Sunday, December 19, 2010


Armenian cuisine is fairly typical of the Mediterranean and Eastern European regions. Fresh ingredients are usually more important than spices, and common elements include lamb, bulghur, rice, yogurt, apricots, nuts, zucchini, and stuffed fruit and vegetables.

I planned to make zucchini fritters, a pilaf with bulghur, and apricots stuffed with beef. I was pretty sure this meal was going to be an epic disaster. Here is a list of the things that went wrong before I even started cooking:
1. I got home later than expected and had about an hour less to cook than I had hoped for.
2. Trader Joe's did not have bulghur and I scraped my car on a pillar in the parking garage (pretty sure this was divine punishment for stopping there on the way home instead of parking at home and walking the two blocks over).
3. I didn't think to label the ziplock bags of meat in my freezer and accidentally thawed pork instead of beef (hello, cultural inaccuracy).
4. Shoppers didn't have apricots to stuff with said pork, so I turned to zucchini. Unfortunately, they also only had tiny zucchini. So I figured I would just have to deal.

I assured my friend Anika that there was excellent pizza only a few minutes away if it all proved inedible, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. The pilaf turned out pretty delicious with rice instead of bulghur, and the fritters were excellent. I didn't keep the leftover stuffed zucchini (the recipe didn't say to cook the rice beforehand, so I didn't...and maybe I should have? It was crunchy and I did not find it delicious), but we each ate one.

Zucchini fritters (DABGADZ TUTUM)

1 med. squash, ground fine or grated
2 eggs
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbs. dry mint, crumbled
½ cup flour
salt to taste
dash of black pepper
Beat all together with a fork until well blended. Put enough olive oil to cover bottom of frying pan. Drop by tablespoon into oil over medium heat. Brown on both sides. When done, put on paper towel to absorb oil. This also may be made with the pulp of the squash, when making dolma (stuffed squash).


4 tbsp. butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (I took the tomatoes for the stuffed zucchini out of this can)
1 small. green pepper
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
salt, pepper to taste
Melt butter, add onions and sauté until onions are browned. Add washed bulghur and sauté 5 minutes. Add chopped peppers, parsley, cut tomatoes and tomato paste. Add seasonings. Add broth. Bring all ingredients to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Let it sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Stuffed vegetables 1 (DOLMA / Letsvadz)

1/4 lb. ground lamb or beef (I accidentally used pork)
2 tsp. rice
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. dill, chopped
pinch of pepper
salt to taste
2 small zucchini or 1 large zucchini
4 tbsp fire-roasted diced tomatoes or sauce.

Combine ground meat, rice or bulghur, onion, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Cut squash in half and remove pulp; lightly salt inside. Fill with meat mixture, spoon tomato over the top. Bake at 375 until meat is cooked and zucchini is tender, about 30 minutes.


  1. gd this looks good, i want you to cook for me.

  2. Wow. As an Armenian I am impressed that you attempted to cook Armenian food, as it is not exactly the easiest to try out, although after a few tries it is relatively easy to do. I know a great Armenian cookbook if you are ever in the mood to try it again. There are some real gems in it, like the wheat and yogurt soup, stuffed grape leaves, choreg (Armenian sweet roll), and boregs (filo dough pastries with meat, veggies, or cheese).

    As far as ingredients go, if you have a car, or don't know about it already, there is a Mediterranean bakery on South Pickett in Arlington, right off Duke Street near the Home Depot. You can find absolutely everything there and it isn't expensive at all. They also make fresh pita bread, which if you catch it at the right time, you can buy when it is fresh out of the oven. (That is only if I am assuming you don't know of the place yet).

    I am actually making some Armenian food Christmas Eve. I have done it for about 5 years now with my dad.