Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Much Ado About Nar

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I am fond of singing the praises of pomegranate, more commonly known around here by the superior name, nar.  Because Azerbaijan peddles in the most delicious nar I’ve ever had, a delicacy of ruby-red succulence, I should probably give you a few ideas of the range of tastes nar can cater to.  This also comes at the request of a prized reader (thanks for the suggestion, Pat!)  The first thing to note, for the uninitiated, is that you can just crunch away at the seeds-don’t be silly and try to spit out endless nar seeds.  Enjoy the sweet-tart crunch!

First, the way I like my nar best is just freshly opened, the juicy seeds a mountain in a bowl to be eaten by the handful.  It makes for a great after-dinner snack.  Another favorite practiced by the masculine men of this region is fresh-squeezed nar juice.  And not just fresh-squeezed, but hand-squeezed.  I remember my host father in Sumqayıt grabbing a nice nar, slicing one end of it, and proceeding to squeeze the juice out of it with one hand into a glass positioned below (to be consumed as is, or with a shot of vodka, if you so choose.  That shot could have the nar juice added or consumed as a chaser).  Those two methods are the most common, but there are certainly more ways to enjoy the nar fruit:

  • Recently, I’ve been mixing nar seeds with plain yogurt in the morning for breakfast.  It makes for a light, crunchy, sweet, tart addition to the morning.  I may start to make granola and add that to the mix, as well.
  • Last week, we were making pizza and found ourselves with a bowl full of nar seeds.  Instead of eating them by the handful, we spread them lightly throughout a pizza (also featuring eggplant, garlic slices, and basil) and the result was a hit.  Consensus said that the addition of the nar seeds, then baked in with the rest of the toppings, was a practice worth continuing.
  • Also last week, we made a salad of greens and walnuts, topped with a lemon salad dressing, like the recipe here brought to you by my good friend Martha Stewart.  We threw in a few handfuls of pomegranate to give it a little extra crunch and small bursts of sweet and tart flavor.
  • Lastly, for those of you looking for a tasty drink mixer, you’ll find Pomegranate martinis equal parts delicious and dangerous!  You may have to adjust your measurements, but i tried this last week and it was fantastic.  Think Cosmopolitan.  If you have a juicer, this will be real easy.  If not, it might take a little extra effort, but it’s totally worth it.  Mix together vodka, triple sec (like Cointreau; we used Grand Marnier), and nar juice (this is where the juicer comes in-just put the seeds into the juicer and go to town).  Serve over ice from a cocktail shaker.  Perfect.  The recipe here also uses a little lemon juice.
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Written by Aaron

October 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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