From my initial visit to Baku in 2015 it took a few more years, and several more work visits reminding me how great the Azeri cuisine is, before I began experimenting to see if I could reproduce these much loved recipes. I include a couple of tried and tested recipes that put herbs as the star of the dish.

One of my immediate favourite dishes from Baku was Qutab (or Kutab): a savoury herb filled crepe cooked on a metal dome. I initially had this for breakfast in my Baku hotel, it is also eaten as a snack or light lunch. Another star recipe is Kuku a herb filled Azeri-style frittata.

Herb Qutab (vegetarian)

Flatbread dough
Makes 10 medium qutabs
500g plain flour (plus extra for kneading and dusting)
200ml cold water
20g unsalted butter (melted)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
Pinch of salt

For serving (optional)
Melted unsalted butter for brushing
Ground sumac for sprinkling

Herb and cheese filling
You can lose the cheese and just up the amount of herbs here, whisking a little egg yolk into the herb filling, this will make a much thinner layer of filling. You can vary the combination of herbs, or use sorrel instead of some of the herbs, or spinach or even watercress.

400g feta cheese (crumbled)
100g spring onions (finely chopped)
6 tablespoons of 4 different herbs or microgreens; basil, tarragon, coriander, chervil, dill for example but these can be substituted by whatever you have to hand.

To make the dough

  • Mix the measured water, egg and salt together in a bow, then gradually add the flour, combining it with your hand.
  • Tip the dough out on to a well-floured work surface and start kneading it. The dough should be firm but not too dry and should stop sticking to your hands after kneading in some extra flour.
  • Divide the dough into 10 ball-shaped pieces and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, covered with a damp tea towel or clingfilm.
  • Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface as thinly as you can into a 20 cm round.
  • Mix all the filling ingredients together apart from the butter and sumac required for serving.
  • Spread 50g of the filling on the bottom half of each round, then fold the top half over the filling and pinch the edges together to create a half-moon shape (similar to a pasty or empanada).
  • Heat a large frying plan until hot – don’t add any fat as we are dry-frying here. Add 1 or 2 qutabs and cook over a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until the flatbread is golden and speckled with dark blisters.
  • Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sumac and serve to your delighted guests.

Recipe adapted from KAUKASIS – The Cookbook by Olia Hercules

KUKU (vegetarian)

4 bunches of herbs, microgreens, watercress or spinach
1 spring onion
5 eggs (beaten)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter or olive oil
½ teaspoon of salt
Ground black pepper

For serving (optional)
½ cup yoghurt
1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed) or small bunch of chopped wild garlic
To make the Kuku
• In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat well. Add salt and pepper.
• In an 8-inch (20 cm) non-stick pan, melt the butter or oil over medium heat. Pour the mixture and cook on medium-low heat for about 8 minutes.
• Using a knife, gently cut the kuku into 4 wedges. Carefully turn each piece to brown the other side. If necessary, add a little butter or oil in the pan.
• Mix the yogurt and garlic and serve kuku accompanied by the sauce.
Recipe adapted from

This recipe comes from Georgia. Once made it can be stored and refrigerated for up to a month. The herbs can be changed to whatever you have to hand. The result is a wet green paste that you can stir through plain cooked pulses, yoghurt or as a marinade for roasted root vegetables.

2 bunches of preferred herbs, microgreens, watercress or spinach
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves , roughly chopped, or bunch of chopped wild garlic
10 green chillies (leave in seeds for a hotter version)
20g sea salt flakes

Blitz all ingredients together in a blender to produce a wet green paste. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Recipe adapted from KAUKASIS – The Cookbook by Olia Hercules