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    Plov. A dish that is rightfully considered to be the symbol of Uzbek cuisine. Plov is often served as a main dish in every important event or gathering and is prepared at least once a week in every Uzbek family. There are more than 60 variations of plov available in the country.

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Central Asian cuisine

In Central Asia, compiled together out of five different nations, and all have their various delicious meals. The meals and creation of the cuisine depend on two variables. In Central Asia, people were either nomadic or living in city-states along the magical Silk Road. As nations residing in yurts were nomadic, we will focus more on their characteristic nomadic cuisine.

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Popular dishes in Kazakhstan

Traditional Kazakh cuisine formed due to nomads' centuries-long life in the steppe's harsh climate with freezing winters and dry, hot summers. Existing conditions were often unsuitable and required creative ways of storing provision. Therefore, ancient Kazakhs created dishes that both are tasty and long-lasting.  Traditional Kazakh cuisine consists of various delicious dishes made from a limited number of products. The main ingredients regularly used in everyday life were meat, milk, white flour, grains, and cereal crops.

A significant part of the Kazakhs diet consisted of meat due to the nature of their lifestyle. The preferred type of livestock was domestic animals with high endurance for constant migration and cold climate. Therefore, most national dishes contained horse and lamb meat, with beef being relatively uncommon due to the animal's inability to access food under the snow. The quality of the food was to be easily maintained on-trip. Thus, Kazakhs created numerous technologies to make semi-finished food; the meat was often salted, smoked, dried, or dry-cured.

Several dishes are popular to this day. For instance, beshbarmak is a signature dish in every Kazakh family. Locals serve it for guests visiting their house. Beshbarmak is a lump of tender cooked meat with homemade noodles topped with spring onions, parsley, and other greenery. Beshbarmak means “five fingers” because it was commonly eaten with the hands.

Kuyrdak. Juicy stew – made of fresh meat and potatoes often sprinkled with spices. Not only is it delicious, but also, is very easy to make.

Sur-et. Dry-cured and sometimes smoked meat. In modern days, it is served as an appetizer.

Kazy. Homemade sausage from horse meat. The horse's thoroughly cleaned guts are stuffed with spiced and salted meat from under the rib and fats to create juiciness. Kazy is considered a delicacy and is quite popular in neighboring countries as well.

Sausages. Homemade horse meat sausages.

Kazakh manti. Large dumplings made of white dough wrapping stuffed with spiced lamb, onions, and vegetables.

manti

The shape, ingredients, and cooking techniques of manty are often varied in Central Asia. Manty is referred to as one of the most popular and equally delicious dishes across the area.

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Syren. Juicy ragout made of various vegetables and tender lamb meat. All ingredients are cooked together to make up a flavorful dish.

Sorpa – thick bouillon served as a drink in a pialas, a particular type of Central Asia bowl.

The Kazakh National cuisine contains a wide variety of butter-like products. Such as qatyq (a thick, sour cream) and suzbe (liquid cottage cheese with a bitter-sour taste used as a topping for dishes or beverages). Mai (salted or unsalted butter), Kurt (salted and dried cottage cheese), Kyzyl Kurt (sweetened red cheese), Irimshyk (cottage cheese or regular cheese).

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Traditional Uzbekistan dishes

Uzbek cuisine is unbelievably prevalent in Central Asia. The main secret of such success is kept in one simple fact. It combines the best traditions of nomadic and city lifestyles, presenting perfectly balanced and undeniably delicious dishes. Simultaneously, the process of assimilation of various customs and culinary techniques of other cultures opened new horizons for the expansion of regional cuisine. Even though traditional Uzbek cuisine was formed through the centuries, it became enriched by including ingredients and best tricks of Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Tatar, and European cuisines. Most importantly, all of the recipes have only fresh ingredients and natural products, making Uzbek dishes simple yet extremely tasty.

Traditional cuisine has a lot to offer to the tastes of both self-claimed gourmands or fastidious gourmets worldwide. The most popular pieces of Uzbek culinary include the following:

Plov. A dish that is rightfully considered to be the symbol of Uzbek cuisine. Plov is often served as a main dish in every important event or gathering and is prepared at least once a week in every Uzbek family. There are more than 60 variations of plov available in the country. However, several are referred to be the most popular in Uzbekistan – Tashkent plov, Samarkand plov, Khorezmi plov, and last but not least, Buhari plov. When visiting Uzbekistan, it is impossible not to try great plovs served in the local places of public catering ominously named “plov centers”. There are many ways of making plov, but the base always includes long-grain rice, juicy meat (beef or lamb), dried fruits and berries, greenery, nuts, and spices.

