I am so happy to be sharing this recipe with you. It has been years that I've wanted to write a post on this scrumptious Armenian dish known as "eetch". How was it that I became familiar with eetch? Well we don't have anyone of Armenian origin in our family, and I've personally never been to Armenia before- the reality is that it all comes down to my childhood memories- and even my mother's childhood memories! So you can imagine how much "history" this dish has for me, and how each bite is rich with emotion.
The reality is that eetch was introduced to us through my grandmother's (maternal side) neighbours. Two lovely sisters, Vergeen & Alice, who have been my grandma's neighbours since...forever! These ladies were always over at my grandma's place and my grandma was always over at theirs. They would sip over coffee and spill neighbourhood gossip, but most of all, they would share recipes and kitchen secrets. And so I guess many many years ago before I was born -and probably before my mom was even born- eetch was introduced to my grandmother and ever since it has become a family favourite.
We now make it regularly at home, enjoying it on it's own or as a side dish (fab with grilled meats or fish), and eaten hot or cold. I feel lucky to have personally known Vergeen & Alice, because it means a whole lot more knowing the people who introduce you to a dish that has become a true classic in our family. Each bite brings back a flood of memories and whenever we enjoy some eetch, it is just inevitable, the two lovely Armenian sisters become a part of our table conversations.
I hope you try making this at home and enjoy it's magical taste.
Recipe for Eetch (makes about 4 servings)
One big onion, chopped
100ml olive oil
200ml tomato sauce
1 tbsp pomegrenate molasses (optional, but if you have some definately use it!)
1 lemon, juice of
Fresh mint and parsley, chopped (it works with only parsley too)
In a deep pot, fry the chopped onion with the olive oil until golden. Add the tomato sauce, and once it boils, turn off heat and remove pot from heat. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the parsley and mint), stir, cover pot and leave to rest for one hour (away from heat!). After one hour, knead as you would with bread dough for 3-5 minutes (don't worry, at this point the eetch is not hot anymore so your hands wont get burnt!). Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle over with chopped mint and parsley.