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Gavari Kufta - The Pride Of Armenian Cuisine

Gavari Kufta is the pride of Armenian Cuisine. No one knows for sure how many centuries this dish has been around. A long time ago, as the legend says, the Armenians cooked the Gavari Kufta like this: the best meat of beef or, rather, steamed veal was selected and beaten for a long time on a flat large stone (Salakar) with special wooden hammers (Tokhmakh) until it turned into a viscous homogeneous mass. In the process, some water and salt were added. The meat whipped in this way was shaped into balls and then boiled.

Everyone, without exception, likes this amazing dish, because it has a very unusual and unique taste, and an unusual form of serving these wonderful balls. It is sometimes difficult for the foreigners to remember the name of this delicacy, however, once they have tasted the very tender and tasty Gavari Kufta, they can no longer forget it!

The city of Qyavar or, as it is now called Gavar, after which this dish was named, is located on the Gavaraget River, 8 km from its confluence with Lake Sevan, just 90 km northeast of Yerevan in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia.

Description of the preparation of the classic Gavari Kufta:

The pulp of beef (or better from veal) is thoroughly cleaned of all veins and films, then it is cut into small pieces, passed through a meat grinder, and then it is well grounded in a food processor to a gruel state. During the grinding process, milk or water is poured into the minced meat.

In a large bowl with minced meat, we add water, salt, raw egg, finely chopped onion, milk, flour, a brandy (or wine, depending on taste), butter, ground black pepper and ground red chilies - now all this must be thoroughly kneaded with hands for 20 minutes. Then let the mass rest for 10 minutes.

Then the whole mass is divided into 4 parts, and after wetting the hands with water, we roll dense balls the size of an orange out of it. In order for the products to turn out neat and not fall apart during cooking, they are thrown over in their hands for several minutes. It depends on the whipping whether the Gavari Kufta will be successful at the end.

Then the water is poured into a spacious saucepan, and put on fire, some red wine is poured in (if desired) and some salt added. When the water in the saucepan boils, we carefully lower the raw meat balls into it and cook for about 25 minutes at a low boil.

After the time has elapsed, the balls are removed from the water with a slotted spoon, cut into disks or slices, and laid out on a wide dish. The juicy and tender Gavari Kufta is served hot, by putting a small piece of butter on each slice, or pouring melted butter over it. Now you can enjoy your meal!

To learn more about Armenia's food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page

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