There is still no clear national affiliation with the dish - every nation living in the Caucasus asserts that it is to her that same recipe for lamb khashlama, and who is right is hard to say. However, is this important? Regardless of who is the ancestor of this nourishing, fragrant hot dish, it is passed on from generation to generation in its unchanged form and continues to find its admirers everywhere.
How to cook Khashlama from lamb in Armenian?
Khashlama is a ritual dish of the Caucasian peoples cuisine served at a wedding meal. It belongs to the category of first courses, is a thick soup with a minimum of liquid or meat stewed with vegetables.
The classic meat component is considered to be a young lamb, but a calf may well come to replace it. It is important to take the meat along with the bone: this will provide the broth richness and strength, as well as affect the taste of vegetables. In addition, in the very name of the dish you can see a hint to the technology of its preparation: the Armenian word "hashel" is translated as "cooked meat". Consequently, in the process of lamb is not cut, and the Khashlama itself is served in a common cauldron, or before cooking the meat is divided into very large parts, the number of which is equal to the number of members of the meal.
- If you look at the Armenian-language Hashlama recipe for ingredients, you can safely assert that this is lamb soup with the addition of carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. Potatoes - a relatively new component, is added at the discretion of the cook. The special taste is created by spices, without which the cuisine of the peoples of the Caucasus, as well as wine, cannot do. An important nuance that distinguishes the Armenian hot dish from the Slavic soup is the sharpness of the meat and the richness of the broth.
Khashlama is called the simplest dish of Caucasian cuisine, so any hostess can cope with it. But at the same time, there are certain national nuances and tricks, without which it will not be possible to recreate that characteristic shade and taste. What to consider?
- Dishes. Khashlama, like other Armenian dishes, is cooked in pottery: it’s best if it is a cauldron. Simple enameled pans do not allow to save heat and reduce all the ingredients from the inside. If there are no large clay containers, you can take cast iron.
- Open fire Of course, in a city apartment this requirement cannot be fulfilled, therefore the oven is connected to the process. In the end, first, the meat will be cooked on the stove, and then the khashlama is transferred to the oven, where it is brought to full readiness. Of course, it takes a little more time than full cooking on the stove, but the result is worth it.
- Duration of cooking. The main focus is on the fact that the meat is stewed for 2.5-3 hours, and in some cases this period is extended to 7 hours. Otherwise, the lamb is not cooked, but only scalded, which makes it impossible to feel the right taste of khashlama.
- Large amount of meat. Its approximate ratio to vegetables is 3: 1, but it can be 5: 1 and even 7: 1, depending on the preferences of the cook and those for whom the table is set. Equal proportion with vegetables is not allowed.
Traditional lamb khashlama: recipe with photos
It is noteworthy that khashlama is considered a dietary dish: even if you refuse wine, you must first stew vegetables and meat in pure water, but oil is not added in any way.
- Mutton on the bone - 1.3 kg
- Carrots - 1 pc.
- Potatoes - 2 pcs.
- Large tomato - 2 pcs.
- Onion - 1 pc.
- Bulgarian pepper - 2 pcs.
- Armenian wine - 300 ml
- Water - 300 ml
- Cilantro - to taste
- Any greens
- Garlic - 2-3 cloves
- Salt - Pinch
- Black ground pepper - 1 tsp.
- Bay leaf - 1-2 pcs.
- Rinse the lamb, dry it and, if necessary, break it into several large pieces. In this case, the bone is not separated, but remains with the meat.
- Peel and chop the bulb, but not finely, but with thick rings. In the same way it is necessary to cut the pepper and tomato, as well as potatoes. Carrots are peeled and cut into circles, garlic is minced.
- Now prepare the cauldron: rinse and dry the outside, lay it on the bottom with onion rings, distribute pieces of meat over the onion cushion. Sprinkle salt and pepper, cilantro, garlic on top, lay the potatoes, throw the bay leaf.
- The next layer is tomatoes. They are carrots and peppers. Each layer is created so that it covers the previous one, so the ingredients remain after the initial display. They must be placed again in the same order after the pepper, repeating the sequence until the food runs out.
- New stage - you should pour all the ingredients with wine, then add water. This is done so that the liquid flows in the inner edge of the cauldron, and is not distributed from the middle. So it will reach meat better, i.e. bottom layer.
- Cover the cauldron with a lid, transfer to the stove. The power of the burner must be set to maximum, then wait for the liquid to boil and reduce the heat to medium. For 2 hours, the khashlama should languish on the stove, and then it should be moved to an oven heated to 160 degrees, where it is left to cook for another 1.5-2 hours. For 15-20 minutes. Before the end of this process, finely chopped greens should be poured into the cauldron.
Remember that in the process of cooking (or rather, extinguishing) it is forbidden to lift the lid of the cauldron, and it is required to rearrange the container in the oven so that it does not cool: i.e. at the end of the 2nd hour, without turning off the burner, you need to put the oven on to warm up, and only after it reaches the desired temperature does the cauldron go there.
- Modern chefs often replace Armenian wine with light beer: the taste of the dish changes while there is a distinct sourness that makes the Khashlama no longer traditional. However, this innovation takes place. But whatever liquid is used here, it is important to remember that there should be only 200 ml per 1 kg of meat. The main "gravy" will be given by vegetables and lamb itself.
Serve Khashlama must be hot, spilling the sauce, which was developed in the process of quenching, on separate bowls. The dish can be in a common cauldron, and can be distributed in portions of deep bowls with the obligatory addition of green onions. Instead of bread, it is recommended to use yeast-free pita bread.