Posts Tagged ‘armenian’


April 13, 2010

Choreg is a soft, sweet Armenian bread that we eat for dessert or breakfast or with appetizers. This recipe isn’t exactly like my great-grandmothers, but it’s close and it’s delicious.

5 cups flour

1 cup melted butter

1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs + 1 egg separated, beaten

2 packets of yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

sesame seeds for sprinkling over the top

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Melt the butter and beat the 3 eggs. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt well. Add in the butter, 3 eggs, yeast mixture and milk and mix together. You can knead it right in the bowl just until the dough comes together and isn’t sticking to the sides of the bowl anymore. Clean the bowl, coat it with butter or oil and put the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours.

Now it’s time to shape the dough. Take a key lime sized piece and roll it out with your hands into a long worm shape. Bend into a horseshoe shape and then braid the two sides. Place on a greased aluminum baking sheet. Do not use teflon, non-stick or any other dark bottom pan or they will burn on the bottom.

Let rise 30 more minutes. Brush with beaten egg and top with sesame seeds. Bake in a 375 F oven for 13 minutes. Take out and eat warm. If you’re not going to eat them all at once, you can freeze them and microwave them to heat them back up.


Cheese Boereg

February 18, 2010

Sometimes, cheese boereg is eaten as part of mezza (appetizers), but my family usually makes a meal out of them. They are crispy and cheesy and delicious. My favorite part is when the cheese oozes out the side and gets crispy on the pan. A little treat for the chef!

1 lb. package phyllo dough

1 stick melted butter

5 cups shredded jack cheese

1/3 cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup cream cheese

1 heaping Tbsp. feta cheese

2 beaten eggs

Get a big bowl and mix together all the cheeses and the eggs with your hands. Squish it all together until the cheese is all broken up and well combined with the egg.

Unroll the phyllo dough and brush the first layer lightly with melted butter. Put a small amount of the cheese filling at the bottom in the center.

Roll just one sheet of phyllo up a few times

Fold one third over toward the center

Roll up a couple more times

Fold the other third over toward the center

and roll up the rest of the way

Repeat until all the phyllo dough or all the cheese is used up. If you have leftover filling, you can freeze it for next time. Or you can spread it on pita bread and stick it under the broiler. Remember, it has raw eggs in it, so it must be cooked!

Place the cheese boeregs on a greased pan, brush the tops with melted butter and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Hadjin Choreg

February 5, 2010

This is my great-grandmother Mary’s recipe for sweet choreg. They are also called gata. This kind has a sweet filling called koritz. There are also regular choreg and gata without the filling, but I prefer these. We eat them for breakfast or a midnight snack. Actually, they are so yummy we eat them all the time!

Koritz (filling):

1 lb. butter

3 cups flour

4 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup finely ground walnuts

1 cup sugar

For the dough:

1/2 lb. melted room temperature butter

1/2 cup crisco

1/2 cup warm water

2 packets yeast

2 1/2 lbs. flour

2 tsp. salt

1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar

12 oz. can evaporated milk

2 beaten eggs

First, make the koritz:

Melt the butter on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and stirring until it is well blended and looks almost like dough. Turn off the heat and add cinnamon, walnuts and sugar and stir stir stir until the sugar is totally dissolved and everything is blended very well. Set aside to cool.

Now you can make the dough:

First, melt the butter. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together well. Cut the crisco into the flour with a pastry cutter or just by using your fingers.

Dissolve 1 Tbsp. sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the 2 packets of yeast to this and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.

Beat the 2 eggs. Add the eggs, melted butter, yeast mixture and evaporated milk to the flour mixture. Mix with your hands (it will be messy) until it comes together as a dough. Knead just until it is completely blended. You can do all this right in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 2 hours.

Now it’s time to roll them out! Divide the dough into 5 equal sized portions. Divide the koritz into 5 portions. Take 1 portion of dough and roll out into a square about 1/4″ thick. Spread 1 portion of the koritz all over it, pressing it into the dough with your hands lightly. Roll up into a tube like a jelly roll. Pinch and seal the edges with your fingers. Now gently flatten it out with a rolling pin, being careful not to let the kortiz ooze out. Cut on the diagonal into several rectangular pieces. Pierce each choreg with a fork in a couple places. Brush with beaten egg. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with each portion until you are done. Eat them hot out of the oven! Once they’ve cooled, you can microwave them for 15-20 seconds and they will taste fresh. They also freeze well if you want to save them.


December 5, 2009

Gurabia are Armenian Christmas cookies. The women in my family make them every year together. We make lots and lots at once and give them out for the holidays.

A warning: the dough is very tricky to get just right. Depending on the weather and the quality of the butter and flour, it may need more or less flour than I call for in this recipe. If the dough is too soft to work with and is melting in your hands, you need more flour. If it’s easy to work with, you put too much flour. I guess it just takes practice!

1/2 cup butter flavored crisco

1 cup clarified butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 3/4 cup flour (may need more or less, see above)

extra flour for dusting and shaping

Put the room temperature crisco and butter into an electric mixer and beat until it turns white. This will take several minutes.

