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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Armenian Cuisine 1977, Soviet Life -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

w. Eggplant and Salad, Echmiadzin Bozbash and Tolma Wrapped in Grape Leaves

From "Still Life With Garlic", painting 1962 Akop Tigranovich Akopyan (1923-2013), Honoured Artist of the Armenian SSR

From the August, 1977 issue of Soviet Life Magazine three classic Armenian recipes. Two have eggplant, two have lamb, one has both, all sound absolutely delicious.


Armenians use lots of fresh greens and herbs In almost everything they cook. Their salads are marvelous: watercress, green onions or leeks, basil, tarragon, parsley and dill, garnished with tomatoes, cucumbers and green Peppers. Eggplant and tomato salads are popular too.


1 small eggplant

4 tablespoons salad oil

2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced

salt, freshly ground black pepper crushed garlic to taste

fresh chopped parsley

Wash and dry the eggplant, plate in a hot skillet and fry on all sides. Cool, peel, slice and place in salad bowl. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, and oil. Toss and sprinkle parsley on top.


Lamb soups whose recipes date back to antiquity are relished In Armenia. Try Echmiadzin Bozbash for a change.


1 pound of lamb chunks for stewing

1 medium eggplant

1/3 cup chopped white onions

2 cups of boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

1/4 cup French-cut green beans

1/3 cup diced green pepper

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

salt and pepper

Place the Iamb in a saucepan with cold water, cover and cook until almost done over low heat, periodically skimming the broth. Remove the lamb from the broth and sauté in butter. Strain the broth and pour It while still hot over the chunks of lamb. Add the onions, potatoes, eggplant, green beans, green pepper and cook until vegetables are soft. Fifteen minutes before serving, salt the soup and add tomatoes.


There are numerous variations of tolma, but none that can vie with tolma wrapped in grape leaves. Every Armenian family knows how to cook it.

1 pound ground lean lamb

1 large clove of garlic, crushed

1 pound pickled grape leaves

1/4 cup unconverted while rice

1/3 cup finely chopped white onion

salt, freshly ground black pepper, finely cut fresh mint and basil to taste

chicken broth or water

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the rice, lower the heat and cook uncovered for 8 minutes, then drain. Combine the rice. lamb, onions, garlic and seasonings and loss lightly.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan and drop in the vine leaves for two or three minutes (do not boil). Drain, pat the leaves dry and remove the stems. Heap 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each loaf and wrap, leaving enough room for the rice to expand as it cooks.

Arrange the rolls, seam side down in a shallow casserole In one layer. Add a little broth or water. Cover the casserole tightly and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes.


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