Uzbek cuisine is considered one of the best in the world and more and more people want to get acquainted with its dishes. Organizers of gastronomic tours claim that the number of tourists over the past 2 years has increased by a third.
Dishes of Uzbek cuisine are considered one of the best in the world.
History and development of cuisine of Uzbekistan
In the IV century BC Alexander the Great conquered and united the warring nomadic tribes. In an effort to maintain power over Sogda (modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), he built new cities, populated them with a mixed Greco-Sughdian population. The region was booming.
Through the territory of modern Uzbekistan stretches the Great Silk Road. Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand became not only a place where merchants sold and bought goods, but also a center for training artists, poets and philosophers of Asia, China, and the Caucasus. This affected the economy, culture, traditions, including culinary.
Specificity of Uzbek cuisine
The population of Uzbekistan led a sedentary life, growing wheat, corn, barley, rice, nukhat, mash. Climatic conditions contributed to the harvests of grapes, watermelons, quinces, etc., which made it possible to enrich the kitchen.
The nomads who remained after the Golden Horde adopted the way of life of farmers and exerted their influence on their culture. Against this background, the modern cuisine of Uzbekistan began to take shape. Unique recipes and methods of cooking have been passed down from generation to generation.
The specificity of Uzbek cuisine is in its uniqueness.
The peculiarity of Uzbek cooking is a lot of fat and oil. Moderate use of spices successfully reveals the taste of products.
Meat, most often lamb and beef is the main ingredient. The cuisine is rich in rice, beans, fermented milk products. For the preparation of each dish, original spices, vegetables, herbs are used.
Uzbek cuisine is rich in meat and vegetable dishes.
Traditional kitchen utensils are tandoor and cauldron. The main process is roasting, but it is extremely rare for deep frying of products.
Recipes vary from one region to another, but the cuisine is unified with national dishes that are consumed throughout the country.
Useful properties of Uzbek food
In folk medicine, pilaf is recommended for exhaustion, malaise as a means of recovery from illness and in the cold season.
Vegetables help to normalize the function and condition of the gastrointestinal tract, biliary tract, pancreas. A sumalak improves metabolism, oxygenates tissues, increases the level of hemoglobin, is a natural immunomodulator.
Uzbek cuisine is characterized by the use of a large amount of meat, game, rice, wheat, jugara, mash, chickpeas. Of the vegetables, preference is given to onions, carrots, turnips, pumpkin, radish. Fruits almost all year round. There is almost no fish in the diet, eggs – in festive pastries.
National dishes are prepared mainly from beef, lamb, goat meat, camels, horse meat and lean poultry. Pork is excluded.
Lamb is one of the symbols in Uzbek cooking.
Of the cereals, the championship belongs to rice. Then mash, jugara, corn, wheat, barley. Less often – millet, buckwheat, semolina.
Vegetables and fruits
In the diet there are many fruits and berries: cherries, pomegranates, dates, quince, watermelons, melons, lemons, figs. In winter – dried and dried fruits.
Vegetables are used in large quantities. Some of them took root only in Uzbek dishes: green radish, yellow carrots, several types of pumpkin.
From spices – rayhon, cumin, coriander, barberry, sesame, cilantro, dill, parsley.
Pomegranates and dates are popular products in Uzbek cuisine.
In Uzbek cooking, flour of the highest and I grades prevails – it is used for all types of flour dishes. Grade II flour is used in some types of flatbreads and samsas.
The main methods of preparation
As in world cuisine, in Uzbek there are 2 types of food processing: cold and heat.
Heat treatment consists of 6 methods:
- Frying is open frying over coals with a small amount of fat and deep-fried.
- Cooking in water and milk.
- Steaming in a caskan.
- Simmering with little or no liquid.
- Baking in a tandoor and in the oven.
- Complex combination method in several stages of processing. For example, for pilaf, the oil is first heated until a whitish smoke appears. At the next stage, to improve the properties, the meat bone and the peeled onion are dipped into the oil. Then fry meat, carrots, onions. After that, zirvak is prepared – pour the products with water, season with spices and stew over medium heat. The last stage is the laying of rice.
Tandoor is an oven in which flatbreads are baked.
