Khashlama - The Favorite Of Armenian Food Lovers
The word Khashlama comes from the Armenian word “khashel”, which means to boil. So, basically, Khashlama consists of meat and vegetables boiled together in a rich, delicious broth, and seasoned with herbs.
In Armenia, Khashlama is a celebratory dish, usually prepared for special occasions, and it's a favorite of Armenian food lovers, who enjoy natural, plain flavors. It’s often cooked by the men of the family, who get together to chop the vegetables and marinate the meat. They also take their time to socialize and catch up on the latest family updates making the process of preparing this dish a part of the main event.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, Khashlama was prepared by people living high in the mountains. These regions didn’t have a wide variety of foods, but they always had plenty of lamb. During those times, Khashlama was a summer dish because this was when the fresh lamb and juicy vegetables were available. It was prepared over a fire in traditional cylindrical Armenian underground clay oven called tonir.
There are quite a few variations of Khashlama, and every family has their own secret recipe. Originally, Khashlama was made with lamb, vegetables, and herbs. After potatoes arrived in Armenia, the Khashlama recipe was adapted to include potatoes into the dish. Khashlama with potatoes quickly became the most popular variation of the dish.
The basic recipe includes lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. In summer, Khashlama often includes summer vegetables, such as red and yellow bell peppers, eggplants, and fresh herbs.
While Khashlama is traditionally made with lamb, it can also be cooked with beef. Interestingly, many Armenian chefs emphasize that the Khashlama should never be cooked with pork or chicken. Wine or beer is also often added to Khashlama because they help to enhance the flavor of the broth and tenderize the meat.
Three hours of simmering on low heat - and the result will exceed all expectations! Khashlama can be served as the first or a second course, or in different variations.
To learn more about Armenia's food & drink, please visit our ARMENIAN CUISINE page