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Dagestan cuisine – features and national dishes

A gentle sea, bright sun, smiling people … and everywhere smells of aromatic pastries and amazing spices, without which it is difficult to imagine Caucasian dishes. Dagestan !!! How much of this word…

If you want to get to know Dagestan cuisine better, you need to come to this hospitable region.  Dagestanis is a collective name for the inhabitants of one republic. But Avers, Kumis, Lezgins, Dargin’s, Lakes, Rutul’s and other ethnic groups live here. In international communication, Russian is used here.

Each region of Dagestan has its own culinary preferences. People prepare dishes with local specialties, secrets, and everyone puts in something of their own. It is impossible to say for sure which dish is considered the best, as each of them tastes great and looks attractive.

Dagestanis treat guests who share a meal with them with special respect, therefore they are very scrupulous in gastronomic matters.

Features of Dagestan cuisine

In Dagestan, they eat a lot of meat, mainly lamb, less often beef and poultry. The meat is cooked carefully to make it as soft as possible. If a shish kebab is being prepared, pieces of meat are alternated on skewers with vegetables – tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers. Pork is prohibited for religious reasons.

It would be strange if the Dagestanis living on the shores of the Caspian Sea rich in diverse ichthyofauna did not have fish dishes in their traditional cuisine. This republic of the North Caucasus supplies valuable and even rare fish species to neighboring regions. Dagestanis are not particularly wise with the preparation of fish, considering simple processing to be quite sufficient to preserve the taste of the most delicate fillet. Deliciously fried Caspian salmon or trout, what could be better ?! And the king-herring – the hall !? Many people started salivating at the mention of these delicacies.  But with beer, men prefer to feast on the delicious dried Dagestan kudu, but they will not refuse dried bream either, although it must be properly dried, that is, it must be moderately fatty, without extraneous tastes. If you are offered in the market in a whisper to buy something from a black plastic bag, know that there is the Caspian sturgeon – an endemic of this reservoir, not found anywhere else, prohibited from catching.

In Dagestan there is a huge selection of pastries, but the most interesting thing is that in each village, national bread is baked in its own way. Lezgin bread is generally a fairy tale, it can be stored for several days and not lose its amazing taste at all. Just an incredible amount of various pies and pies with the most intricate filling. The dough is prepared in different ways – dough, yeast, puff, simple, soda. Sesame, sunflower and mountain poppy seeds are often added to products.

The culinary delights of Dagestan chefs and ordinary housewives can surprise you with the combination of sweet and salty ingredients in the dish.  For example, dried apricots or raisins give the meat sauce an unusual, piquant taste that you will savor for a long time in your memory.

Dagestan cuisine is not complete without a whole range of various spices, spices and aromatic herbs. Sage, thyme, spinach, nettle are common ingredients in pie fillings. Turmeric, cumin, nut herb that gives an amazing taste, several dozen types of pepper, sanely hops, bay leaves … you can list for a very long time. Pepper a dish in Dagestan without fear of “overdoing it”, they like pepper. It is immediately evident that the people are not faint of heart. Pepper is added to the first, second courses, appetizers, salads.

In Dagestan, representatives of various ethnic groups like to argue over who has the trickier recipe for the same dish. This debate can be endless. One will praise the fatty halva from the east, and the other will praise the same halva from the mountainous regions, which contains an increased content of some ingredient.

But there are dishes common to all Dagestanis, which are national pride. Highlanders talk about these dishes outside their republic, rolling their eyes with anticipation or feeling nostalgia for their favorite aroma from childhood, teasing the taste buds. What are these masterpieces? What do Dagestanis eat and what do you need to try in this mountainous region in order to get an idea of ​​the culinary preferences of the harsh highlanders?


Kinkel. This dish is similar to Russian, Finnish, Chinese, Uyghur, and in general, dumplings prepared in many places (each nation has its own name), just the opposite. Many people may confuse the Dagestan Kinkel and the Georgian kinkily. Let’s try to figure it out.

There is no filling in the Dagestan Kinkel. Figurines made of unleavened dough without filling are boiled in fatty lamb broth and served with pieces of well-boiled meat. Spicy garlic sauce with spices and herbs on sour cream or sour milk is served separately.

Kinkel for each Dagestan nationality is different in appearance. Lezgi and Kumis are the thinnest rhombuses made from a special dough. The Lakes have small shells floating right in the broth, which is washed down with meat. Avar-style Kinkel is slightly airy, because it is made from dough mixed with kefir with slaked soda.

Recently, Dagestan women have democratically decorated the table with Kinkel platter. They take a large, flat, beautiful plate, put several types of boiled meat in the middle, and cooked figurines from tender dough around the edges. In Dagestan, they say that if a girl does not know how to cook Kinkel perfectly, then her husband will get a mediocre one.

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