Lavangi: Walnut and Plum Stuffed Chicken Breast

Lavangi-- Azerbaijani Walnut and Prune Stuffed Chicken

Lavangi is a stuffed chicken breast recipe from Azerbaijan. The filling is made with onions, walnuts, prunes, and raisins, and the chicken breast is rubbed with plum preserves. A little sweet, a little salty, and a whole lotta delicious!

Thoughts on Stuffed Chicken Breast

One of my favorite dinners in the world is stuffed chicken breast, mostly because you can make it however you want. Until now, I had always made my stuffed chicken breast recipes a dairy-lover’s heaven. Spinach and artichoke stuffed chicken breast, caprese stuffed chicken breast, broccoli cheese stuffed chicken breast. You get the idea.

But today, with Azerbaijan, we’re changin’ it up. Instead of a cheesy calorie bomb, this stuffed chicken breast recipe is a Whole30 recipe that you can feel good about.

Okay, I also feel good about broccoli cheese stuffed chicken breast, but in a different way. This Lavangi chicken breast makes me feel good in both the “I’m eating something healthy for my body way” and also the “OH MY GOD THIS IS DELICIOUS” way. What more could you want?!

Lavangi on fork with plate of chicken breast in the background

Making the Lavangi Filling

We’re gettin’ a little weird in the kitchen today, but just go with it, okay? It’s going to be worth it in the end.

Here’s what I need you to do:

Take out a blender, and an onion. Peel the skin off of the onion and roughly cut it into slices. Now (here’s the weird part) put the onion in the blender. Turn the blender on. Blend that onion into a watery, onion soup. Try not to cry from all those onion tear gases wafting through your kitchen.

Lavangi on plate with sweet potato and vegetables

Line a small mixing bowl with a kitchen towel. Pour the tear-gassy, onion soup into the kitchen towel. Wrap the onion soup up in the towel and squeeze and squeeze until most of the water drains out. When you’re done, your leftover blended onion meat should stick to itself like wet sand. Set aside.

Blend the walnuts. Set aside. Blend the prunes. Set aside. Mix all of your ingredients together, season the filling, and stuff it in that chicken breast.

It ends up being a little salty, a little sweet, and a whole lotta delicious.

Traditional Lavangi

This recipe is a bit different than the traditional Lavangi recipe from Azerbaijan. The filling is exactly the same, but in a traditional Lavangi meal, it is stuffed into a whole chicken. I haven’t tried this method, but if you choose to do so, I would recommend using this guide to figure out your roasting temperature/time depending on the size of your chicken!

As always, try out my recipe and tag me in instagram or facebook with a photo (@theforeignfork or #theforeignfork)! If you liked this recipe, also check out my recipe for Austrian Wiener Schnitzel and this Australian Vegemite Pasta with Chicken!

Lavangi (Azerbaijan): Walnut and Plum Stuffed Chicken Breast

Lavangi is a stuffed chicken breast recipe from Azerbaijan. The filling is made with onions, walnuts, prunes, and raisins, and the chicken breast is rubbed with plum preserves. A little sweet, a little salty, and a whole lotta delicious!

Course dinner
Cuisine azerbaijan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp rasisins
  • 2 medium onions cut into eighths
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried prunes choppped
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup plum preserves or plum jam
  • 3 large chicken breasts

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Soak the raisins in room temperature water for 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, also soak the prunes for 30 minutes in room temperature water. 

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  3. Clean the chicken breasts. Using a knife, cut a slit horizontally down the fatter side edge of the chicken breast. Make sure to not cut the slit so deep that the knife comes out of the other side of the chicken. You are making a pocket to store the filling inside. 

  4. Once the slits are cut in the chicken, use your hands to massage the plum preserves into the raw chicken. Season chicken on both sides using pepper, garlic powder, and light salt. 

Making the Filling

  1. Blend the onion quarters in a blender until a liquid forms.

  2. Line a medium mixing bowl with a dish towel and pour the blended onion into the dish towel. Wrap the dish towel up, and squeeze out all of the excess water from the blended onion. Dispose of the liquid. The remaining onion should stick together like dry sand when squeezed in your palm. Set aside. 

