with Azerbaijani cuisine Zafferano
Born in 1969 in Baku. He loved cooking since childhood, and despite the fact that everyone in the family was a builder, he decided to become a cook. At 23, he graduated from the local culinary school and began to practice in the Intourist hotel system. I always believed that a profession should be “stolen” in a good sense — to watch how professionals do it — and I started from scratch, helped cooks cut meat and lived on the principle of “work and you will be noticed.” At first he worked between the two capitals, was the chef of the Russian Drama Theater. Two years later, Afghanistan became the chef of the restaurant at the Baku hotel "Moscow". In 2003, he was offered a place in Moscow's Zafferano (which was just opening then), where he went from a cook to a brand chef. Afghan often travels to Baku, there, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, he has his own restaurant Sea Breeze.
Help from the Chef
Pilaf "Fisinjan" in Azerbaijan is prepared in different ways: someone adds turkey or chicken, someone else beef or pork. But the main ingredient in this dish is sauce. It must have walnuts, and the more the better.
For fisinjan sauce
Fisinjan sauce. Cut the turkey fillet into small pieces of 30-50 grams, cut the onion into four parts. Cook the turkey and onions in a pan until the turkey is tender.
Transfer boiled onions to a preheated skillet (preferably cast iron), add ground walnuts, salt, pepper, butter (previously slightly melted). Allow to boil and then add to the abgora and mix.
Abgora is the juice of unripe grapes, often used in Azerbaijani cuisine, gives the dish a purple hue, and tastes like vinegar.
Transfer the sauce to the pan in which the turkey and broth were left from it. Simmer together for about an hour.
Pilaf. Rinse and cook rice according to instructions, but not until fully cooked. Throw in a colander, and then transfer back to the pan (already without water). Add a pinch of saffron to 100 ml of hot water. Add one tablespoon of saffron infusion to rice.
They serve rice and fisinjan sauce separately.
Photos: Olya Eichenbaum
Illustrations: Alexander Pokhvalin