Azerbaijani Kukusa with Swiss Chard and Herbs

Azerbaijani Kukusa with Swiss Chard and Herbs

From King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet onions, sliced very thin
About 1/2 cup chopped chives
3 scallions, diced
About 8 ounces (225 grams) fresh Swiss chard or spinach, trimmed of stems and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 bunch dill, snipped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 to 10 large eggs
A handful or arugula or other bitter greens or herbs
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts, coarsely ground


1. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick pan set over medium heat. Add the onions, chives, and scallions and sauté until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. When the onion mixture is golden, add the Swiss chard or spinach, garlic, cilantro, dill, salt and pepper to taste, and turmeric and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat, until any liquid released from the spinach and herbs is evaporated.

3. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl, then carefully incorporate the eggs into the vegetables and herbs in the frying pan, using a rubber spoon to smooth the surface. Cook covered, over low heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the eggs are set. The color should be deep green, almost black. Uncover and bring to the table in the frying pan with a handful of arugula on top and sprinkle with the walnuts. You can also serve this cut up at room temperature as an appetizer or snack.

NOTE: In Azerbaijan, the many variations of this dish includes vegetables ranging from asparagus to eggplant to squash. In the summer, try experimenting with the bounty of fresh herbs that are available near you. I have made his dish with kale, bok choy, lovage, fennel fronds, and arugula and served it sprinkled with feta as well as the nuts. Just keep the ratios about the same, and you’re sure to have a delicious dish.

Yield: 8-10 servings