Cold processing consists of sorting, washing, cleaning, gutting, shredding, forming, etc. It does not differ from other kitchens.
Traditional dishes of Uzbekistan
A special place in Uzbekistan is occupied by bread – non. In the recipe of flatbreads, in addition to the usual ingredients, include onions, roasts, meat broth, minced meat. The surface is decorated with a pattern, sprinkled with sesame and poppy seeds. Dishes with a unique aroma and taste are obtained.
The most common soups are mashkhurda, mastava, manchiza, kiyma shurpa, sholgom shurpa, ugra, piyeva, etc. Their peculiarity is that they are thicker than soup in the conventional view. Popular flour dishes – manty, khanum, naryn, lagman, chuchvara.
On every table in Uzbekistan there are national sweets: halva, navat, parvarda, nisholda, pashmak. Favorite pastries are samsa, urama, chakchak, chebureks, belyashi, katlama, yupka, gumma.
Despite the abundance of aromatic and delicious dishes, pilaf remains the hallmark of the cuisine of Uzbekistan. It has been known since time immemorial. According to one of the legends, pilaf appeared in the time of Amir Temur. To feed a large army, you needed a high-calorie, hearty dish. According to legend, the soldiers who tasted the dish overcame the 10-day journey in 5 days.
Pilaf is a national Uzbek dish.
Traditionally, pilaf is cooked in a cauldron on an open fire. For pilaf, it is necessary to prepare products. The main thing is to properly overheat the oil and peel the rice:
- The oil is poured into a hot cauldron. When heated, dark smoke appears, when the oil boils violently, the smoke becomes white. At this time, you need to reduce the fire until the haze disappears.
- Rice is washed to clear water. In salted water, cereals are easier to clean from powder. Wash until the rice is pearlescent. The quality of the pilaf depends on this – poorly peeled rice will make porridge.
- Carrots are cut into a straw of 2-3 cm. Onions – in half rings 2 – 3 mm thick. Meat is cut into slices of 10 – 15 g.
- fry 200 g of onions in 100 g of oil until brown.
- Add 300 g of lamb or beef to the onion, fry until browned.
- Put 300 g of carrots, fry until half-done.
- Pour water just to cover the contents of the cauldron. After boiling, add spices to taste – barberry, cumin, pepper, salt. Simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours.
- Put 500 g of rice. Add water to cover the cereal by 1.5 – 2 cm. Bring to a boil. As soon as the water evaporates, reduce the heat, collect the pilaf with a slide and cover with a lid. Bring to readiness over low heat. The time depends on the variety of rice – 20 – 30 minutes.
There are about 500 varieties of pilaf. The classic version includes lamb, carrots, onions, rice and spices. But different colors and flavors will add additional ingredients: pumpkin, eggs, tomatoes, quince, raisins.
Some recipes require different types of oils. In some pilafs, rice or part of it is replaced with mash, chickpeas, vermicelli, wheat, buckwheat. Instead of lamb, beef, game, kazy, hasip, fish, meatballs, cabbage rolls from grape leaves, stuffed pepper are used.
Fragrant, steaming pilaf is served to the table in lyagans. A hearty delicacy complements a juicy radish salad or achchik chuchuk.
High-calorie, but balanced at the expense of vegetables flour dish. The base of lagman is noodles stretched by hand.
Lagman came from Uyghur cuisine in the Middle Ages. In Uzbekistan, it is called Uyghur-lagmon or chuzma-lagmon, from the Uzbek “chuzmok” – to pull. The dough for the noodles is smeared with oil and pulled into thin, even bundles.
Basically, lagman is made from beef or lamb. The choice of vegetables and spices depends on the season and the imagination of the chef. Use potatoes, radish, tomatoes, eggplants, peas, carrots, onions, zucchini.
Lagman is a dish with vegetables, noodles and meat.
Mantas, buuz or poses are a traditional dish of the peoples of Asia, China, Korea. In India and Nepal, Tibetan mantas – momo – are popular. Every nation is sure that he is the inventor of this dish. But the best masters of mantovaks are still in Uzbekistan. Their skill is evidenced by the many types of this dish. There are many options – from the shape to the filling, from the size to the method of preparation:
- Kava manta with pumpkin and lamb is cooked in caskan. Fried – khoshan mantas are fried in oil, then in a caskan until ready.
