Zadigi Kahke from Aline Kamakian and Barbara Drieskens' cookbook, Armenian Cuisine.

Recipe Corner: Armenian Cuisine’s Zadigi Kahke (Easter Cookies)

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BEIRUT — In April 2012, co-authors Aline Kamakian and Barbara Drieskens wrapped up a month-long, AGBU-coordinated tour across the U.S. and Canada to promote their widely acclaimed publication Armenian Cuisine. Equal parts cookbook, photo essay, and oral history, the released hardcover quickly found, and is still finding, its place on kitchen counters and coffee tables in homes around the world.

Barbara Drieskens and Aline Kamakian demonstrate a recipe from their
acclaimed cookbook, Armenian Cuisine

The book’s concept was developed by Aline, who is the Lebanese-Armenian chef and owner of the renowned Beirut restaurant, Mayrig. She hoped to resolve her clients’ questions about why the Armenian foods listed on the menu were known by Turkish names, and record her mother Vardui’s cherished family recipes along the way. Aline’s quest took her to the ancestral Armenian land of Cilicia in present day southeastern Turkey. Knowing her talents lay more in cooking than writing, she forged a collaboration with Drieskens, a trained anthropologist. The two embarked on an emotional three-week journey across almost 2,000 miles. The result is a striking volume filled with 139 classic recipes and hundreds of photographs of landscapes and natural foods that have made it a 2012 New York Photo Festival contender.

“Cook with Aline” is Aline’s popular YouTube channel. “It tells my story, my struggle and my love and pride for the Armenian heritage. With over 300 episodes filmed and edited, these episodes are an extremely powerful tool to reach out to food enthusiasts and introduce them to our wide culinary heritage. We teach how to prepare the best Armenian dishes. It’s a step-by-step guide through our history, through our mothers’ cooking and our holiday feasts. For me, this is more than a cooking show, it’s my heart, mind and soul, put all in one place, spreading the Armenian culinary heritage around the world map.”

For Aline’s cooking videos and information, go to: https://www.youtube.com/c/AlineKamakian/featured or https://www.youtube.com/c/AlineKamakian/videos or https://www.alinekamakian.com/

“Armenian Cuisine by the founders and chefs at the Mayrig restaurant in Beirut have brought to market a stunning cookery book which would be a wonderful coffee table book in itself, but for the fact it will get quickly stained by food through overuse. The chapters are typically divided by ingredient but more interestingly, throughout the book are interviews regarding the cuisine in different region of historic Armenia and their specialties such as Urfa, Musa Ler and Cilicia, bringing together in one book dishes that remind me of my Lebanese-Armenian grandmother but also my Cypriot-Armenian grandmother and their cooking traditions. Like the best of these women, all the measurements are in cups and you can easily end up cooking for 20 people with one recipe–the only way for us,” wrote Arda Eghiayan, from the Armenian Institute in London.

Aline Kamakian with her beloved mother Vardui

Robyn Kalajian at The Armenian Kitchen food blog (https://thearmeniankitchen.com/) says, “When Armenians prepare for Easter or this time of year, chorag is always on the menu. This is also a time for baking delicious Easter cookies like Zadigi Kahke.” Robyn contacted Barbara Drieskens since she had a question about the amount of flour listed in the recipe. “Barbara told me there was an error in the printed recipe — the cookbook said to use 2 and 2/3 cups flour, when in fact, it should be 6 cups of flour.”

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Here’s Robyn’s updated version of the Zadigi Kahke recipe from Armenian Cuisine:

Equipment: Stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand mixer.

Ingredients:

6 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)

2 cups farina (sifted)

1 cup unsalted butter (melted)

1/2 cup sunflower oil (safflower oil may be substituted)

1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (melted)

11/2 cups sugar

1 cup milk (a bit warm)

1 teaspoon mahlab (freshly ground)

11/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon yeast

1 egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

11/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 pinch salt

Glaze and garnish:

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds

1 tablespoon black cumin seeds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup of the farina, and the rest of the cookie ingredients. Little by little, add the remaining flour and farina. Knead by hand until a workable dough is achieved.

Roll the dough into balls and place them in a large bowl. Cover with parchment paper and a soft, clean towel. Let the dough rest for two hours.

Roll the balls of dough into fine sausage shapes that can be formed into twists, twisted rings, or braids. Place each shaped piece on parchment-lined baking pans. Brush the tops with egg glaze, made by whisking equal amounts of egg and milk. Garnish with sesame seeds or black cumin seeds. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 50 cookies, depending on size.

For this recipe, go to: https://thearmeniankitchen.com/its-zadigi-kahke-easter-cookie-time/

To order Armenian Cuisine, go to https://www.alinekamakian.com/cookbooks

Aline Kamakian and her team cooking for those affected by the horrific explosion in Beirut in 2020

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

Aline Kamakian is a 2022 Aurora Humanitarian Initiative honoree, whose full biography can be read on the group’s website. She says she believes that the easiest way to interest a foreigner in your nation is to offer a delicious meal. “This method is nothing new. My restaurants are an attempt to show people that Armenians not only survived the Armenian Genocide, but retained the ability to enjoy life.”

The names of the 2022 Aurora Humanitarians will be revealed on April 24, 2022, and the 2022 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity will be awarded on behalf of the survivors of Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors later in 2022.

The story is verified by the 100 LIVES Research Team.

For information, go tohttps://auroraprize.com/en/aline-kamakian

“Putting Armenian cuisine on the culinary map was my father’s dream and my
realization,” says Aline.

Connect at:

http://www.mayrigbeirut.com/arm

https://www.facebook.com/alinekamakian/

https://www.instagram.com/alinekamakian/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/mayriglebanon/?hl=en

https://www.batchig.com/?fbclid=IwAR3kv7SiaVGx1G-tKjdj3m5rOLrZ77q_eu988qhOf2Gelr92-WgST8N-nns

https://www.tasteatlas.com/mayrig

https://www.peterfisk.com/gamechanger/mayrig/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCflv8I730O1B12glDTw_rFg

For more news articles about Aline Kamakian, go to: https://www.hospitalitynewsmag.com/?s=kamakian

For the 2012 Interview at AGBU Headquarters with the co-authors of Armenian Cuisine, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIixPFRw-NU

Also see: The Armenian Kitchen’s adapted version of Aline Kamakian’s Olive and Nut Salad, go to:

https://thearmeniankitchen.com/olive-and-nut-salad-tzitabedoughi-yev/

COPYRIGHT (c) 2022 ALINE KAMAKIAN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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