Armenia is a mountainous land abundant with hundreds of kinds of herbs and greens that grow everywhere starting from mountain cliffs to valleys.
If you happened to be in Artsakh – one of the most beautiful parts of Armenian land, you probably tasted zhingyalov hats (flatbread stuffed with zhingyal-type of herb) which is made with a mixture of all the sweet and fascinating herbs and greens of Artsakh. Some of them you may find only there, as they are typical of the climate and geographical conditions of the land.
To make zhingyalov hats, you need to roll out the dough until it becomes paper-thin and stuff with diced and oiled wild and cultivated herbs. Then you fry them for 10 minutes in a pan and your delicious hats is ready. This is very popular especially during the Great Fast and among vegetarians.
You may feel all the hospitality and warmth of the Armenian cuisine and Armenians in general while tasting zhingyalov hats.
Now let us briefly talk about three of the most essential herbs that are widely used in Armenian cuisine and introduce their qualities:
Basil – Basil is one of the most frequently used greens that is also a great source for vitamins. It is usually used fresh in meals added at the last moment, as when cooked its flavor is mostly destroyed. Among the health benefits of basil are supporting brain and bone health and managing stress and metabolism.
Parsley – One of the world’s most popular herb is also widely used in Armenian cuisine. Parsley is a great source of vitamin A, C and K, it serves as a natural antibiotic, keeps heart healthy and improves immune system.
Coriander (cilantro) – Coriander is another herb used in Armenian cuisine as a flavorsome addition to many meals and soups. It has anti-cancer effects, helps to improve skin health and is full of many vitamins important for the organism.