Gatukh; an Azari dish

In spring this year I went to Tabriz in Azerbaijan in Iran to visit my family and find out about culinary mountain herbs.  As it happened, Fariba was also in Iran at the same time!

Fariba and I arranged to meet when I visited Tehran.  We recognised each other straight away and sat on a bench in the courtyard of Bazaar Golestan and chatted away in our own little bubble.  Though we’d just met, we were like two old friends catching up.  My mother and cousin Mahvash came to pick me up and as we parted Fariba gave us a box of her delicious homemade cookies which we enjoyed with chai later that evening.

On our return to our respective homes in the west we kept in touch. Fariba has kindly asked me to take part in her blog and share a recipe with you.  I thought as it is bean season, I’d share a traditional Azeri dish called lobia gatukh: beans with yoghurt.Gatukh is the word for yoghurt in some cities in Azerbaijan like Khoy, Miayaneh, Ardabil and Urumia.  

This dish can be made with any fresh green bean and the recipe serves 4 as a starter or 2 people for a main course eaten with lavash or any other middle eastern bread. 

Gatukh dish can be made with any fresh green bean and the recipe serves 4 as a starter or 2 people for a main course eaten with lavash or any other middle eastern bread.


  • 400g fresh green beans – topped, tailed and chopped into 1 inch pieces. I used young borlotti beans as I’m growing them on my plot.
  • 1 large onion or equivalent – diced
  • 3 – 6 cloves of garlic – ½ chopped & ½ crushed alter garlic to your taste.
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice similar to garam masala or if you have advieh makhloot*
  • 200g of 4% natural yoghurt must be at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Teaspoon of saffron tea (pound a pinch of saffron, add a teaspoon of boiled water and leave to brew for a few minutes).


  1. Dice and fry the onion in oil of your choice. When they are translucent, add a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper, mix and leave to caramelise on a medium to low heat, stirring regularly.
  2. After 20 minutes they should start to caramelise. Now push the onion to one side of the pan, and fry the puree in the oil. When it has cooked a little add half the garlic and stir the onions and puree all together. Add a splash of water and add the beans to the pot with the saffron tea. It will seem quite strongly scented and seasoned, it needs to be. When the yoghurt is added, it will round out the flavours.
  3. Put a tight fitting lid on so the beans can cook in their own steam on a low heat. Be careful it doesn’t catch. if it does, add a little more water and stir. Now crush the remaining garlic or a part of it into the yoghurt.
  4. After 20 minutes (depends on how you like your beans cooked and the type of bean), take it off the heat, leave it to cool a little and stir in the garlicky yogurt. If your yogurt is at room temperature and the dish isn’t too hot the yogurt shouldn’t split. Don’t worry if it splits, it is still delicious eaten in little pockets / loghmeh of lavash or any similar flat bread.

Noushe jan.