Turn mixer down to low and add in 1 cup flour, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup powdered sugar and then the remaining flour slowly. Turn the mixer up to combine everything well. Now you’re ready to roll it out.

Have a bowl of flour nearby, coat your hands in it and pinch off about a tangerine sized piece of dough. Work flour into it until it feels dry enough to roll into a worm shape. Do this with all the dough so you have several pieces ready to roll.

Now roll one of the pieces out to look like a worm. Cut it into small pieces (you’ll use these for the petals and center of the flowers). This is a lot like making gnocchi if you’ve ever made that before. Now arrange 5 of the pieces into a star shape right on a sheet tray and pinch them together in the center gently. Roll one of the small pieces into a ball and press onto the top, again gently.

Another note: If you’re making more batches, you do not have to clean the mixer or paddle between batches. Just scrape it down and make the next batch.

Bake at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes. When they are just starting to brown on the edges, they are done. Take them out and leave them on the tray until they cool completely. Transfer to a plate or a box and give away or eat them yourself. Good luck!


September 16, 2009

Boorma is Armenian paklava that is rolled instead of layered. When you bite into it, you will initially get a crunch from the layers of phyllo dough and then you get a burst of butter and just a bit of syrup. This is one of my favorites.

1 package #4 phyllo dough

1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, clarified and kept very hot on the stove

For the filling:

3 cups very finely ground walnuts

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

For the syrup:

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

You will also need a dowel approximately a foot long and 1 inch in diameter and a wet towel.

To make the filling, just combine the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

To make the syrup, boil the sugar and water for 10 minutes. Then add the lemon juice. The lemon juice keeps the sugar from re-crystalizing and gives it flavor too.

Preheat your oven to 350 F

Here comes the tricky part – actually making the boorma. It takes trial and error and it can be frustrating but the end result is so very much worth it!

Defrost your phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight and take it out a few hours before you need it. Open it up, unfold it gently and lay it flat on a cutting board or smooth work surface. Cover with a wet towel briefly.

Remove the towel and sprinkle a LITTLE of the filling over the phyllo dough leaving a gap at the top like this: 






Next, take the dowel and roll just ONE layer of phyllo dough onto it very slowly and gently. Some of the walnuts may poke through and tear the dough but just keep rolling. It’ll be fine. Roll all the way up:






Now comes the very, very tricky part. Take your fingers and put them kind of up and under the ends of the roll and scrunch it to make a wrinkly log like this:






Grab with your hand, holding it together and place on a sheet pan (pan must have sides – see below). You should be able to fit two to a row:






Be sure to put the damp towel over the phyllo dough before you add the filling each time so it doesn’t get dry. If the phone rings or something distracts you, get that towel over the phyllo dough or it will dry out and be impossible to work with.

You should fill up 1 1/2 – 2 sheet pans this way. Once they’re all lined up, make sure the clarified butter is extremely hot but not boiling. Take a large spoon and drizzle the boorma generously with the hot butter. It should sizzle audibly. Make sure to get every part of it with butter, including the ends.

Carefully transfer to a 350 F oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. The timing really depends on your oven. Watch it closely because it goes from golden to burnt very quickly!

Take it out of the oven and get a big metal bowl, pot or pan with high sides. Carefully tilt the sheet pan and drain all of the excess butter. Please note, you can re-use this butter for the next sheet pan.

Let the boorma cool completely, then drizzle with just a little syrup to taste. My family likes just a tiny touch of syrup, but other people like a lot. I suggest starting out with just a little bit, tasting and then adding more if it’s not sweet enough.


August 14, 2009

Tava is a mostly vegetable dish with a little lamb for flavor. Normally, I say you can substitute beef or turkey, but in this recipe you really can’t. It just comes out bland if you do, so use ground lamb!

1 lb. ground lamb

2 Japanese (small) eggplant

1 lb. frozen or fresh green beans

1 lb. frozen or fresh okra (can be left out)

2 lbs. squash (I use zucchini or Mexican)

1 green bell pepper

1 medium white onion

about 20 baby carrots

4 large fresh very ripe tomatoes or 1 large can diced tomatoes

lemon juice to taste, plus extra for soaking okra in

salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is all about preparation. Once you have everything cut up and prepared, it’s pretty easy.

Cut the eggplant into large (about 3″) half moons and place in a separate bowl. Heavily salt it and let it sit while you prepare the other vegetables.

Cut the okra into bite sized pieces, place in a bowl and add enough lemon juice to coat it all. This will keep it from getting slimy when you cook it.

Cut the squash into large (about 3″) half moons, slice the onion, medium dice the bell pepper, chop the tomatoes into large (about 3″) chunks.

Brown the lamb in a large pot. Next, add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and saute until onions are starting to become translucent. Add the green beans. Drain and rinse the salt off the eggplant and add it. Add the okra WITH the lemon juice (do not drain). Finally, add the squash and tomatoes. This is where you want to add your salt/pepper/lemon juice to taste.

