Narsharab is an Azerbaijani pomegranate sauce. It is made from evaporated pomegranate juice and spices. Basic set for narsharab: coriander, basil, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, ground pepper. The sauce is usually served with meat / poultry, seasoned vegetable salads or prepare multi-component sauces based on it.
What you need to know about sweet and sour sauce, how to cook it and is it useful to introduce it into your daily diet?
Narsharab or narsharabi is a thick sauce based on pomegranate juice. The original name comes from the Azerbaijani "narsharab", which translates as "wine". The prefix "nar" is translated as "pomegranate", which indicates the main component of the product. Pomegranate juice is in harmony with all varieties of fish and meat, less often it is served with vegetables or sweet desserts. Narsharabi adds to the dish not only a fresh aroma, but also light sour notes.
Interesting: in Azerbaijan, narsharab is recognized as a national culinary brand, and not just a spicy sauce. Local add viscous pomegranate liquid to almost all dishes, which makes them recognizable and colorful.
The consistency of the sauce is thick and dense. The viscous liquid is colored in a rich ruby color due to pigments from pomegranate. Narsharab complements not only the taste, but also the aesthetic component of the dish - a ruby hue will dilute even the most boring vegetable plate or unsightly meat cut. To prepare the sauce using wild varieties of pomegranate. They contain the maximum concentration of pigments, vitamins, minerals and acid.
Before cooking, the fruits are peeled, partitions and white films. Grains are passed through a special machine or rubbed by hand to squeeze a sweet and sour liquid. Pomegranate grains themselves do not participate in the cooking process - they are disposed of after extracting the juice.
At the next production stage, tubs with pomegranate juice are exposed to the sun. Under the influence of ultraviolet rays, thickening occurs - the liquid becomes more dense and viscous. Then it is evaporated exactly until 20% of the initial volume of juice remains. Spices are added to the evaporated liquid mass, cooled and served to the table.
In Azerbaijani cuisine, narsharab is used not only as a sauce. Ice cubes are added to the chilled liquid to make a smoothie or agar-agar to make fruit jelly. The scope of use of the food component is limited only by the imagination of the cook, so do not be afraid to experiment.
Important: from 1 kilogram of pomegranate seeds you can get 250-300 milliliters of sauce.
The minimum volume and high cost of pomegranates affect the price of the finished product. Given the margin of the manufacturer, store and transportation services, you will have to pay several times more for an industrial narsharab. To save money - make the sauce in your own kitchen. You will need a large pot, a few pomegranates, a basic set of spices and a little patience.
Useful properties of Azerbaijani sauce
The main component of narsharabi is garnet, which has undergone heat treatment. In all vegetables and fruits that are colored intense red, there are two pigments: lycopene and anthocyanin. They are responsible not only for the beautiful ruby shade of products, but also for the state of human health.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. It prevents the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol and normalizes its concentration in the blood. The substance slows the development of atherosclerosis, harmonizes the work of the heart and blood vessels, and prevents diseases of this organ system. Also, lycopene protects our body from cancer.
Heat treatment does not kill lycopene, on the contrary - it increases its concentration several times. Evaporation of pomegranate juice is beneficial not only for the taste of the sauce, but also for its beneficial properties. Another benefit of the antioxidant is free radical blocking. They make our skin age prematurely and reduce the protective functions of the body. Lycopene creates a specific barrier and additionally nourishes the skin to withstand aggressive environments.
The second important antioxidant is anthocyanin. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and strengthens the human immune system. The substance affects the metabolic processes and contributes to the rapid and highest quality splitting of the fat layer. Anthocyanin prevents the development of not only obesity, but also diabetes. Moreover, the antioxidant increases visual acuity and additionally moisturizes the retina.
Important: we are talking about concentrated pomegranate juice without additional impurities, a large amount of white refined sugar and preservatives.
The maximum benefit can be brought only by the narsharab that you have prepared yourself or under your control. Always read the composition of the sauce - and if you are standing in a store, and if you came to dinner at an institution. If the positions of the composition confuse you - take another product, ask the cook to replace the component or type in the necessary ingredients and go prepare pomegranate sauce in your own kitchen.
Possible harm and contraindications
Refuse the use of sauce is necessary when:
- peptic ulcer disease;
- gastritis, regardless of form and stage;
- increased acidity of gastric juice;
- impaired bowel function, anal fissures and hemorrhoids;
- diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in the active stage;
- pregnancy, so as not to affect the state of health of the mother and not disrupt the development of the fetus.
Nutritional restrictions during pregnancy and lactation are prescribed in person, based on examinations and tests. To find out the exact information in your individual case - consult your doctor.
If you have no health problems - do not rush to buy a few liters of narsharab and add it to each meal. Viscous pomegranate liquid contains many acids, the abuse of which leads to devastating consequences. The abundance of acids irritates the mucous membranes of organs and can temporarily disrupt the performance of the digestive tract. Each organism is individual, so focus on your own feelings and know the measure.
Another reason to limit the use of narsharab is the effect on tooth enamel. Concentrated pomegranate juice literally corrodes the protective wall of the teeth, making them vulnerable to infections and pathogenic microflora. Destroyed enamel makes itself felt with discomfort in the oral cavity and increased sensitivity.
A juicy green apple or a simple smile can be a real challenge. The dense peel will seem to you a massive stone, which rubs not just on the teeth, but on the bare nerve. While smiling at the teeth, the wind can blow a trite, which, with special sensitivity, provokes pain. Most often, the symptoms disappear after 1-2 days, and the enamel is completely restored, but if the symptoms interfere with the usual pace of life - contact your dentist.
How to make sauce
Method number 1
Peel the pomegranate seeds and pour them into a deep pan. Put the container on the fire and, armed with a spoon or a pusher, kill the heated grains. Do not forget that the acid, which is part of the pomegranate, can react with the metal. It is best to use a wooden arsenal so as not to affect the taste, quality and composition of the juice. Stir the mass periodically so that it does not stick to the walls of the pan. As soon as the juice level covers the whitened bones - remove the container from the heat. Strain the mass to separate the juice from the grains. Filter the concentrated juice again on a slow fire. Boil the liquid until fully thickened, stirring constantly. Once the sauce has thickened - add spices, pour the contents into jars and send to the refrigerator.
Important: the consistency of the finished cooled narsharab will be similar to low-fat sour cream.
Method number 2
Take ready concentrated pomegranate juice and a set of necessary spices. Pour acidic liquid into the pan. The juice should be evaporated in a water bath or on a very low fire for 40-60 minutes. During this hour, the contents of the pan will thicken and decrease by an average of ⅔. Add spices to thickened pomegranate mixture, mix thoroughly, pour into jars and refrigerate before serving.
Important: both methods are considered acceptable. The main thing is to choose high-quality pomegranates or single-component pomegranate juice without additional impurities and sugar.