  3. Blend the walnuts in the blender. Set aside. 

  4. Strain the water from the prunes and put the hydrated prunes in the blender. Blend and set aside. 

  5. Using a wooden spoon, combine the blended onions, walnuts, and prunes in a mixing bowl. Drain the raisins and mix into the filling. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Melt the ghee and pour into the mixture as well. Mix to combine. The filling should be wet but not runny. 

Assembly and Cooking

  1. Fill each chicken breast with the filling. Lay the chicken breasts on an aluminum-lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. 

  2. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads the internal temperature as 165 degrees. Enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

If making this recipe on the whole30, simply used crushed plums instead of plum jam

This dish can also be made using an entire chicken. If so, stuff the chicken with the filling and use this guide to figure out your roasting temperature and time.

 

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 


Qutab (Azerbaijan): A Savory, Herb-Filled Crepe

Stack of Qutab crepes

Qutab is a savory crepe from Azerbaijan. The only qualifier to this dish is that the crepe must be filled with herbs. After that, creativity is welcome! Try different meats, cheeses, herbs, or spreads and discover your favorite Qutab combination.

Lookin’ for a little snack? A great appetizer? A light lunch that pairs perfectly with delicious soup? Look no further, my (wo)man! I gotchu covered right here.

These little snackers remind me of crepes, but crunchier. The batter is made of all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oil and boiling water. It crisps up nicely to make a deliciously textured crust.

Overhead view of qutab on wooden board

Making the Crepe

When making the pancake portion of the Qutab, use a medium pan, and make sure to re-grease it with each new circle of dough added. Place the dough in the pan, and immediately begin filling the crepe with your desired filling. Leave the crepe to cook for about 30 seconds to one minute, until it starts to brown. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dough over to create a half moon shape. Continue cooking the Qutab until both outer sides have browned.

Stack of Qutab with herbs and yogurt dip

Filling Your Qutab

The freedom is yours from there! As long as the Qutab are filled with herbs, they’re considered a traditional Azerbaijani recipe.

I chose to fill my Qutab with mint, dill, cilantro, and chives, but you can also choose from sage, oregano, or any other herbs that catch your eye. Be sure to use a base of spinach! If you’d like meat in your crepe, ground lamb makes a great choice. Mix in paneer or feta for a cheesy addition, or add spreads to the cooked crepe, like pumpkin or molasses.

Get creative in the kitchen and see where it takes you! If you come up with a mind-blowing combo, share it with me!! If you liked this Qutab, I’m sure you’ll also live this Boolawnee from Afghanistan or this Zucchini Slice from Australia!

Qutab (Azerbaijan)

Qutab is a savory crepe from Azerbaijan. The only qualifier to this dish is that the crepe must be filled with herbs. After that, creativity is welcome! Try different meats, cheeses, herbs, or spreads and discover your favorite Qutab combination.

Ingredients

Crepe Dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.5-2 cups boiling water as needed

Filling

  • 2 cups spinach 1 bunch
  • ½ cup feta
  • 3 stalks chives
  • 2 tbsp mint
  • 2 tbsp dill
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • ¼ white onion
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • ¼-½ cup pumpkin depending on preference
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. Mix both types of flour together and add the salt. 

  2. Boil the water on the stove. Slowly pour the water into flour until you have a ball of dough that is wet and holds itself together but is not sticky. 

  3. Allow the dough to cool, then add the oil and knead the dough until soft. Cover and leave to rest for about half an hour.

Filling and Assembly

  1. In a medium pan, sauté the chopped onion and the chives together. 

  2. Once translucent, add the spinach and the lemon juice and sauté until wilted. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the filling ingredients except for the pumpkin. Stir to combine.

  3. Separate dough into quarters. Flour a surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle, flouring as necessary. 

  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drizzle the skillet with oil and lay the circle of dough on the skillet. 

  5. Spread pumpkin puree on one half of the dough and then layer 2 tbsp of filling on the dough. Fold the dough in half and press the edges together. 

  6. Cook until the dough becomes crispy and browned, then flip and cook the other side. Repeat until ingredients are gone. 

