“And now we're going to bake potatoes in dung,” Razmik told me with a smile on his face. "Where-where to bake potatoes?" I asked in bewilderment. But I heard everything correctly the first time: we will bake in dung. If suddenly someone does not know, dung is dried manure mixed with straw.
Before my trip to Armenia, I could not even imagine that potatoes could be baked in dung. In the coals left after the fire – this is understandable, but in dried manure, why? He will probably smell…
Smoking little by little
“Why do you need such a strange fuel when you can just make a fire?”– you ask. After all, Armenia is still not the Sahara, trees grow there and quite well. In extreme cases, it would be possible to break the bush: it needs more, but there is definitely more than enough of this goodness in Armenia. Why burn dung?
The point here is that dung serves in Armenia not only as the only, but definitely the main type of fuel in the countryside. There are a lot of sheep, they go to the toilet regularly, so people get fuel absolutely free. In terms of heat transfer, dung is inferior to good firewood, and much more ash remains from it than after burning firewood, but because of its easy accessibility, many people use it.
Putting potatoes in dung
Firewood is also burned, but it is mainly used to heat the house during the coldest winter months. Kizyak is heated in autumn and spring, when it is not so cold, plus they often cook food on it – they bake the same potatoes.
The procedure is very simple and most similar to the usual roasting of potatoes in a fire. After the dung flares up and warms up well, a hole is made inside it, where the potatoes are laid: just like with hot coals left after a fire.
Cover the potatoes so that they bake well
Then leave the potatoes for half an hour or even more depending on the size of the potatoes themselves, so that they bake better. Well, then welcome to the table: the meal is served!
The most unpleasant thing in the cooking process is the acrid smoke from the dung, which strives to cling to you. It does not smell of what the dung is made of, but still the smoke is very dense and caustic: the eyes immediately begin to water. However, it does not affect the taste of the final product. The potatoes are very appetizing.
The taste of potatoes cooked in dung is indistinguishable from those baked in a campfire. She has no foreign taste or smell – just an ordinary baked potato, as in childhood. If you don’t know how it was prepared, then it’s generally fine. But even if you know and see the whole cooking process, it doesn’t discourage your appetite: it doesn’t smell like what dung is made of when it burns.
Would you like to try such a potato? Or would you not?