Back with basics: Azerbaijani toyug

Hello, blog friends, and apologies for our extended absence! We’re horrified to note that the last time we updated this blog was on 24th August. The only real excuse we can offer is that we have been very busy. Doing what, exactly, it’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s a combination of work, weekends away and the calamitous occurrence of an extinguished pilot light on our boiler. But we managed to keep this blog up to date whilst planning a wedding (two, in fact), so that excuse is a bit lame. At any rate, we’re not going to become world-famous food bloggers with that sort of attitude, so… we’re back!

Admittedly, our choice of Azerbaijani recipe was in many ways a result of the aforementioned busyness rather than an attempt to recreate an unmistakeably traditional dish. It was mid-week, we had all the ingredients required and we hadn’t cooked an international dish for a while, so toyug was what we decided on. There is a version of this dish from many countries, so it’s possibly unlikely that it originated in Azerbaijan, but it was quick, easy and surprisingly tasty given how basic the ingredient list was, so it worked for us. And that said, Azerbaijani cuisine is characterised by its use of fresh herbs, which were certainly present in this dish – so maybe it was traditional after all!

The recipe was a little vague in terms of quantities, so we had to go with our instincts a bit. We served it with rice and grilled vegetables (aubergine, tomato, courgette, pepper and tenderstem broccoli), barbecued tomatoes and aubergines having been recommended in the recipe.

Toyug

Ingredients
500g chicken
1 large onion, cut into rings
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
Coriander, chopped
Parsley, chopped
Pinch of sumac

Method
1. Cut the chicken into good-sized cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a bowl with rings of raw onion (about half the onion) and the lemon juice. Cover and leave to marinate for an hour or so.
2. Thread the chicken pieces onto long thin metal skewers and cook on a griddle pan or – more traditionally – over hot coals.
3. Serve with the rest of the raw onion, herbs and sumac.
Serves 2

714a-uncooked-toyug-compressed

715a-cooking-toyug-compressed

716a-cooking-toyug-compressed

717a-cooking-veg-compressed

718a-toyug-and-veg-compressed
Irritatingly, WordPress won’t let me rotate this image the right way up… or the first one in this set. Grrr. Also, this picture was taken before the addition of the fresh herbs and sumac – oops.

Simple though this was, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The chicken was tender, juicy and flavoursome and the grilled vegetables and rice set it off perfectly. We also grilled the onion that had been marinating with the chicken. Interestingly, the recipe says that this quantity actually serves four, but we think this is somewhat stingy!

The beauty of this recipe is exactly the reason we chose it in the first place: we almost always have all of the ingredients on hand, so could easily recreate it for a healthy midweek meal – and we probably will. The same may not be true of our next recipe: porridge from Armenia, like you’ve never seen it before. We promise to try to report on that in a more timely manner than we did this one!

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