Stir and stir and break up the tomatoes as much as possible. Enough liquid should come out of the tomatoes and other veggies to almost completely cover them. Once that liquid is simmering, cover and let simmer 30 minutes.

We serve it with rice pilaf. It would also be good with bread for soaking up the juice.


July 15, 2009

Dolma is just like Sarma, only you stuff veggies instead of grape leaves. This time, my Grandma and I used tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers but you can really use any vegetable you like that is suitable for stuffing. As always, you can substitute ground beef or turkey if you don’t like lamb.

4 lbs. ground lamb

2 large white onions

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1 cup rice (mahatma is good)

8 oz. tomato sauce

12 oz. tomato paste

1 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic salt

Lemon juice

Veggies for stuffing


Mix everything but the lemon juice and the veggies together just like you would meatloaf. Hollow out the veggies, then put a sprinkle of salt, pepper and a drop of lemon juice in the bottom of each one. Stuff with meat mixture and put in a large heavy pot.

Squeeze the stuff you scooped out of the veggies into the empty spaces between the vegetables. Pour about 1/4 cup lemon juice over everything evenly. Then put 1/2-1 cup of water (depending on the size of your pot) in the bottom of the pot. Put a plate on top of everything to weigh it down. Cover and place on the stove, bring to a boil then turn down to low and let simmer for 1 hour.

Serve hot with some of the juice from the bottom of the pot over the top. We like to eat dolma with madzoon (plain yogurt). Give it a try!
Aubergine Dolmas on Foodista

Armenian Halva

July 10, 2009

Don’t confuse Armenian Halva (made with cream of wheat) with Jewish Halva which is more like a candy. We eat halva for dessert or sometimes breakfast.

The ingredients you use for halva are very important. You must use clarified butter or the cream of wheat won’t puff up. Here is how you clarify butter. It is very important that ALL the water is gone from the butter. You also are going to use something we call bakmaz. It is concentrated grape syrup. You can get it at Armenian stores or sometimes at Jons. Here’s what the jar looks like:







Also, you need to use the original 10 minute kind of cream of wheat:






1 large box of Original 10 minute Cream of Wheat

1 lb. melted, clarified butter

4 cups water

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup bakmaz

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Add bakmaz and boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Keep at a simmer.

Add the melted clarified butter to the cream of wheat in a big heavy pot. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. It’s important to keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan so it does not burn.

Now add the almost boiling syrup you made to the cream of wheat mixture a little at a time. Stand back because it will sizzle and splatter when you add it. Mix it up and keep adding until it looks moist enough and tastes sweet enough. Keep tasting it until it’s as sweet as you like it. You may not use all of the syrup. The syrup may be kept in the refrigerator if you have some left over.

Serve hot for dessert or breakfast. Let me know if you try this one. I grew up on it, so it doesn’t seem strange to me but it may be a bit of an acquired taste for someone who didn’t grow up on it!


June 23, 2009

This recipe is adapted from a recipe for Kessab Style Taboule in one of my grandmother’s Armenian recipe books. I’ve added red wine vinegar, more lemon juice and substituted red onions for green. I think it gives it a better flavor. This recipe is also vegan!

3 bunches parsley, chopped finely

1 bunch mint, chopped finely

juice of 4 lemons

salt to taste

1 cup #1 bulgur (the finest grained one)

1 package grape tomatoes

1 large hot house cucumber or 6 small Persian cucumbers

1 red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups warm water


Mix bulgur with water and set aside to soak. Cut stems off parsley and mint, wash and dry thoroughly. Chop very finely once it is completely dry.

In large bowl, combine parsley, mint, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers (chopped into small bite-sized pieces), bulgur. Add olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice and mix well. If your lemons are small or not very juicy, you may need to add more lemon juice. Just taste it and see. Salt to taste. Mix and serve chilled.

It lasts 4-6 days in the refrigerator and it is actually better the 2nd day!


June 9, 2009

Sarma are grape leaves stuffed with lamb, rice and spices. The method for making and cooking them is very similar to yalanchi.

50 fresh grape leaves

lemon juice for boiling grape leaves

1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb

1/2 cup white rice (mahatma is good)

1 bunch parsley finely chopped

2 onions finely chopped

8 oz tomato sauce

3/4 of a small can tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

lemon juice to pour on top before cooking


Boil the grape leaves in very salty, lemony water until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Mix lamb, onions, parsley, tomato sauce, tomato paste, rice, salt and pepper just like you would meatloaf. Your hands work best here.

You’re ready to roll. Place the grape leaf vein side up and put a heaping Tbsp. of filling at the bottom of it:

Roll bottom of grape leaf over the filling once:

Now fold in the sides of the leaf:

Then roll up the rest of the way. Place sarma in a pot in rows and on top of each other. Cover completely with left over grape leaves. Add lemon juice and water about half way up the pan. Place a dinner plate on top of the sarma.

Bring liquid to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer covered 30-45 minutes.

Remove sarma from liquid and serve. My family eats it with a little plain yogurt as a kind of sauce for the sarma.