Legendary Dishes | Xocalı As Qarası (Khojali lamb rice with apricots, chestnuts, cranberries, onion, plums / prunes, raisins, turmeric)


This fruit and meat rice plov is adapted from Qarabağ Mətbəxi, the fabulous and quixotic cookbook by Tahir Əmiraslanov and Aynurə Əmiraslanova. This is the cuisine of Qarabağ, a modern and historical region of Azerbaijan. Qarabağ or Karabakh can mean black garden and big land, derived from the words ‘gara’ and ‘bagh’ in Azerbaijani. All the ingredients are indigenous and indicative of the traditional food of the region.


  • 3 litres water
  • 500 g basmati rice
  • 15 g salt
  • 5 g turmeric powder

Boil the water in a large pot, add the salt and turmeric followed by the rice, cook on a low rolling boil for ten minutes, drain. Set aside.


  • 500 g lamb / mutton shoulder, poached for three hours, cut into pieces
  • 300 g apricots, halved
  • 250 g chestnuts, cooked in salt water, chopped coarsely
  • 250 g onions, sliced
  • 150 g Albuhara plums / black plums
  • 150 g cranberries, dried soaked in 100 ml water
  • 150 ml oil
  • 150 g raisins


  • 500 g turmeric rice
  • 90 g butter, melted
  • 15 g salt
  • 5 g black pepper
  • Tumeric, pinches

Fry the onion in oil until golden. Layer fried onions in the bottom of a large pot.

Fry the lamb in oil until brown. Place a quarter of the fried lamb on top of the onions.

Fry the apricots, chestnuts, cranberries, plums and raisins in oil. Place a quarter of the fried fruit mixture on top of the lamb.

Repeat the meat and fruit layers. Season each layer with pepper, salt, a pinch of turmeric and a drizzle of oil.

Pour half of the melted butter on top.

Place the cooked rice on top of the fruit mixture layer.

Pour remaining butter on top of the rice.

Cover with foil and a tight lid. Cook over a low heat for an hour.

Plovlar on Fricot

Qubadlı Balıqlı – butter, cranberries, fish, onions, rice, salt, saffron

Shirin Plov – apricots, raisins, rice, saffron

Şuşa Çolpalı – cockerel, cranberry / pomegranate, onion, rice, saffron

Şuşa Swbzi – beef, coriander, dill, fennel, leeks, lemon, onions, parsley, rice, saffron, salt, sorrel, tarragon

Xocalı aş Qarası – apricots, chestnuts, mutton, onions, plums, prunes, raisins, turmeric

Xocavwnd Qatıqlı aş – green beans, herbs, oil, rice, salt, yoghurt

Other Plovlar

Azerbaijan Plovlar