  7. Serve with plain yogurt as a dipping sauce on the side.

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 

Pomidor-Yumurta: Azerbaijani Eggs with Tomatoes

Pomidor-Yumurta

Pomidor-Yumurta is the Azerbaijani version of Shakshuka. Tomatoes are chopped and sauteed in a large frying pan, and then combine with lightly scrambled eggs. A simple, quick, and delicious breakfast recipe perfect for adventurous and picky eaters alike!

A Creature of Habit

I must admit that, too often, I am a creature of habit with food. I’ve always been that way. When I was little, I had a go-to dish at every restaurant (and it was ALWAYS some kind of pasta… seafood pasta if possible). I never changed it up; I never experimented with anything different.

Unless I make a genuine effort to switch up my meals (ahem, this blog), I still tend to eat the same thing almost every day. Take breakfast for example. On Sunday, I roast vegetables in the oven: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, zucchini, squash, and butternut squash. Every morning, I fry two eggs over-easy. I microwave the vegetables in a bowl, and then I cut up ¼ of an avocado and mix it into the vegetables. I top the vegetables with my eggs and sprinkle the whole bowl with Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Then I crack the yolks open, mix everything together, and chow. Oh, and then I eat sliced mango on the side.

It’s easy to get caught in a breakfast routine, especially when it’s 6 am and you barely want to open your eyes, let alone start experimenting in the kitchen. I’m not a creature of habit because I like eating the same things every day; I’m a creature of habit because it’s easy when I have more important things to worry about. I like this blog because it helps me to change up my dinner routine. It’s hard to get bored when each dinner is from a new country! But we don’t make a lot of breakfast recipes here on The Foreign Fork, so, until now, breakfast has stayed the same.

My First Breakfast Recipe

Pomidor-Yumurta from afar

But today, I’m excited because I’m sharing my very first breakfast recipe with you all! Okay… It’s still eggs. But it’s eggs cooked a different way, and boy oh boy were they delicious.

Pomidor-Yumurta vs Shakshuka

Pomidor-Yumurta is an Azerbaijani take on Shakshuka. Shakshuka and Pomidor-Yumurta are both tomato-based dishes with eggs cooked directly in the tomatoes in the pan. In the Middle East and North Africa, the Shakshuka includes tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs, and the eggs are cooked whole. Pomidor-Yumurta is a bit different because tomatoes are the only vegetable in the dish. Additionally, the eggs are lightly scrambled before being poured into the pan.

This meal was a perfect change up to my routine, and the best part was that it still fit into my Whole30 meal plan! It is SUPER simple, and can almost certainly be made with ingredients that you already have in your house.

Pomidor-Yumurta cooking

Choosing the Right Tomatoes for Your Pomidor-Yumurta

When choosing your tomatoes, make sure to choose ripe and juicy tomatoes. Firm tomatoes will not work well for this recipe. If you do buy firm tomatoes, roll them around lightly on the cutting board, pushing with a bit of pressure from your palm. Do not squish the tomatoes, but push lightly enough to release some of the juices inside. You may also have to cook the tomatoes for slightly longer in order to get the right texture.

Be careful to only lightly stir the eggs before adding them to the pan. Do not completely scramble the eggs; mix them just enough to combine!

Did you like this breakfast recipe from Azerbaijan? Be sure to check out the other Azerbaijani dishes made this week! As always, if you try this dish, leave a comment to let me know what you think! If you make the recipe, share a photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @theforeignfork or hashtag #theforeignfork. Happy cooking!


Pomidor-Yumurta
5 from 1 vote
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Pomidor-Yumurta (Azerbaijani Tomatoes and Eggs)

Pomidor-Yumurta is the Azerbaijani version of Shakshuka. Tomatoes are chopped and sauteed in a large frying pan, and then combine with lightly scrambled eggs. A simple, quick, and delicious breakfast recipe perfect for adventurous and picky eaters alike! 

Course Breakfast
Cuisine azerbaijan
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large, juicy tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes. 

  2. Heat ghee in a medium sized sauce pan and sautee the garlic until fragrant. 

  3. Pour the tomatoes into the pan and heat uncovered for about 10 minutes until the juices are released, stirring occasionally. 

  4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs together. Drizzle the eggs over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Cook the eggs until they’re cooked to desired doneness (perhaps about 8 minutes). Cover in the last 2-3 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe copyright by The Foreign Fork. For personal or educational use only. 

