Tajik cuisine, one of the oldest in the world, harmoniously combines the culinary traditions of the peoples of Central Asia. It is distinguished by a variety of simple and complex dishes made from meat, milk and vegetables, which are produced and mined on the territory of the republic.

Description of Tajik cuisine

The lifestyle of the Tajiks greatly influenced the formation of the national cuisine. For many centuries they were engaged in cattle breeding and often roamed in search of pastures. Therefore, in their diet, meat and dairy dishes occupy the main place.

The main favorite food is pilaf. It has many variations, but all the differences come down to the proportions of the ingredients. Much attention is paid to the choice of rice, vegetables, such as carrots. Only yellow varieties are chosen for pilaf. Additional components are added to rice in different regions. It can be peas, chickpeas, mung bean, quince, dried apricots, raisins.

Tajik cuisine has evolved over the centuries, absorbing the national culinary characteristics of neighboring countries.

Ready pilaf is served hot on a large common plate. Traditionally, it is eaten by hand and washed down with green tea.

Specificity of dishes

In Tajik cuisine, most of the national dishes are seasoned with fresh or fried onions and dairy products. Soups based on meat broths are always dense and rich, and cereals and side dishes are usually of a semi-liquid consistency.

Tajiks prepare meat delicacies mainly from lamb and goat meat, less often from beef. As in any Muslim state, pork is practically not used. Of the poultry on the table, you can find a chicken. Fish is seldom eaten, mostly fried.

Distinctive features

Most of the dishes in Tajikistan are spicy and savory. This comes from the abundance of black and red peppers and the variety of local spices:

  • anise;
  • cumin;
  • barberry;
  • saffron.

Chopped fresh herbs with a spicy taste and smell are also held in high esteem:

  • cilantro;
  • sorrel;
  • basil;
  • Dill;
  • mint.

It is used to decorate ready-made dishes and add to fermented milk products for making dressings for salads and sauces.

Heat treatment methods

Among the methods of cooking in Tajikistan, cooking and steam processing of food is the leader. The Tajik diet contains a lot of meat, which is often cooked in large pieces along with the bone. To make it soft, it is first fried, then boiled in broth for a long time, then additionally stewed.

For such heat treatment of food, Tajiks use special pots with inserts for steam cooking, cast-iron cauldrons. Roasting is carried out on barbecue grills and toners – national ovens.

Basic products in Tajik cuisine

Dairy and fermented milk products

Dairy products are very popular in Tajik national cuisine. They are used for preparing first and second courses, for dressing salads and baked goods. The production of fermented milk products is especially developed. It is produced on an industrial scale and at home. Most products are made on the basis of sour milk. For example, churgot. For its production, only melted milk is used, which is fermented under special conditions. Churgot serves as a semi-finished product for the preparation of other fermented milk products – suzma, kurut, ayran.

Rice and legumes

In Tajik cuisine, a lot of space is occupied by various side dishes, which are served with meat dishes and as independent dishes. Most often they use rice, beans, wheat, chickpeas, mung bean, lentils. Various cereals and pilaf are prepared from them, which are seasoned with stewed vegetables, fried onions or sweet dried fruits and nuts.

Game

In some regions of the republic they like to cook food from game – quails and partridges. They are served as cold snacks, soups and stuffed with vegetables.

Traditional dishes of Tajikistan

In this country, guests are treated to various types of delicious and hearty delicacies from meat, vegetables and with unusual dressings from sour milk with aromatic flat cakes. Tajiks respect food and love large feasts, where food is most often served in common plates or bowls.

Gissar salad

This is the name of the food that Tajiks prepare for the festive table. It resembles an Olivier salad in terms of the composition of the products. For gissar, first boil meat (lamb or beef), potatoes, carrots and eggs. All ingredients are cut into cubes, put in a bowl, fresh cucumbers and onions are added, mixed and seasoned with sour cream or katyk. Decorate the festive salad with herbs and tomato slices.

Sour milk salad

This appetizer is served with pilaf. It is made from sour milk, which is mixed with finely chopped onions, salt and spices. Put the salad in a bowl and sprinkle with herbs.

Chilled meat

Prepared from beef or lamb tenderloin. A large piece of meat (2-3 kg), usually oblong in shape, is cooked for several hours in salted water with the addition of aromatic spices. The finished meat is taken out of the broth onto a wire rack to drain excess fat and allowed to cool. The whole piece is laid out on a beautiful plate along with slices of turnips and carrots, boiled in meat broth, and decorated with sprigs of parsley and dill.