- Palov manta is prepared with pilaf. Make small mantas with lamb and onions. Pilaf is prepared. Before covering the cauldron, the rice is leveled and laid on top of the manta rays.
- Jusai mantas are made with a filling of jusai – plants with an onion-garlic taste.
- Lush baldurgan mantas made of yeast dough with a filling of one meat or lamb with jusai.
Mantas are most often prepared with lamb. Make and with different types of meat, combine it with pumpkin, potatoes, etc. Vegetarian – from mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin. And unusual:
- yaklit mantas stuffed with marinated meat;
- turpli manta with the addition of radish;
- mash manty from masha, etc.
There are more than 100 varieties of the dish.
This dish has been known since ancient times. It is easily digested and simply prepared. Damlama, dimlama, domlyama, dymdama, translated from Turkic languages means “extinguishing”.
Smoke is prepared in a cauldron or a deep frying pan with a lid. Vegetables are laid in layers and stewed in their own juice over low heat. Classic ingredients: meat, onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage and seasonings. Tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini, quince, apples are also added.
There are many options for smoke. Meat is replaced with oblong sausages from minced meat – kift. Cooked without meat, from only vegetables. The result is always a beautiful, bright and flavorful dish.
Dymlyama is a popular dish in Uzbek cuisine.
On the holiday of spring Navruz, no dastarkhan is complete without a sumalak. According to one version, “suma” from old Turkic is “steamed wheat”, and “laks” is “flour”. According to another, angels helped to prepare food for a poor widow, did not let her children die of starvation, and the name means “Gift of Angels”.
The basis of sumalak is wheat grains. 2 weeks before the holiday, they are cleaned and sorted. For several days, soak, laid out on a cloth. Periodically sprinkled with water so that the grains germinate. Before cooking, the wheat is ground and squeezed.
Sumalak is a sweet dish, it tastes like halva, although it does not use sugar, but only 3 ingredients:
- 1 kg cottonseed oil;
- juice from 1 kg of wheat;
- 4 kg of flour.
Sumalyak is a sweet festive dish in Uzbek cuisine.
So that the sumalak does not burn, clean pebbles are laid on the bottom of the cauldron. Cooking and continuous stirring take from 12 to 24 hours. According to legend, by interfering with the sumalak, a person opens his heart to goodness and happiness. Those who come across a pebble in a bowl are waiting for good luck and prosperity.
These unusual, tasty and hearty Uzbek dumplings are eaten boiled with sauce or deep-fried. Chuchvara differs from Russian dumplings in size and shape. On small squares of dough with sides of 2.5 – 3 cm, spread minced meat, roll a triangle and mold the 2 lower corners with each other.
There are other ways of sculpting, but chuchvara does not become less tasty because of this. Minced meat is prepared from finely chopped meat and onions. The filling can be from greens, potatoes, dried tomatoes, eggs. Dumplings are boiled in broth or deep-fried. The finished dish is served with sour milk, sour cream, herbs or sauces from finely chopped tomatoes and paprika.
A rich aromatic broth of beef or lamb with vegetables – potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes – is known as shurpa.
In Uzbek cuisine, there are various types of shurpa: meat with vegetables, pasta, chicken broths, soups with dumplings and stuffed pepper, with meatballs or sausage. In the name of all soups there is the word “shurpa”: kainatma shurpa, shalgam shurpa, hasip shurpa, etc. The word “shurpa” from the ancient Turkic “broth, soup”.
Uzbek shurpa is a rich broth with lamb and beef.
Halvaitar means “liquid halva”. This is a traditional festive delicacy. Served in vases or bowls. Classic version:
- Calcinate 100 g of oil and cool.
- Put a dish of oil on the fire and carefully pour 1 tbsp. flour. Fry until light brown.
- dissolve 1 tbsp. sugar in 3 tbsp. boiling water.
- Gradually pour the syrup into the flour mixture and cook until the consistency of sour cream.
In the finished dish, you can add vanillin, nuts, pistachios, almonds.
