. Add onion, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper.

Grease 9" pie plate. Fill pie plate with mixture and cook 30-45 minutes in 350F oven or until brown. Insert knife. If it comes out clean, it is done.

Serves 4

Baked dough with yogurt (SERIM)

by Takouhi Shemligian

¼ lb. butter or marg.
1 qt. yogurt

2 cups flour
1 egg
1 tbsp. shortening
¼ cup water, ¼ cup milk combined
½ tsp. salt

Knead dough till soft. Make 8 large walnut size balls. Set aside covered and let rest for one hour. Roll open each piece with long type rolling stick. Roll the size of the bottom of your oven. Sprinkle corn-starch and flour combined (¼ cup) when rolling.

Carry dough on stick to oven and spread directly on floor of oven (375F) Bake 2 seconds on one side, 2 seconds on other side. Leave oven door open when baking. After removing from oven, roll up quickly into long strips. Cut into 2" pieces. Stack in baking pan 12"x8" with cut sides up so yogurt will run down.

Melt butter or margarine and pour over top. Beat yogurt. Add crushed clove of garlic if desired. Pour yogurt over entire surface. Heat 15 minutes until yogurt is warmed. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Flaky cheese pastry (SOU-BOERAG)

by Yeretzgin Salpie Artinian

4¼ cups flour
8 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp. water

3/4 lb. Muenstor cheese, cut up in small pieces
3/4 lb. Feta cheese, cut up in small pieces
½ cup parsley, minced
blk. pepper to taste

Mix all dough ingredients together and knead. Dough will be hard and elastic. Divide into balls. Roll each ball to size of pan and set aside. Place one sheet of dough into greased pan. Fill large saucepan 3/4 full of water with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Have ready large roasting pan filled with cold water. Drop each sheet of dough except one, into boiling water. When it rises to top, use two slotted spoons and remove very carefully into colander. Using colander, slip into pan of cold water. Turn sheet of dough a few times in water to cool and then very carefully place on a clean sheet of cloth which has been spread on counter. After all sheets of dough have been thus processed, dry tops with another cloth. Spread 2 tablespoons melted butter over sheet of dough in pan and place another sheet on top. Continue placing sheets of dough on top of each other, being sure to butter each one with 2 tablespoons butter. Dough must be adjusted to fit pan and will appear puckered. This is proper and necessary.

After 6 sheets have been used, spread mixed filling evenly over top. Repeat same procedure with remaining sheets of dough. Place the sheet of dough that hasn't been boiled on top and spread with 2 tablespoons melted butter as you have with all other sheets of dough.

A round l5"x2" pan is used and baked in 400F preheated oven for ½ hour.

Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Makes 16-18 pieces

Baked cheese and spinach with filo (SPANAGH BOERAG)

by Simone Arakelian

2 lbs. spinach, washed and drained
1 bunch scallions
3 onions, chopped fine
½ lb. cottage cheese
½ lb. Feta cheese, crumbled
6 eggs
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb. butter, melted
salt, pepper to taste
½ cup parsley, chopped (opt.)
1 lb. prepared fib dough (pastry sheets)

In a large mixing bowl chop spinach. scallions, onions and garlic To the spinach mixture add cottage cheese, crumbled Feta cheese, unbeaten eggs. salt and pepper. Pour ½ of melted butter over above mixture and thoroughly mix all ingredients.

In greased baking pan (l0"xl5") , place six pastry sheets, spreading each with melted butter. Sprinkle top sheet with spinach mixture (spread mixture evenly) and once again, cover with six individually buttered pastry sheets. Continue alternating spinach mixture and pastry sheets, ending with buttered pastry sheets. Bake at 350F for ½ hour. Remove boerag from oven and pour remaining melted butter over it. Return to oven and continue baking at 350F for remaining ½ hour. After removing from oven, allow boerag to cool before cutting in squares.