Kurutob

This is the name of the ancient Tajik food, which is made from puff pastry fatir, national fermented milk products of chaka or kurut, onions, fresh vegetables and herbs. In different regions of Tajikistan, the amount and composition of ingredients may vary, but cooking kurutoba starts with fatir. Break a fresh, warm cake into small pieces and place in a large earthenware or wooden plate. Fermented milk products are mixed and added to fatir.

Some of the onions are fried in oil and put together with the fat in a bowl with a flat cake. Sprinkle on top of the dish with chopped fresh onions, pieces, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs. Kurutob is served hot. It is eaten with hands from a common plate and washed down with fragrant green tea.

Shirikadu

Delicious milk soup with pumpkin is often prepared for breakfast in Tajikistan. It also contains rice and butter. Soup pumpkin is cut into cubes and simmered until half cooked. Rice is cooked separately, hot milk and prepared pumpkin are added to it. The soup is served hot with butter added to it.

Kabob rohat

This dish belongs to the hot meat appetizers of the national cuisine. It is made from lamb pulp. First, mince is made from meat, onions and spices. From the resulting mass, small sausages are formed, which are breaded in flour and fried in heated ghee. Separately sauté onions, cut into rings, put them on sausages, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and cook until golden brown. Ready-made kabob rohat is served with lots of greens.

Kabob rohat and kaurma shurbo are national dishes of Tajik cuisine.

Kaurma shurbo

This is the name of the rich lamb brisket soup. Cut the rib bones into pieces and fry with the onions and carrots. After the appearance of a golden brown crust, put fresh chopped tomatoes in a cauldron, add water and bring to a boil. Then put potatoes in the soup and cook until cooked. Kaurma shurbo is served hot with lots of greens.

Fatirmaska

This hearty meal is made from a puff pastry called fatira. It is crushed into small pieces in a wooden bowl – tobacco, mixed with ghee, kneading with a spoon. Pieces of melon, grapes or watermelon are laid out on top. Fatirmaska ​​is prepared mainly in summer. Local traditional healers believe that this combination of fruit and flatbread protects the intestines from upset.

Norvyn noryn

A tasty and satisfying dish is made from lamb and horse meat sausage (kazy). The meat is boiled, cooled and cut into thin strips. Dough is made of flour and eggs for homemade thin noodles, which are boiled in salted water. Mix the finished ingredients, put on a large plate and season with black pepper.

Siehalaf

This vitamin spring soup got its name from the mountain onion, from which it is prepared from April to May. Siekhalaf is translated from Tajik as “black grass”. This plant is high in vitamins and minerals, especially iodine. It gives the mountain onion dish an unusual purple hue.

This soup is prepared in spring in Tajikistan in every family. It helps the body recuperate and replenish its vitamins after a cold winter. In addition to sieholaf, rice and dairy products are added to the soup: chakku, churgot.

Shashlik

This is one of the most popular dishes of Eastern and Central Asian cuisines. In Tajikistan, it is prepared from different types of meat:

  • lamb;
  • horse meat;
  • beef.

Sometimes they choose chicken, liver and vegetables for barbecue. It can be ground (minced) and lumpy. Any meat must be marinated before cooking. To do this, use kefir, lemon juice, pomegranate seeds, onions.

The classic Tajik kebab is made from pieces of lamb and fat tail fat, which are alternated on a skewer. Grilled vegetables on skewers are served as a side dish.

In Tajikistan, they know how to cook and serve barbecue in a special way.

Gandumob

In the old days, this dish was treated to dear guests, prepared for weddings and family celebrations. Gandumob is boiled from lamb or beef entrails and seasoned with chopped cereals and legumes: wheat, peas, red beans. This soup is considered a delicacy among Tajiks and is prepared for special occasions.

Lubieva

This is the name of the national specialty bean soup; it is prepared in the Rasht Valley of Tajikistan. Its base is a rich aromatic broth made from meat bones. The soup also includes pounded wheat grains, red beans. It is soaked overnight so that the beans swell well. Green sugar beet tops are added to beans and wheat. It gives the soup a sweetish flavor. Lubileva is served with fried onions and herbs.

Moshkichiri

In the northern part of Tajikistan, this porridge is often made from rice and mung bean, a grain from India. The cereal tastes like beans with a slight nutty flavor.