Dolma (Azerbaijan): A New Champion

Dolma with yogurt sauce

Dolma is an Azerbaijani dish made by stuffing grape leaves with lamb meat, rice, onion, and herbs like mint, dill, and cilantro! They are perfect served alone or with a delicious and authentic garlic yogurt dipping sauce. These dolma are almost guaranteed to be a family favorite!

I never thought that this day would come.

The second dish of Azerbaijan has arrived and… dare I say it?

This recipe might be the brand new winner of the title “Best Recipe Yet.”

Yeah, you heard me right. This dolma is, I’m pretty sure, the best recipe to have EVER been featured on The Foreign Fork.

Some Background

Mama Foreign Fork has an obsession with grape leaves. When my mom was growing up, her favorite neighbor was an older woman from Lebanon. On the weekends, the neighbor used to cook for my mom and share her favorite delicious Lebanese dishes, the best of which, my mother claims, were the grape leaves.

As I grew up, Mama Foreign Fork tried to encourage her reluctant and stubborn daughter (ahem, myself) to like grape leaves, but to no avail. As a child, I always thought they looked and tasted disgusting. I hadn’t tried grape leaves in a few years, so when I saw dolma on a list of Azerbaijani recipes, I knew I wanted to make them for my mother. But I was also fairly confident that I wasn’t going to like the recipe much myself. In fact, I put off making the dolma for quite a while because I didn’t want to spend so much time making a dish that I was going to “hate.”

But, as usually happens when I’m unsure about making a recipe for The Foreign Fork, I was proved wrong. Again.

Dolma horizontal

UMMM TRY THESE NOW

These dolma are Superb. Spectacular. Magnificent. Life-Changing. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Someone give me a better adjective!

My cousins came to visit from Georgia, so I made these grape leaves as an appetizer for them to try. My recipe made 71 dolma… by the time 6 adults finished feasting, a mere 5 dolma remained. Now THAT, my dudes, is a recipe that I consider a success.

Dolma Variations

For those of you that are wondering how I ate these dolma while on the Whole30, I want to make it clear that I made these (and straight up devoured them) before my Whole30 actually began. HOWEVER. I have some good suggestions for ways to make these guys actually Whole30 compliant! Instead of rice, you can combine the meat and onions with artichokes, pine nuts, or matchstick carrots. Each will create a different but still delicious flavor for your dolma.

Want to see check out the recipe that reigned supreme as Best Recipe Yet for 11 whole countries?? Click here to see my Kabuli Pulao Recipe from Afghanistan!  Want to try these dolma out for yourself? Make sure to share a photo of your creations on Facebook or Instagram and tag @theforeignfork or hashtag #theforeignfork!

Dolma with yogurt sauce
5 from 1 vote
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Dolma (Azerbaijan)

Dolma is an Azerbaijani dish made by stuffing grape leaves with lamb meat, rice, onion, and herbs like mint, dill, and cilantro! They are perfect served alone or with a delicious and authentic garlic yogurt dipping sauce. These dolma are almost guaranteed to be a family favorite!

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion grated
  • ½ cup medium-grain white rice (such as basmati)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Assembly

  • About 75 medium sized grape leaves jarred or canned
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • Plain Yogurt or Garlicky yogurt sauce to serve

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the stuffing ingredients. Mix with your hand until well combined.

  2. If using canned leaves, put batches of them in a colander, rinse well under cold water to remove the salt, and drain. If the canned leaves feel too thick, blanch them in boiling water for about a minute, then drain. Otherwise, do not blanch. Cut off the stems.
  3. Arrange some of the damaged leaves flat on the bottom of the saucepan. If you don’t have damaged leaves, line the bottom of the saucepan with unused whole leaves to cover.

  4. Hold a leaf shiny side down on the palm of your hand. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling at the stem end of the leaf. Fold the top down, then the sides over the filling and roll up tightly to shape it into a 1-inch round bundle.

  5.  Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, on the bottom of the pan. Continue until all the leaves and filling are used, arranging the stuffed bundles snugly together in the pan, making several layers.

