History

All You Need To Know About The History Of Famous ‘Lavas’

Lavash (Lavas in kashmiri language) is a thin flat bread usually leavened, traditionally baked in a tandoor and common to the cuisines of South Caucasus, Western Asia, and the areas surrounding the Caspian Sea.

Lavash is one of the most widespread types of bread in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.

Origin of Lavash.


How the concept of making Lavas sneaked into Kashmir traces back to the period of Shah-i-Hamadan and no other substantial research can be found about it’s origin in Kashmir.

“Mohammad Din Fauq in his Taarikh-i Aqwaam-i Kashmir/History of the Caste/Tribes in Kashmir, says that many Sufis who accompanied Shah-i Hamadan (ra) to kashmir for religious preaching, adopted the profession of bread-makers/Naan-Bais, Kaandar in kashmir, hence we still find this caste/Sofi with the bread-makers of kashmir. Thus, it is most probable that the “Lavaas” was introduced by those Iranian Sufis/Sofis in kashmir who had actually reached here to propagate Islam and adopted this profession for their earnings.” says Asad Irfan, a research scholar in Islamic studies.

Some historians relate it to the Armenian Lavash because of the same method of preparation and obviously the name which is pronounced as ‘Lavas‘ in kashmiri language and ‘Lavash‘ in Armenia.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language lavash is “a thin unleavened flatbread of Armenian origin”.

In 2014, Lavash was described by the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as “an expression of Armenian culture”. This decision led to protests in Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan over claims that the food was “regional”, not “Armenian”.

The origin of lavash is often attributed to Armenia, but some scholars say lavash probably originated in Iran. Food historian Gil Marks identifies the origin more generally as the Middle East.

Usage.

In Armenian villages, dried lavash is stacked high in layers to be used later, and when the time comes to rehydrate the bread, it is sprinkled with water to make it softer again. The dried bread is broken up into khash, while fresh lavash is used to wrap the Armenian specialty dish khorovats and to make other wraps with herbs and cheese.

As it is considered to be a symbol of fertility and prosperity, lavash has great significance in the Armenian wedding ceremonies, and is also used in traditional medicine since it is believed to have healing properties.

In Iran, Turkey and some Middle Eastern countries lavash is used with kebabs to make dürüm wraps like tantuni. In its dry form, leftover lavash is used in Iran to make quick meals after being rehydrated with water, butter, or cheese.

In Turkish cuisine lavaş can be used also for sweet dishes and served alongside some traditional Turkish dessert dishes like kaysefe, hasude, pestil kavurması (braised fruit leather), ağuz and helva.

In Kashmir this thin unleavened bread can be served crisp with the traditional ‘Noon chai’ or used as a wrap with meat or chickpea fillings to create one of the most iconic streetfoods in Kashmir – the Masala Tchott. Served hot with a tangy and spicy mujj chetin (raddish chutney), this is one of the staple favourites for locals and visitors alike.

Traditions and customs.

In Sabirabad District of Azerbaijan after a wedding when the bride comes into her new house, her mother-in-law puts lavash on her shoulder and says: “Let you come to the house of wealth, let your foot be lucky” In the Novkhani settlement, after a funeral, it is customary for people to prepare kyulchya, which sometimes consists of halva wrapped up in lavash.

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