An important component of the cuisine of Uzbekistan is drinks. In hot climates, it is preferable to drink, quenching thirst and giving vivacity. These include:
- Fermented milk, in addition to tonic properties, they restore after illness and poisoning, activate oxygen metabolism in the cells. Katyk – sour milk – is more than a drink. From it they make suzma, kurt, ayran, chalop (a type of okroshka), added to salads.
- Compotes, decoctions – fruit with honey, from prunes, raisins and dried apricots, from dried fruits.
- Fruit drinks, infusions – apricot infusion, juice from cherry plum or apricots, pomegranate drink, unabi infusion.
- Sherbets – from dogwood, rose hips, pomegranate, grapes. This also includes a drink made of starch, a decoction of roses and cinnamon – balusa.
In the first place – tea, it starts the day. Drink before lunch, during meals, a bowl of tea completes any meal.
The name of the national drink comes from the word “kymyz” – sour mare’s milk. Kumis quenches thirst, invigorates, restores after illness. The healing properties of the drink have long been recognized. In the second half of the XIX century. even began to open special health resorts – kumys hospitals.
Sourdough is added to the milk and kneaded for at least an hour. Then pour into glass containers and leave in the heat from 6 hours to 3 days. Depending on the ripening period, koumiss is divided into 3 degrees:
- weak – 5 – 6 hours of exposure;
- medium – from 1 to 2 days of fermentation;
- strong – from 3 to 4 days of fermentation.
Kumis is the Uzbek national drink.
Mare’s milk is less fatty than cow’s milk. Contains more lactose, trace elements, vitamins and is absorbed by 95%. In the process of fermentation, milk is enriched with new useful substances. The drink is recommended for patients with anemia, tuberculosis, with gastrointestinal diseases.
In Uzbekistan, they drink mainly green tea – kok choi. In some regions, black tea is preferred – kora choi. Water is chosen with special attention – the taste and aroma of tea depend on it. At least 1 hour before boiling, let the tap water settle. The water is not boiled again. Brewing tea is a whole ritual:
- Rinse the kettle with boiling water.
- Pour the brew – 1 tsp. per 0.5 liters of water.
- Add boiling water and hold for 3 to 5 minutes in the heat.
- Before serving, the tea is poured three times into a bowl and poured back into the kettle.
There are many recipes for tea, for example:
- murch tea with black pepper is drunk with a cold;
- if he tends to sleep, raihonli choi with basil will help;
- sedanali choi with chernushka seeds has a choleretic property.
Tea is served with fruits, sweets, nuts, sherbet, dried fruits. Guests are never poured a full bowl, this is considered disrespectful. The owner pays attention to the guest, regularly pouring tea.
Winemaking in Uzbekistan has a deep history. Since 1927, vintage wines “Shirin”, “Uzbekistan”, “Gulyakandoz”, “Farkhod” have been considered the best. There are several producers of alcoholic beverages in the country, the largest in Tashkent and Samarkand. Among the wine products can be noted:
- dessert wines – “Jaus”, “Aleatico”, “Vassarga”, “Jaus” with a pleasant taste, reminiscent of quince;
- semi-sweet wine “One Thousand and One Nights” and “Ancient Khiva”;
- dry wines – “Riesling”, “Omar Khayyam”, “Sultan”, “Classico”.
From strong alcohol: cognacs “Uzbekistan” and “Toshkent”. Vodka “Gold Uzbekistan”, “Pure Sample”, “Honey with Lemon” in 2018 at the International Exhibition was awarded gold medals. Uzbekistan occupies one of the leading places in the production of alcohol in the post-Soviet space.
Gastronomic traditions of Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, it is customary to eat slowly and tastefully. Up to 10 dishes per dinner is a sign of hospitality for Uzbeks. They eat 3 times a day, but there is an abundance of food on the table. Fatty and hearty fall on lunch and dinner. A good feast in the evening, when the heat of the day and bustle are behind.
The cuisine of Uzbekistan is inseparable from the culture of the East itself. It is customary to eat on the floor at low tables, using small pads for sitting. The process of eating takes place without haste, can take 2 to 3 times more time than is customary in European countries.