  6. Dot the top with butter and pour in water to cover the dolma halfway. Place a small lid or a small ovenproof plate on top of the stuffed leaves to keep them tight and to prevent them from opening. Cover and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the leaves are tender, the filling is cooked, and there is little liquid left (if the liquid is completely absorbed at some point during cooking, add more water and continue to simmer).
  8. Serve immediately with bread and plain yogurt or garlicky yogurt sauce to spoon onto the dolma to taste.
  9. Garlicky Yogurt Sauce: To make garlicky yogurt sauce, in a bowl, combine 1 cup or more plain yogurt with 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press.

Recipe Notes

Recipe from AZ Cookbook 

Mangal Salad: Roasted Vegetables from Azerbaijan

Roasted Mangal Salad

Mangal salad is a side dish from Azerbaijan made from broiled vegetables, including peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and red onions. Serve this dish alongside some crusty, toasted bread for a spectacular appetizer, or bake with eggs for a delicious breakfast.

Mangal Salad

Hello hello and welcome to January! 2019! Woah, baby.

As 2019 starts, so does Azerbaijan! And we’re kickin’ this year off with a GREAT Azerbaijani side dish, called Mangal Salad. I am SUPER excited for this recipe because 1. It’s Amazing and 2. It’s Whole30 Compliant!

A January Whole30 and Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions

Quick interjection: Whole30 is 30 days of cutting out everything that messes with digestion (ie: grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, and processed sugar). After 30 days without these food groups, you slowly add them back in and see what foods work well with your body.

Yep, I admit it. I jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon for the first month of 2019. Funnily enough, I’m not really a huge “New Year’s Resolution” person. I believe that you can improve yourself or achieve your goals at any time of the year. You don’t need to wait for a new year to begin to do so. But also, a fresh, clean start is never a bad thing… And I wanted to curb those out of control sugar cravings I’ve been having. So here we are: No processed sugar for 30 days.

(As I type this, I have a chocolate pineapple upside down cake baking in the oven for a Post-New-Year-Family-Christmas-Party I’m going to today. Which I CANNOT EAT WHEN IT COMES OUT OF THE OVEN. Name a bigger form of torture. Oh wait. YOU CAN’T.)

This Mangal Salad is G-O-O-D

Anyways. If I’m going to be sad about not eating cake, this mangal salad softens the blow just a bit. It’s super simple to make, and absolutely scrumptious. Once it was done, I spread it on some toasted French bread and ooooh baby I was in heaven. I also baked some eggs into the mangal salad for breakfast, which was deeeeelish.

Leave the vegetables whole, and broil them in the oven until the skin is blackened and the flesh of the vegetables is sweet. Peel the skin off of the vegetables, chop them, and mix them together. Traditional mangal salad does not include mushrooms or almonds, but these additions definitely brought this side dish over the edge. Try it out!

If you like these veggies also try out this Fergese (tomatoes, peppers, and feta cheese) from Albania! If you make this recipe, post a photo of it and tag @theforeignfork or hashtag #theforeignfork!


Mangal Salad

Mangal salad is a side dish from Azerbaijan made from broiled vegetables, including peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and red onions. Serve this dish alongside some crusty, toasted bread for a spectacular appetizer, or bake with eggs for a delicious breakfast. 

Course Appetizer
Cuisine azerbaijan
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes whole
  • 2 eggplants halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper whole
  • 1/2 red onion sliced into rings
  • 8 oz container of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp garlic chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Lawry’s seasoned salt (optional, not Whole30 compliant)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes, pepper, red onion slices, and eggplant halves on a pan. Broil in the oven on high until the skin on the peppers and the eggplant starts to blacken and the flesh is sweet. Turn the vegetables over and continue cooking until the other side begins to blacken as well (the tomatoes should not blacken, but they should begin to shrivel a bit). 

  2. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow them to rest until they are cool enough to be handled. 

  3. In the meantime, coat the bottom of a medium pan with olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Lawry’s to taste. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft. 

  4. In a separate, small pan, heat the ghee. Add the slivered almonds and stir over medium heat until they begin to toast. Remove from heat and set aside. 

  5. Once vegetables are cool, remove the peels from the eggplant and the tomatoes. Chop all of the vegetables and mix together, along with mushrooms, the toasted almonds, and the cilantro. 

  6. Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge for about a half an hour before serving. Serve as a side with meat or alongside toasted, crusty bread. Enjoy!