Have you ever had a chance to visit a traditional Armenian fest? If yes, you probably know that Armenians love having various kinds of sweets alongside with delicious dishes on the dining table and Armenian Gata has its special place among them on the table!
No matter where you live, whether your food preparation skills are very basic to highly professional, or what your finances are, everybody loves to eat something special and unique.
One of the connecting features among people is the food. Food connects everyone and recognizes no boundaries – national, generational, cultural social, physical and nutritional.
People enjoy preparing something that they love and to share it with family & friends.
Besides it people who like to travel always try to find regional recipes of one’s own nation, explore flavors of another country. They also want to learn the importance of the art & science of food preparation.
Importance of Traditional Foods
As other nations Armenian recipes are also varied because of its regions and dialects. Here in Armenia, no two recipes are alike. These are traditional foods that were consumed throughout history. If you examine recipes you will see that these foods are free from additives and chemicals. Armenian food includes many things that are exceptionally nourishing. As we know traditional food varies by culture, thus many cultures included some variation of the following:
- Vegetables, fruits, and nuts
- Fermented foods like kefir, kimchee
- Healthy proteins like free range meats, fish or eggs
- Organ meats
- Root vegetables
- Dairy products
What are the Benefits of Traditional Foods?
Up to present time, traditional food remains an important source of many notorious ingredients. Researched proves that those you buy and eat both traditional and market foods are healthier and have better diets than the ones who buy and eat only market food.
Here are the benefits of traditional foods;
- Foods include fewer calories – so you can control your weight
- It contains less saturated fat which is better for the heart
- It contains more iron which is better for muscles and blood
- For wound healing and fighting infection, you can try traditional food too as it includes more zinc
- As you may know, it contains Vitamin A. Thus you can have better vision and fight against disease
- It is good for strong bones and teeth as it contains calcium
- And it strengthens the feeling of ethnicity
Top 10 Armenian foods you should try
It is impossible to imagine a full meal without any dessert. Armenians can offer you diverse kinds of sweats, in this case, for example, Baklava, Alani, Choereg, delicious Gata and much more. Gata is sweet bread made of flour, khoriz, and nut. You can find Gata with khoriz in every supermarket of Armenia.
Due to its sweet and exotic taste Gata has become a must-have item in any Armenian home. After the main course, you should certainly try this yummy dessert that melts in your mouth. As it was mentioned above people fill it with khoriz, flour, butter, and sugar. One can also add in it other fillings, too, i.e. walnuts.
People impregnate each layer of Gata with melted butter and sugar. There are different types of Gata: rounded and decorated you can try in Garni and Geghard, and another type is triangular. People This made it without khoriz.
This type is denser and sweeter. Originally people living in Lake Sevan baked it. If you want to make Gata for yourself then you can follow the instructions below.
Gata is an Armenian pastry or sweet bread. It is similar to a coffee cake. In Western Armenian, it is called Katah. The types of Gata vary depending on the specific towns or regions where Gata is being made.
It is one of the most beloved Armenian desserts for this nation. Thus Armenians that live in Armenia and outside of it cook it to celebrate a holiday or just have a nice dessert with tea or coffee. It is a well-liked dessert as it doesn’t contain any creamy substance.
Armenian Gata can be found in different shapes, sizes and may be decorated with various tools, forks or left plain. Long ago, people baked gata in a tonir, but now they bake it in the ovens. Armenians usually bake it for the feast of Candlemas – ”Tiarn’ndaraj”, but it is favorite food year around.
One of the favorite types is Gata with koritz (khoriz). So it consists of sugar, flour, and butter. Fillings can also include nuts and walnuts. There is a special tradition in Armenia. Armenian women place a coin inside the dough before the Gata is baked and the person who receives the piece with the coin is to be blessed and have a good fortune.
Gata from the villages of Garni and Geghard are very famous among tourists. Foreigners visit Geghard in order to eat Gata baked in Geghard. Here Gata has a round shape and generally is about a foot in diameter. In the town of Tsovinar which is situated at the southern edge of Lake Sevan, this pastry is denser and sweeter. It is made without koritz, decoration and has a triangular shape.
When to cook Gata?
As mentioned above, Gata is a special food for this nation no matter what part of the world they live. They bake it for every occasion. You can eat puff pastry during the New Year celebration. And people you like softer things bake sweet bread gata for their New Your Celebration.
There are two types of Gata that are popular more than the others. The recipes are presented below.
This type of Gata is very convenient for a large group of people because it comes out in single portions for everyone. So, check here what you need to know to make this type of gata bread.
Armenian Gata Recipe #2 Puff Pastry Gata Bread
Ingredients for Puff Pastry Gata Bread
- 1 pack of puff pastry
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
First Preheat your oven to 180 C (375 F). Then you should add and mix together butter, flour, and sugar in a bowl. The consistency is good if the mixture sticks together after you palm it. Thus you need to open the puff pastry along with your baking sheet.
In the second stage, you should spoon the butter mixture onto the pastry sheet and spread it equally. Fold the pastry twice and according to your taste cut it into medium sized pieces. You also need to place the pieces on a baking sheet, aligned with parchment paper.
In the third stage, you must do any decorations that you like. You can dot the already folded and sliced dough with a fork. Thus you will give it a nice design. Or do not hesitate to use any other tool for that. Then beat an egg and brush the pieces of Gata with it. Wait about 25-30 minutes, until they become flavorful, nice and golden.
Armenian Gata Recipe #2: Sweet Bread Gata
In western Armenia, people call this sweet bread Armenian gata Nazook. This type of Gata is again very delicious and as it was mentioned above, it is loved one among the foreigners. This type gives more space for decorations and design. Actually, Garni and Geghard people decorate this pastry with various pictures and writings. If you want to try exactly this kind of delicious Gata, then follow the instructions below.
- First, 1 cup of milk
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs separated
- Then you should add 3 tablespoons of honey or sugar
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- And finally, add 3 or 4 cups of all-purpose flour
For the filling you should have:
- 1/3 cups of sugar
- Then you need 1/3 cups of flour
- 1/2 or 2 cups of unsalted butter at
- And not forget to add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
First, preheat the oven to 180 C (375 F) and then line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Then you should combine and mix all the ingredients for the dough in a bowl. Thus you need to knead it into soft, non-sticky dough and place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic or kitchen towel. After this let the dough rest until it doubles in size.
Second, combine all the ingredients for the filling while the dough is resting. Then you should check the consistency of the filling. For that, you need to palm the filling. If it sticks together and does not crumble easily then you get the right stuff. If you don’t then you can add more butter to reach the right consistency. After the dough has risen, separate it into four pieces.
Third, you must take each piece with your hands to make a 15-17 cm (6-7 inches) circle. Do not forget to spoon the filling onto the circle of dough. Then you need to collect and close the edges of the dough and press them together with your fingertips to form a sack shape. Tap the dough with the filling to form a nice circle
Fourth you can design the Gata anyhow you want. Use your imagination to create interesting designs. Then cover the dough with beaten egg yolk. Cook it in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until it is flavorful, nice and golden. Then all you need is let the gata cool for a little bit and then cut and serve.
So if you want to taste gata then bake yourself or visit Gata Festival in October and have a good time!