They are an obligatory feature on special occasions, such as weddings. Azerbaijanis love to make kebabs at picnics and at their summer houses and, as is the case the world over, it is the men who take charge of the barbecue. The traditional name for kebabs, shishlik, after the metal skewer or shish on which a kebab is cooked, entered the Russian language as shashlik, which is now the name for any kind of barbecued meat or fish in Russia. Any of the varieties of sturgeon found in the Caspian make delicious kebabs.
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 20 min
500 g/1 lb 1 oz sturgeon
25 g/1 oz sour cream
1 onion and 1 bunch of spring onions
vegetable oil and narsharab (pomegranate sauce)
pinch of sumac
salt & pepper
Wash and pat dry the sturgeon. Cut into 40-50 g pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brush with sour cream.
Thread the sturgeon pieces onto long thin metal skewers. Cook the kebabs over hot coals for 7 to 10 minutes, turning the skewers as the fish cooks.
As soon as they are cooked, serve the sturgeon pieces garnished with rings of raw onion, chopped spring onions and fresh tomatoes.
Serve sumac or narsharab separately. Sumac, an alkaline red powder from barberry bark, has a zesty flavour, while narsharab is a tangy sauce made from pomegranates.
Barbecued tomatoes, aubergines and peppers also make an excellent accompaniment to sturgeon kebabs.