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Uzbekistan

National cuisine of Uzbekistan for gourmets. Authentic recipes, delicacies and specialties

Tashkent Uzbek cuisine has hundreds of dishes with centuries of history. The recipe for each cuisine has its own characteristics depending on the area. The favorite dishes of inhabitants of the northern regions are pilaf, fried meat and tortillas. In the southern part of the country however, different variations of rice dishes, and vegetable dishes are preferred, and in addition, they prepare delicious sweets. In the diet of Uzbeks there must be lamb or horse meat, vegetable soups, fresh vegetables, sour-milk products and pastries. Bread is something sacred for the Uzbeks. The clay oven “tandyr” is used for baking spicy tortillas “non”. Classical tortillas “obi-non” is kneaded on a water base. Their festive version “patyr” is prepared from puff pastry with mutton fat. “Samarkand non” is considered to be the most delicious tortillas.
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One of the most famous Uzbek dishes is pilaf. According to legend, it was first prepared by Tamerlane himself. There are many variants of pilaf: it is prepared with mutton or beef, seasoned with zira (cumin), barberry, saffron, pepper, garlic or dried fruits, sunflower seeds or sesame seeds. The base with its rice, carrots and onions component is the only thing that remains unchanged. Only men participate in the cooking, which they do by accompanying the process with prayer and special diligence. Pilaf is boiled in a large pot –“kagan” on an open fire. The process of making an authentic Uzbek dish is rather complicated. It implies special preparation of vegetables, long soaking of cereals in salted water, the use of a special mixture of oils, multi-stage cooking and languor.
It is worth noting that Soups are highly esteemed in the culinary tradition of Uzbekistan. They are prepared to a thick texture, full of vegetables, herbs and spices. One of the most common liquid foods is “shurpa”. “Shurpa-shepherd” is a meat dish with potatoes, tomatoes and onions. “Kofta-shurpa” is a pea-vegetable soup with sausages. Another unique dish that is served as a first course is “mastava”, a meat soup with a sour milk base, vegetables and herbs. The soup “umach” is cooked from mung beans and corn noodles. It is also worth trying “mash-atala” (soup with fried bacon, beans and vegetables) and “cholop” (sour-milk cold soup with cucumbers, radish and herbs). Copyright www.orangesmile.com
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Among the traditional local meat dishes, you can choose from “tukhum-dulma” cutlets, “kazy” sausages from horse meat, various kinds of shish kebab, boiled meat “yahna-gusht”, which is eaten cold. The most famous dish “manta” is made of flax minced meat stuffed with rags. They are prepared with the addition of fat and then cooked for a couple of minutes. Another hearty meat dish “kazan-kebab” is meat stewed in a pot of herbs. In Uzbekistan, there are many cold meat appetizers. Among them –“manpar” (noodles with meat), “balish” (pies with minced meat). Meat is eaten with a garnish of fresh vegetables, vegetable mixes, stewed vegetable, rice porridge or noodles. Traditionally, meat dishes are washed down with “ayran”. On the table, you can also find Uzbek yogurt “chakka”, porridge from mung beans or corn cereal, cheese, dairy products, butter and various sauces.
Statue of Amir Timur in Tashkent Almost half of the dishes of Uzbek cuisine are pastries. During one meal they serve you dishes from wheat three times: before meals, during meals and after meals. A distinctive feature of local flour products is a kind of appetizing aftertaste which is achieved when baking in tandoori style at high temperatures. The most popular Uzbek delicacies are puff pastry “samsa” with meat or other stuffing, sweet khalva in different variations, curd rolls “zangza”, fancy figured tortillas “kush-tili”, fancy pastry balls “bugirsak”, quincy with nut stuffing “bekhi- dulma”, candies from melted sugar “navat”, sugar nuts “chak-chak”, caramel sugar candy “pashmak”, meringue “nishoida” with herbs, candied fruits, dried fruits and nuts.
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Tea can be considered as the main drink of the country. Tea starts and ends any meal. The procedure for preparing tea is linked to the observance of many traditions, customs and rules. The most common one is classic black tea without any admixtures which is especially popular in the capital, Tashkent. Residents of desert areas like to mix it with milk and sugar. Uzbeks also add basil, saffron, pepper, or seeds of black cumin to the tea. Various kinds of compotes and infusions, sorbets, ayran, cold yoghurts are prepared in the country. Alcoholic drinks are available for purchase in all shops and public catering establishments, but the Uzbeks themselves do not drink alcohol.
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