Our traditional Armenian cooking techniques still influence our kitchens today, as our dishes are a reflection of our culture, with a cuisine which stems from the use of our traditional crops along with the animals which were farmed by Armenians in past years.
We enjoy our meat, often served on a skewer, cooked over an open fire or even in an underground oven. The preparation of not only our meat dishes but also our fish and vegetable dishes involves a lot of stuffing, pureeing and frothing along the way.
One of the essentials to have in your pantry is fresh herbs. We tend to use these differently depending on which part of the country we're living in, but mint, tarragon, and parsley are commonly used in our recipes. Pearl barley is also a favorite ingredient of ours, being utilized for both sweet and savory servings.
So, if you plan on trying out a host of our Armenian recipes, there are some definite must-haves for your pantry. Of course, make sure you have the best selection of spices and flower extracts. An assortment of dried fruit, fresh fruit, and vegetables, a selection of grains and legumes which are suitable for our dishes are important. Nuts of all sorts, butter and oil, a few dairy products, and some basic groceries are good to have on hand. It's always essential to have some phyllo dough tucked away in the freezer.
Here are a few items to consider when stocking up your pantry:
Top up your spice cupboard by adding as many of these useful herbs and spices as possible.
Allspice, Basil, Black Pepper, Black nigella seeds, Cardamom, Cayenne and Pepper, Cinnamon, and Cloves, Coriander (kinz), Cumin seeds (chaman), Dill (samit), Garlic Fennel Seed, Fenugreek, Ginger, Mahlab (ground, black cherry kernels), Mint, Nutmeg, Paprika, Oregano, Saffron, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Sumac
Include some extracts such as orange flower water and rose water.
Dried Fruit and Fresh Fruit are essential and great to have in your kitchen.
When it comes to grains and legumes, here are a few which are useful to have in your pantry.
-Beans, all kinds (dried or canned)
-Chick peas (dried or canned)
-Lentils (red & brown)
-Whole wheat berries (dzedzadz)
You will find that your recipes may include nuts, so grab a few packets of almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts.
Having a few blocks of butter in the fridge and some olive oil are essential to prepare tasty dishes, as are cheeses, fresh cream, yogurt, and milk. Here are just a few more basic grocery items which you may need to use at some stage. Chicken broth, Coffee, Fine egg noodles/pasta, Flour, Honey, Jams, Olives, Mussels (canned), Sugar, Tomato Paste, Tourshi (pickled vegetables).