A man grills kebabs at a kebab stand in Abu Kemal, Syria. | Location: Abu Kemal, Syria. (Photo by Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images)
Khorovats Are The Delicious Armenian Version Of Shish Kebabs You Need To Try
By Haldan Kirsch
According to The Smithsonian Magazine, Armenian culture stands out for their passion for their version of shish kebab called khorovats. iArmenia claims that at every celebration, khorovats will undoubtedly be served, songs about khorovats will be sung, and khorovat-bearing waiters will dance as they feed the hungry crowd.
Phoenix Tour claims that pork is the preferred meat to use when making khorovats, but lamb, beef, or vegetarian alternatives are just as easily accepted. iArmenia says that the more important elements are the skewers, or shampoors, and their relationship to the mangal, a large rectangular grill without a grate used to cook khorovats.
The skewers are laid directly over the fire, dripping hot fats onto the low-burning embers of an apricot tree or grape tree charcoals perched about five inches below. The skewers are packed closely together to trap in the heat as it rises, and this technique in combination with the flavorful marinades make the dish unique when compared to other skewered foods.
“Armenian Food – Fact, Fiction, and Folklore” author Irina Petrosian jokingly writes that khorovats is an Armenian word for ‘life lived to the fullest’ and the ‘celebration of good weather.’ Along with being a delicious feature of every holiday and celebration, khorovats are a sign of prosperity among Armenians because, during the Soviet Union occupation of Armenia from the 1920s to the 1990s, meat became a rare commodity.