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Uzbek Cuisine


Uzbek dishes differ in appearance, fragrance and flavor. Some of them are prepared on the everyday basis, others are seasonal, some are cooked more rarely, depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients or to celebrate certain special occasions.

This page is meant for those whose occupation is to cook or anybody who likes to prepare food or wants to know more about the charm of Uzbek cuisine. The receipts below are supposed to give you an idea about what Uzbek traditional dishes are, so that you are prepared to order them when in the country.

Tomato and cucumber salad1. ACHIK-CHUCHUK - TOMATO AND CUCUMBER SALAD
500 g ripe tomatoes, 2-3 onions, 2-3 cucumbers, salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the onions in rings. Wash the ripe tomatoes, slice them or cut them in cloves. Wash and pare the cucumbers, cut them in shreds, dices or rings. Mix all the vegetables, add salt, ground pepper and chopped greens. Then blend them all together. Pile on a salad bowl or platter, top with a tomato cut in the shape of a tulip, and dress with onion rings and cucumber. Serve as a separate cold dish with flat cakes and as a garnish for pilau, shashlik and other meat and fat dishes.

Pomegranate and onions salad2. ANOR VA PIYOZ SALATI - POMEGRANATES AND ONIONS SALAD
2 onions (medium size), 1 big sour pomegranate, pinch salt.
Wash finely chopped onions 2-3 times in hot water and drop into a sieve. Pare the pomegranate.Squeeze the juice out of some of the kernels and mix the rest of them with the onion. Put them all in a salad bowl or vase and spill with the sour pomegranate juice. Top with rosettes of white onion, in which pomegranate kernels are placed. Edge the dish with onion rings.
This old delicacy is usually served as a garnish for pilau, shashlik and other dishes.

Pea Soup3. NUKHOT SHURVA - PEA SOUP WITH MEAT
300 g soaked peas, 300 g meat (lamb or beef), 1 onion, 1 potato, 2 carrots, 1 bay leaf, 0.5 bunch greens (dill, coriander), salt and pepper to taste.

On the day before sort out and wash the peas (preferably nukhot - an Uzbek variety), then soak in cold water. The next day, when the peas have swollen, throw them into meat broth and cook soup. Slice the mutton or beef, chop the bones for the fat to detach the better and simmer them together with the peas, diced carrots and onion rings. Pare the potato as a whole and put it into the pot short time before the end of the cooking. Season with bay leaf and salt.

Vegetable soup 4. KAINATMA SHURVA - MEAT AND VEGETABLE SOUP
500 g turnips, 2 carrots, 2 potatoes, 2 onions, 2 medium size tomatoes, 1 pod cayenne, 300 g meat (boned), 300 g bones, salt to taste.

Wash the bones, put them in a saucepan with cold water and simmer for 2 hours. Then sieve the broth, add the meat and all the vegetables cut into big chunks and boil till done. Add salt to taste. Serve the broth in kasas (soup-bowls). The vegetables and meat are served separately. This is both a first and second course, prepared simultaneously in one and the same pot.

Uzbek Pilau5. IVITMA PALOV - PILAU PREPARED WITH SOAKED RICE AND PEAS
1 kg rice, 200 g peas, 300 g meat, 250 g fat (or vegetable oil), 400 g carrots, 2 onions, salt and spices (zira, barberries, ground pepper) to taste.
Wash sorted rice several times and soak in warm salt water for 2 hours. Washed peas (nukhot) are soaked in cold water for 10-12 hours before preparing the pilau. When the rice and peas swell, proceed to prepare the pilau: slice the onions in rings, cut the carrots in cubes (1x1x1 cm), and chop the meat into 150-200 g chunks. Heat the fat in a cauldron with a spherical bottom, place the meat in and brown off. Then add the onion rings, mix them all the time, and braise on low heat. As soon as the onions begin to change color, plunge the carrots and soaked peas in. Pour water so as to be on the same level with the contents of the saucepan and simmer for about one hour till the peas become tender. Season with salt and spice. Pour off the water in which the rice is soaking. Strew the rice over the carrots in even layers. As the rice took up a certain amount of water while soaking, pour in less water than is necessary for preparing the Ferghana pilau. Raise the heat to a heavy fire and stew fiercely. From time to time turn the layer of rice over with a skimmer, making sure not to blend the rice with the carrots. When all the moisture passes off and the rice is done, pile it in the middle of the cauldron, remove the heat and close with a basin to stew well for 20-25 minutes. When done, mix the contents, dislodge the meat. Heap on a platter and serve with chunks of meat on top.