Makes 20 squares

Baked spinach-cheese with filo (SPANAGH-BANIR BOERAG)

by Akaby Yaylaian

3 lbs. fresh spinach, chopped fine
3 tbsp. salt

  • 1/2 lb. Muenster cheese, cut up in snail pieces

8 oz. cottage cheese mixed with 1 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 sm. onion, minced
¼ bunch chopped parsley
pinch of dry or a sprig of fresh dill
½ cup pure olive oil

3 tbsp. sour cream
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. pure olive oil
½ cup water

Mix eggs, sour cream, olive oil and water together. Add salt, baking powder and sugar to flour and add to egg mixture. Knead thoroughly about 10 minutes until soft, smooth and pliable. Divide into balls the size of walnuts. Cover with plastic and let rest ½ hour.

Sprinkle spinach with salt and let stay 1 hr., then rinse thoroughly 3 times. Squeeze all water thoroughly from spinach and mix with remaining ingredients. Using cornstarch, roll a ball of dough to 9"x13" rectangle at least 1/8" thick. Grease pan lightly with olive oil. Place sheet of dough in pan and grease top of dough lightly with olive oil. Place 2nd sheet of dough on top and spread filling evenly over this. Place third sheet of dough over filling, grease lightly with olive oil and place 4th sheet of dough over this. Brush with 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp. canned milk and 1 tsp. olive oil all over top. Bake at 350F approximately 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

  • NOTE. Other cheese nay be substituted. May be eaten hot or cold.

Makes 24 pieces

Cheese, spinach, noodle casserole (BANIR, SPANAGH, YEV YERISHTA)

by Vart Hachigian

4 tbsp. butter or margarine
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
½ lb. American cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups cooked med. wide noodles
2 cups cooked spinach. chopped and drained

Make cream sauce by melting butter in double boiler. Add flour, salt and pepper, stirring until smooth. Add milk. Cook until thickened and smooth. Add 3/4 of cheese and stir until it is melted. Arrange alternating layers of noodles, spinach and cheese sauce in a casserole. (Repeat) End with noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 350F 40 min.

Serves 6-8

Baked spinach and eggs (HAVGITOV SPANACH)

by Akaby Yaylaian

3 boxes frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
4 eggs, well beaten
2 lge. onions, finely minced
1 stick melted butter (reserve 2 tbsp.)
½ tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Melt butter in large frying pan and saute onions until soft. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Cook together for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add ½ of beaten eggs. Put this into a buttered pan (9" round cake pan).

Pour remainder of beaten eggs evenly over top. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of reserved melted butter over top. Bake at 375F about 15 minutes until egg is cooked.

Serves 4-6

Vegetarian Midia Pilaf Stuffed Vegetables

by Louise Avedissian

2 surj (Armenian coffee) cups of black currants soaked in water 5-6 hours
16 small tomatoes or bell peppers
16 medium brown onions if using bell peppers, or 8 onions if using tomatoes
1 cup round rice if bell peppers or 3/4 cup round rice if tomatoes
3 chicken bullions
4 cloves garlic
white (or black) pepper
garam masala (optional)
olive oil

Chop onions fine and fry on stove until clear in a little oil, and starting to brown. Mix rice in onion, lower heat, add white pepper (or black if white is unavailable), salt, add drained black currants, cinnamon, garam masala (if available) and allspice. Stir rice mixture until semi-cooked, do not add water.

Take off stove, add 1/2 surj cup of oil, mix and let cool. Fill hollowed tomatoes or bell peppers with rice mixture and put in heavy base pot or add a few layers of aluminum foil to the bottom of your standard pot.

Cook on low fire, starting with 1/2 surj cup of oil and 1 cup water (with 2 or 3 chicken bullions), bring to boil, then cook on very low heat. Put 3 or 4 cloves of garlic in the water during this process, then remove them. After the tomatoes or bell peppers cook, drain some of the juice into a small pot to boil until it thickens. This will be poured onto the tomatoes before/during serving.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice (Ghapama)

Ghapama (made by Raffi Kojian).

See recipes on the ghapama page.