Putuk: Soup with Mutton and Chickpeas

Putuk is a traditional Armenian soup deeply rooted in the culinary traditions of this region. The main ingredients include lamb meat, chickpeas, potatoes, onions, dried alycha (a type of plum called myrobalan plum) and saffron. The result is a hearty and nutritious soup. It vaguely reminded me of the Armenian version of the Czech “goulash soup”.

Putuk soup
Putuk soup

The preparation of putuk involves cooking lamb meat with pre-soaked chickpeas in clay pots, which are called “piti” in Turkic languages. During the cooking of the meat and chickpeas, other ingredients such as potatoes, onions, alycha and saffron infusion are added. Slow cooking, which often lasts several hours, allows the flavors to meld and create a delicious soup.

Using clay pots to cook this soup is a tradition several centuries old, and it is believed that the pots give the food a unique taste. The inclusion of ingredients like alycha and saffron reflects the influence of trade routes and neighboring cultures on Armenian cuisine.

Putuk is traditionally served directly in the clay pot in which it was cooked. The soup is often accompanied by Armenian leavened bread matnakash, which can be dipped into the broth. In some regions, the soup is consumed in two steps: first, the broth is served with bread and then the meat and side dish.

Like many other traditional dishes, putuk has its variations. For example, in the neighboring Azerbaijani region of Sheki, boiled chestnuts are used instead of potatoes. But there can be more differences.

I tasted putuk in the Tavern Yerevan Khorenatsi restaurant in Yerevan. Unfortunately, they don’t serve it in piti here, but on a classic porcelain plate. One portion cost 1,700 AMD, which is approximately 4 EUR.

Bon appétit!

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