The meat is cooked first. Lamb or beef is fried in a cauldron in fat tail fat with carrots and onions. Then add the washed mung bean and stew until the grains burst. immediately add rice and simmer over low heat until a viscous consistency is obtained. The porridge is laid out on a plate and served with fried onion rings.

Noschhafpa

This sweet dried apricot soup is often prepared in winter to ward off colds. In boiling water, put washed dried apricots and flour slightly diluted with water. The chowder is boiled for a long time until the dried apricots are completely softened. The food turns out to be a thick consistency with a sweet and sour taste.

Famous Tajik drinks

The most favorite drink in Tajikistan is tea. Basically, green varieties of this drink are widespread in the republic. Black tea appeared in Tajikistan only at the end of the 19th century.

Tea drinking in Tajikistan is a special, almost sacred ritual. Any meal here begins with this drink. It is poured into small bowls that are served on a tray. It is not customary to add sugar to tea. It is always drunk with sweets or washed down with porridge or meat dishes.

A hot drink called shirchay is made from black tea in Tajikistan. For this, tea leaves are poured into hot water, milk is added and brought to a boil. Salt and butter are put in hot shirchoy.

Tea in Tajikistan is drunk with milk and butter.

Interesting traditions of Tajikistan

In this country, every meal begins with a tea party. Sweets and cakes are served on trays. Then comes the turn for the first and second courses. They are immediately served with fresh vegetables and salads.

The main dishes in Tajikistan are eaten from a large shared plate or bowl. They are placed on a large wide table or on a tablecloth. The hosts and guests dine on soft mattresses.

Homemade recipes

Some of the delicacies of Tajik cuisine can be prepared at home using familiar and accessible ingredients.

Pilaf with lamb

To prepare this national dish, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 kg of lamb;
  • 500 g carrots;
  • 700 g onions;
  • 1 kg of rice;
  • 150 g garlic;
  • 300 ml of vegetable oil;
  • 1.5 liters of water;
  • salt, black pepper and cumin.

Pilaf spices are added to taste.

Cut the meat into small pieces, carrots into strips, onions into half rings. Heat the oil in a cauldron and fry the lamb and onion in it. After 20 minutes, put the carrots on top (do not stir), pour a glass of hot water and simmer under the lid for 15 minutes. Add salt and spices.

Pour boiling water over the washed rice for 10 minutes and put on the carrots in one layer, smooth. Carefully pour water along the side of the cauldron so that it covers the rice by 2 cm. Remove the top layer of husk from the garlic, wash well and stick the whole heads directly into the rice. Cook pilaf for 20 minutes. Then collect the rice with a wooden spatula from the walls of the cauldron to the center and let it brew for another 30 minutes. Aromatic pilaf with a spicy taste can be served in a large beautiful plate and garnished with herbs.

Many housewives prefer to cook pilaf and shurpa according to Tajik recipes.

Beef shurpa

Hearty soup with a bright taste of oriental spices is prepared from the following products:

  • beef (on the bone) – 1.2 kg;
  • potatoes – 0.5 kg;
  • carrots – 300 g;
  • onions – 250 g;
  • bell pepper – 200 g;
  • tomatoes – 300 g;
  • water – 2.5 l;
  • garlic – 5 cloves.

From spices you will need salt, black and red pepper, coriander, cumin. From greens, you can take a bunch of green onions and cilantro.

For cooking shurpa, it is better to choose a cauldron. Pour water into it, put meat, part of carrots and onions whole and cook after boiling for at least 2 hours. Chop the potatoes, leftover carrots, onions and bell peppers. Cut the tomatoes with a cross and scald with boiling water to remove the skin.

Remove the meat from the broth and add the potatoes there. Separate the beef pulp from the bones and put back into the cauldron along with carrots and onions. Add spices, ground in a mortar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Then put chopped peppers and tomatoes in the soup and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve ready shurpa with crushed garlic and herbs.

Tajik-style flatbreads

This recipe will require a few ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Dissolve 10 g of fresh yeast in 0.5 glass of warm water. Sift 450 g of flour into a bowl, add salt, add yeast and a glass of water. Knead the dough, cover it and let stand in a warm place for 2-3 hours, during which you need to knead the dough 2 times.

To make it easier to work with the dough, it is better to grease your hands with oil. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Put each in turn on a floured table and knead the cake with your fingers, as in the photo, from the middle to the edges.

Use a fork to poke holes over the entire surface of the cakes. Give them a little distance. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Cover the finished cakes with a towel and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Hot flavored tortillas can be greased with oil so that it is absorbed and the crumb becomes juicy.