Khash is a traditional dish in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Formerly a
nutritious winter food for the rural poor, it is now considered a delicacy, and
is enjoyed as a festive winter meal, usually by a company of men.
Khash remains a purist meal with great parsimony in
ingredients. The main ingredient in khash is cow's feet, although other cow
parts, such as the head and stomach (tripe) may also be used. The feet are depilated, cleaned, kept in cold water in order to get
rid of bad smell, and boiled in water all night long, until the water has become
a thick broth and the meat has separated from the bones. No salt or spices are
added during the boiling process. The dish is served hot. One may add salt,
garlic, lemon juice, or vinegar according to one's tastes. Dried
lavash is often
crumbled into the broth to add substance.
Khash is generally served with a
variety of other foods, such as hot green and yellow peppers, pickles, radishes,
cheese, and fresh greens such as cress. The meal is almost always accompanied by
vodka (preferably mulberry vodka) and mineral water.
In Georgia it is often consumed in the mornings after a party
as it is known to battle hangovers. Armenian families, when preparing khash
themselves at home, generally invite some guests. There is much
ritual involved in khash parties. Many participants abstain from eating the
previous evening, and insist upon using only their hands to consume the unusual
(and often unwieldy) meal. Because of the potency and strong smell of the meal,
and because it is eaten early in the mornings and so often enjoyed in
conjunction with alcohol, khash is usually served on the weekend or on holidays.
Khash is widely lauded for its supposed healing qualities.
Its ingredients include various joints of the cow's legs and feet, rich in
cartilage and other connective tissues. It is widely believed that regular
consumption of khash helps heal joint injuries and can even help alleviate or
slow down the progress of arthritis.