Cabob. Small pieces of marinated juicy lamb or beef are stringed on skewers and cooked over the open fire. They are then seasoned with kitchen vinegar, topped with shredded onions, and decorated with vegetables and greenery.

Kuza shorpa. Golden bouillon with pieces of sour-sweet tomatoes, loose potato, tender lamb loin, and fragrant spices… All of this is combined to make a Kuza shorpa. The main secret to the unforgettable taste of the bouillon is in the cooking technique. The ingredients are put into a pot and cooked in the traditional oven.

Lagman. A rightful queen of Uzbek cuisine! Lagman is widely popular not only in Uzbekistan but in entire Central Asia. Two main contents are cooked apart and combined to make up a whole Lagman. The first ingredient is a thick but soft homemade noodle. The second part is a sauce made of various combinations of vegetables and spices named “vadzha”. However, Uzbek cuisine includes a great variety of Lagman that is diversified by assembling the ingredients. The most popular ones are classic Lagman and “kovurma” (stir-fried) Lagman.

Tandyr Samsa. Uzbek samsy is a puffed pastry stuffed with cut meat, pumpkin, onions, and spices. Classic samsy is baked in a traditional oven named tandyr. This cooking technique makes the dough acquire a unique taste while the stuffing juicy and flavorful.

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Traditional Kyrgyz dishes

Kyrgyz cuisine mainly includes meat, milk, and dairy products, similarly to all other nomadic culinary. Yet, surprisingly the main list of ingredients of Kyrgyz menu also contains fish and a wide variety of fruits and berries. Unlike the nomadic lifestyle, Kyrgyz culinary provides a selection of vegetarian dishes.

Ashlam-fu. A cold dish made of tender homemade noodles topped with spicy sauce with vegetables.

Oromo. A roll made of thin dough stuffed with shredded meat, onions, carrots, pumpkin steamed in a layered pot.

Chuchpara. Small dumplings boiled in the bouillon.

Eggplant salad. A flavorful dish made of fried eggplant in batter, sweet and fresh tomatoes topped with delicious garlic sauce.

Maqsym. A traditional carbonated drink made of dairies. It is trendy in Kyrgyzstan due to its refreshing properties, especially in the summertime season. Initially, it is made of malt but can include other grains as well. There are many ways of making maqsym which are diverse according to the region. Basic steps for making maqsym include boiling the grains and fermenting the mixture with yeast.

Yarma. Another traditional drink made of grain. The process of making yarma is similar to maqsym. But instead of undergoing fermentation, grains are stirred with yogurt.

caentralasiacuisine

Central Asian cuisine has formed as a result of centuries-long development. Traditional recipes that are situated here are flavorful enough to satisfy the world’s most sophisticated gourmet.

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Traditional Tajikistan dishes

National Tajik cuisine shares many similarities with other Central Asian countries. The ancestors of modern Tajiks lived a semi-nomad life which implies that the local cuisine is highly inclusive of meat and bakery products. Nevertheless, Tajik cuisine has its exclusivity due to distinct processing methods, preparing food, and the flavor.

Suekhalav. Light springtime soup made of a unique dark herb named “suekhalav”.

Kurotob. A unique dish made of shredded puffed flatbread mixed with warm sour cream and onions and topped with hot oil. It is served with a salad made of juicy tomatoes and hot pepper.

Fatyrmaska. A peculiar dessert made of fatyr (flapjack) thinly layered on the wooden bowl, smeared with butter and topped with pieces of melon and grapes.

achichuk

Kurotob. A unique dish made of shredded puffed flatbread mixed with warm sour cream and onions and topped with hot oil. It is served with a salad made of juicy tomatoes and hot pepper.

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Milk products

Milk products are one of the main pillars of Central Asian cuisine. They are widely used even to this day. In their turn, lactic fermented beverages take up an essential place in every person's everyday diet that lives in Central Asia. It is believed that daily consumption of fermented milk products assists digestion and strengthens immunity. According to specialists, lactic acids and microorganisms that cause fermentation accelerate the process of digestion.

The assortment of milk products in local cuisines is comprehensive. Even the variety of milk beverages alone reaches jaw-dropping numbers. For instance, ayran is made from cow milk, shubat – camel milk, kymyz – horse milk. Additionally, milk is processed to create a wide variety of products such as myriad types of cheese, sour cream, yogurt. Not only they increase the flavor of the food but also aid digestion and are considered to be very efficient in maintaining immune system. Therefore, milk products are often included in numbers of traditional recipes.

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