Uzbek kabob or shashlik6. BARRA KABOB - LAMB SHASHLIK
1 kg lamb, 200 g fat, 2-3 onions, 1 teaspoonful salt, 1 teaspoonful zira, 2 teaspoonfuls coriander seeds, 1 teaspoonful ground pepper or cayenne, 4 teaspoonfuls vinegar. Chop the lamb and fatty tail into chunks of 15 - 16 g, dredge with salt, pepper and coriander, add finely chopped onion and vinegar. Blend all together thoroughly. To ensure that the lamb marinades well, put it in an enameled porcelain or glazed earthenware saucepan, press down with a weight, cover with a gauze and set aside in a cool place for a period of from 4 to 24 hours.

Then skewer 5 pieces of meat and 1 piece of fat per skewer. Grill the shashlik over a charcoal fire first on one side and then on the other till juice oozes and the meat browns to crustiness. From time to time fan the fire to raise the heat and ensure that it roasts steadily. If the fat trickles down and a flame appears, sprinkle the charcoal with water diluted with white vinegar. Serve the shashlik (2-4 pieces) together with the skewers on a flat cake for one serving. Place a portion or several portions on a platter, garnish with rings of white onion, slices of cucumbers or tomatoes. Fresh vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes) or a salad made of them may be served separately.

Uzbek kabob or shashlik 7. MANTI - BIG STEAMED MEAT DUMPLINGS
For the dough: 500 g flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoonful salt, 0.5 glassful water. For the forcemeet: 1kg lamb flesh, 100 g fat tail, 500 g onions, 0.5 glassful salt water, 1 teaspoonful black pepper.

Work up the flour into thick dough, roll to form a ball. Place into a basin, overspread with a napkin and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Cut the dough into balls about the size of a small walnut and roll thin to make round flat cakes. Another way is to roll the entire dough with a long rolling-pin to produce a thin layer and cut into squares (10x10 cm) add tablespoonful of forcemeat and diced fat tail on each square. Fold diagonally and pinch corners and edges so that the manti are oblong in shape. Overspread the uncooked manti to prevent the dough from getting dry and frail. The forcemeat is prepared in the following way: chop the mutton (beef) into small pieces about the size of a small nut or mince with a big grating, add onion chopped or sliced into rings, ground black pepper and salt water. Combine thoroughly and press down with fingers. The manti are steamed. Grease the plate of kettle for steaming and arrange the manti on it so as to have no contact with each other. Splash cold water and steam for 45 minutes. Serve 2-4 manti in a kasa (soup-bowl) per portion, pour broth and sour milk over or remove the manti to a platter and dredge with ground black pepper. Sour milk and vinegar are served separately.

If you are planning a tour to enjoy Uzbek cuisine:


Classic tours in Uzbekistan
Maverannahr, Great Empire of Tamerlane
All of Uzbekistan from West to East

Adventure tours
Rural Lifestyle, Ecotourism, Trekking and Fishing
Yurts, Camel Riding and Desert

Multicountry tours
Uzbekistan and Northern Kyrgyzstan
Uzbekistan and Southern Kyrgyzstan

Religious tours
Visiting Sacred Places

Specialized tours
Dental Tour



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Aydar Kul Yurts
Nuratau Bioreserve, Farish

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Bishkek
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Issyk Kul
Jeti Oguz


Cities in Turkmenistan
Ashgabat
Kunya Urgench
Merv