Ghapama is a unique Armenian pumpkin dish that is not only healthy and useful, but also very delicious to any taste. So, if you are already intrigued to learn its recipe, stay tuned with us.
Meet the ultimate Armenian national dish that is served during weddings, Christmas, New Year celebrations or other special occasions!
It’s called Ghapama, a stuffed Armenian pumpkin dish, baked inside an oven.
Ghapama won’t leave vegetarians indifferent too, because it’s one of the yummiest vegetarian national dishes in Armenia.
Although nowadays people mostly use electric oven, but the classic variant of making Ghapama is to bake it inside tonir (Armenian special kind of oven).
This dish is mainly cooked either in October or November, when pumpkins are already grown and tasty. Ghapama is regarded as the best family dish in Armenia. Why? Because the whole family gathers together to have some portion of this amazing meal.
By the way, all the ingredients used in this Armenian dish have some special meaning.
- To illustrate, the pumpkin is the symbol of the Earth
- Nuts and dried fruits stand for those people who have faith and rice symbolizes the people.
Already want to taste some? Then, let’s learn how to make it!
Stuffed Armenian Pumpkin Dish, Ghapama | Why is It a Must-Try Thing?
Stuffed and baked Armenian pumpkin dish or as Armenians call it Ghapama (ղափամա) is a traditional eastern Armenian food. It is especially popular during New Year and Christmas period.
Interestingly, in Armenian, the word ‘Ghapama’ means “cooked or baked in a covered pot”. This dish is so Armenian that there is even an entire song dedicated to this Armenian pumpkin dish. The song is called “Hey Jan Ghapama” (Dear Ghapama).
The song doesn’t only tell about how aromatic the dish really is, but it’s like a guide for preparation. It starts from detailing the ingredients and then shows how it’s put in the oven. Of course, then guests come to taste “the king”.
Yes, that’s how good Ghapama is. Thus, if you understand Armenian, by listening to this song you will learn literally everything about Ghapama’s recipe.
Furthermore, even KOHAR Symphony Orchestra and Choir made the rearrangement of this song in more formal, but yet a fun way.
Let’s Learn How to Make Ghapama!
So, Ghapama is praised not only as a delicious Armenian pumpkin dish, but as a real treasury of Armenian cuisine.
The pumpkin is then baked until it becomes soft and tender. It’s also important to note that the intensity of these flavors never overwhelm, but rather complement and enhance each other.
Moreover, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with dried fruits mixed with cinnamon and honey. Not to mention the fact that Ghapama is a very flexible dish.
You can change up the ingredients and the recipe to fit your tastes. But most importantly, this Armenian pumpkin dish is quite perfect for vegetarians as well.
It may sound weird but there is something magical in this Armenian pumpkin dish. Whether you’re celebrating something or just trying to add a unique twist to your table during the colder months, the ghapama is a perfect way to transport you from wherever you are to a beautiful snow-covered village with tasty foods, great atmosphere and good people.
Write Down the Ingredients of Ghapama
This quite simple but still very flavorful and tasty Ghapama is definitely worth to be added to your menu of “Holiday dishes”.
So, those who are already looking forward to cook this festive Armenian pumpkin dish here we have the needed ingredients and some tips on how to make it.
Now Let’s Cook What We Already Have
- First and foremost, wash the pumpkin, then cut off its top, but make sure to keep it as it will be used as a lid of this dish.
- Afterwards, use a spoon to clean the inside of the pumpkin from seeds.
- Pour some honey over the walls of the pumpkin to cover it thoroughly.
- Then start to prepare the rice by boiling it. Cook it for about 15 minutes and make sure that it’s not completely cooked as the rest of the baking should occur inside the pumpkin.
- Next up you should take a bowl and mix together all the ingredients of the filling and add some butter, cinnamon and the rest of honey.
- Place this filling inside the pumpkin and pour some hot water over the top of it.
- Cover the pumpkin with its lid so that it’s finally ready to be placed in the oven.
- Cook this Armenian pumpkin dish for about an hour at 180°C/ 350°F.
- In order to check if it’s ready or not, you can just stick a toothpick and if it goes smoothly it means that the dish is already done. Or you can just check the pumpkin and if it is soft and tender then it’s ready to be served.
Where to Try Armenian Ghapama? #1 | Tavern Yerevan
Teryan St., 91/1 Building
Amiryan St., 5 Building
Paronyan St., 7 Building
Movses Khorenatsi St., 29/2 Building
If you visit Armenia by any chance, here are some good restaurants where you can try Ghapama in its best traditions.
Tavern Yerevan that features purely Armenian cuisine, offers not just one, but two versions of this Armenian pumpkin dish, the more common Ghapama and Ghapama of Erzrum.
By the way, the first one cost 15.000AMD, whereas the second one is 7000AMD.
Where to Try Armenian Ghapama? #2 | Sasnatun Tavern
The atmosphere in “Sasnatun” Tavern is traditional Armenian. The wooden furniture, carpets and Armenian sceneries are the proof of these.
Here you can spend a good time in the most hospitable atmosphere, trying not only Armenian, but also oriental and Georgian cuisine.
But the most important dish that you should try in this restaurant is the most delicious Armenian pumpkin dish, Ghapama.
By the way, this is quite affordable restaurant compared to the other ones. Ghapama costs 13.000AMD (for about 25-30 people).
Where to Try Armenian Ghapama? #3 | Afrikyanneri Restaurant
No, you didn’t guess it! The name of the restaurant has nothing to do with Africa. It’s just the last name of the family that owns it and they 100% Armenians.
Afrikyanneri Pandok that represents only the best traditions of Caucasus Cuisine, offers its customers some popular and favorite meals, such as Ghapama, and a real Caucasus atmosphere.
The unique interior, traditional family photos and other decorations make an impression of old Armenian house.
Here you can taste both Eastern and Western Armenian Cuisines. The local, true Armenian pumpkin dish with dried fruits and rice is waiting for you at Afrikyanneri Pandok restaurant.
Where to Try Armenian Ghapama? #4 | Old Erivan Restaurant
Hyusisain Ave., 2 Building, Yerevan
Grigor Magistrosi St., 10 Building, Tsakhadzor
Old Erivan Pandok is the place where you can find warm and special admission, enjoyment of delicious and fresh meals and relax in harmony with each other.
Spend your leisure time in a warm and friendly atmosphere and try their traditional Ghapama.
In “Old Erivan” Ghapama is made from pumpkin, rice, honey, walnuts, dried fruit and some spices.
Ghapama costs 20.000 AMD and even though it’s a little bit pricey than the other ones. it’s definitely worth its price.
Also, they have a restaurant in the popular spa town and health resort of Armenia, Tsaghkadzor.
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