Thursday, March 21st 2019

Uzbek food – serious reason to visit Uzbekistan

If you ask me to give three reasons to visit Uzbekistan, i will definitely answer: 1) Hospitality, 2) Food and 3) Architecture. Or 1)Food, 2) Hospitality and 3) Architecture. Or 1) Architecture….but you get the point, food is always one of three reasons for me to go back. Of course, to see the amazing architecture of Uzbekistan you will need to visit Samarkand, Khiva and Bukhara. Hospitality and great food will be around all the time. These two are interconnected and interwoven with ancient traditions.

Plov is the symbol of Uzbek food. It is prepared in every Uzbekistan family, whether Uzbek, Russian, Tatar of Korean. Uzbek plov is the part of mentality of Uzbekistan people. Traditionally plov is cooked by men. There are over a thousand of recipes of cooking Uzbek plov with various ingredients and even there are some cook books dedicated only to this dish. Commonly Uzbek plov is cooked with rice, fresh mutton or beef, yellow or red carrot, onions and vegetable oil. Traditionally, Uzbek plov is prepared in a deep cast-iron pot (kazan), which is uniformly warmed and a dish is not burnt.

Plov is so tasty that i forgot to make any pictures of it. So please read more about Plov here.

On Thursday only men go to teahouses(chaykhana) and eat there special chaykhana plov. This type of plov is served with considerable amount of horse sausage, which according to my sources increases male potential. Uzbek people joke that women ask men to eat a lot of plov on Thursday ;-) Plov is always served with achuchuk salad, which helps to process heavy mutton meat and fat.Besides one should never drink vodka with or after plov, as this can be done only by people with very strong health.

Achuchuk salad

Achuchuk salad

It is impossible to imagine the Uzbek food without meat dishes. Traditionally, mutton is the most popular meat among Uzbek people.

Grilled lamb

Grilled mutton

Usually Uzbek meat dishes are served with fresh vegetable salads or stewed with vegetables. During the preparation of major dishes meat is not separated from bones. To improve the taste, it is roasted in tempered cottonseed or sunflower oil. Some meat dishes are steamed.

Uzbek food, grilled lamb

Grilled (differently) mutton

Traditional Uzbek meat dishes include cutlets (tukhum-dulma), shashlik (kebab), stewed meat with greens (kazan-kabob), cold meat snacks (kavurdak and khasib), roasted meat (jarkop), layered meat and vegetables stewed (dimlama) and others.

Uzbek food, Dimlama

Dimlama

Soups are very popular in Uzbekistan and take an important place in national culinary. Uzbek soups are quite thick and rich of such vegetables as carrot, beet, onion, greens and various spices.The most popular Uzbek soup is shurpa.

Shurpa soup

Shurpa soup

There is a lot of grain in Uzbekistan, so breads and noodles are a big part of the diet.  In fact bread is sacred among Uzbek people. By a tradition, when someone leaves the house he should bite off a small piece of bread, which will be kept until he comes back and eat it. Uzbek bread, called generally non or lepeshka, is round and flat and is baked in tandyr (clay oven), after which it comes out toasted and crispy.

Samarkand bread

Samarkand bread

There is no tastier bread than Samarkand one. Real Samarkand bread should be eatable within three years. It is enough to splash water on it and heat in the tandyr (clay oven used to bake bread). Everyone, who has ever visited Samarkand, does not leave it without Samarkand bread. It is various: small with sesame seeds, large glazed bread and always incomparably delicious, so there is nothing surprising in the fact, that people said legends about it.

The legend goes:

Once Khan of Bukhara asked his advisers, why the bread is taken from Samarkand to Bukhara, if they could bake it in Bukhara. He was told that bread would be tasty if it was baked only in Samarkand, but the khan did not believe the advisers and ordered to bring Samarkand bakers to Bukhara. The order was carried out. Khan sent people to Samarkand to find the best baker in the city and ordered him to bake bread in Bukhara. But the bread turned out different than it was expected. Advisers decided that the case was in the ingredients and brought from Samarkand a tandyr oven, flour, water, but even then the bread differed from Samarkand one. Then the baker said: “Probably the case is in the air.” But it was impossible to transport the air, and soon the baker was allowed to return home, and people began to carry bread from Samarkand as before.

Samarkand bread

Samarkand bread

This tradition has been preserved to this day. No one leaves from Samarkand without the famous bread, which remain soft for a long time. Last time I visited Samarkand actually bought two breads. They were extremely hot, straight from an oven. I brought the bread back to Prague and it is true that it stays fresh for long time.

If you visit Uzbekistan, please write to me and tell me your three main reasons to go there again. You know mine already ;-)

 

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One Comment on “Uzbek food – serious reason to visit Uzbekistan”

  1. […] These are very good soups. I already forgot the names, as they are not easy to pronounce. The one on the right tastes a bit like Dizi from Iran or mutton soup from Uzbekistan […]

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