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Cook this: Panrkhash — lavash and cheese bake — from Lavash, the cookbook

Cook this: Panrkhash — lavash and cheese bake — from Lavash, the cookbook
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This layered cheesy bake is far more than the sum of its humble parts. John Lee fell for it on his first trip to Armenia, but when he shared the extraordinary taste memory with his co-authors, they were decidedly skeptical.

“John had told us about this dish that he found in the north that had cheese and lavash and water, and I was like, ‘That sounds completely terrible.’ It wasn’t until we got to the north in Gyumri that we had (chef Armenuhi Marukyan at the restaurant Old Armenia) make it for us,” says Zada. “It’s just bits of lavash layered with cheese, and it’s an extremely simple dish, but when you add the water and it cooks, it basically turns into Armenian mac and cheese. It was incredible.”

Lee adds: “When I think about this dish, I think about who created this idea and in what circumstances. What do you have in your kitchen? You have a bunch of leftover lavash, you might have some salty string cheese, you might have a little bit of butter and you have some onions that you can caramelize, and then you put some hot water in it. It’s pretty inventive. I think about these dishes from the perspective of poverty or from the perspective of not having a whole lot. And what they can create from not a whole lot is pretty amazing.”

Lavash: The bread that launched 1,000 meals, plus salads, stews, and other recipes from Armenia by Kate Leahy, John Lee and Ara Zada. Chronicle Books
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