Traditional Kazakh kitchen


Kazakh cuisine is the cuisine of Kazakhstan, and traditionally is focused on mutton and horse meat, as well as various milk products. For hundreds of years, Kazakhs were herders who raised fat-tailed sheep, Bactrian camels, and horses, relying on these animals for transportation, clothing, and food. The cooking techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation’s nomadic way of life. For example, most cooking techniques are aimed at long-term preservation of food. There is a large practice of salting and drying meat so that it will last, and there is a preference for sour milk, as it is easier to save in a nomadic lifestyle.


Кazakh specialities are meat and sour-milk dishes: besbarmak (meat and noodles), kazy, karta, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya (types of horse meat sausage), baursaks (savoury doughnuts), kurt (а hard curd cheese), kozhe (milk soup), irim-shik(curds) andairan (ayoghurt drink).


A smoked horsemeat sausage, is а particularly popular delicacy. The national drink, kumys, is made from fermented mare’s milk. In the steppes and sparsely-populated areas, shubat (camel milk) is preferred There are special associated with kumys.


The aling, toning drink varies depending on when it is preparation (summer, winter or spring) and the grass on the jailyau (summer pasture) where the mares grazed The Kazakhs so venerated thi drink that it was considered а sir to throw out unfinished from the cup.


Besbarmak is considere the centrepiece of the Каzаkh dastarkhan. Kazakh specialties аге meat and sour-milk dishes: besbarmak (meat and noodles), kazy, karta, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya (types of horsemeat sausage), baursaks (savory dоughnuts), kurt (а hard curd chess), kozhe (milk soup), irimshik (curds) and airan (а уоghurt drink).


Кazy, а smoked horse-meat sausage, is а particularly popular delicacy. Kazakh specialties аге meat and sour-milk dishes: besbarmak (meat and noodles), kazy, karta, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya (types of horsemeat sausage), baursaks (savory dоughnuts), kurt (а hard curd chess), kozhe (milk soup), irimshik (curds) and airan (а уоghurt drink). Кazy, а smoked horse-meat sausage, is а particularly popular delicacy. Besbarmak is considered the centerpiece of the Kazakh dastarkhan.


Besbarmak (Five Fingers).


Cover 3 — 4 kg (6 — 9 lb) of choice fatty meat (mutton, beef and аnd horse) with water and simmer. Make а stiff dough using  250 g (9 oz) flour, eggs, 1 tsp salt аnd water. Roll the dough into а circle 1 mm thick and cut it into 10-cm squares.
Add 5 — 6 whole peeled potatoes to the meat 20 minutes before it is ready. Remove the cooked meat from the broth and cut it against the grain into small pieces. Remove the potatoes and skim off about 200 g (7 floz) of the broth (including the suf
асе fat) for the sauce.


Carefully place the noodles into the broth and boil them. When cooked, place the noodles оn а plate, with the meat in the centre and the роtatoes, cut into pieces, around the edge. Роur over the reserved broth, seasoned with black pepper  and two оr three onions sliced into half-rings. Serve hot.


Kuurdak (offal stew).


Chop а beef or lamb heart, kidneys, liver, lungs and meat fillet into 1-ст cubes. Do not mix the different meats together, but place them in separate dishes. Chop an onion and 5 — 6 potatoes into 1-st cubes. Melt 50 – 80 g (2 — 3 oz) butter in а large cast-iron pan, add the lungs and fry them for about 5 — 7 minutes.
Then add the kidneys, heart and fillet, and after 20 minutes the onion, liver and potatoes. Fry, stirring continuously, until
аll the pieces are evenly cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.   


Baursaks (savoury doughnuts). 


Make а leavened dough using 200 g (7 oz) flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp yeast and water. Leave the dough то rise as for bread. То make round baursaks, roll out а section of the dough оn а board into а long sausage shape 2 ст in diameter and slice it every 2 сm.
For rectangular baursaks, roll out
а portion of the dough until it is 2 ст thick and cut it into 3 х 2 ст rectangles  or 3 х 3 сm diamonds. Fry the baursaks until they are golden brown.


Recipes from other Ethnic Groups.


Kazakhstan cuisine has drawn оn а wealth of сculinary traditions from the hundred different ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan: Caucasian shashlik (shish-kebab) and chebureks (meat pies), Uighur lagman (а noodle dish), Uzbek samsa (а relative of the Indian samosa), Dungan dishes (the Dungans are Chinese Muslims) and Korean salads, to name but а few.


Plov (pilau). Is а staple dish n the East, and the Uzbek version is the most popular in Сеntral Asia. This is how to prepare it: heat 200 g (7 oz) fat in а small heavy-based раn and fry 180 g (6 oz) roughly chopped onion. Remove the onion with а slotted spoon and brown 400 g (14 oz) evenly chopped mutton in the pan. Add 375 g (13 oz) julienned carrots and continue to fry. 


Season with salt and рерper. Add water оп а ratio of 1:1 pег kilo of rice, and simmer until half-cooked. Then роur in 350 g (3/4 lb) washed rice and level it with а slight hump in the сеntre, and making two ог three holes in the rice so that the liquid is evenly distributed. 


Sprinkle 250 g (9 oz) finely chopped dried apricots, raisins and dried apples оп the top. Cover tightly with а lid and simmer оn а low heat until cooked. Plov must not be stirred while it is cooking.


Manty. (Uigur meat dumplings) саn bе made with sour dough, and the Koreans use а starch dougl1, but аn unleavened dough is generally used. The dough is rolled into small circles, some filling is placed in the centre of each оnе, аnd they are pinched together to form round shapes. 


The manty are then placed in а specia1 manty раn and steamed for 35 — 40 minutes. The filling usually made of mutton оr beef (600 g)  with 325 g (11 oz) onion and 270 g (9 oz) pumpkin.


In nomadic cookery, the amount of equipment is minimal because it must be transported from location to location to follow the grazing herds. In addition, there are no luxuries such as electricity or running water. The iron kazan is the most indispensable piece of cookware — it is used for cooking pilaf, soups, and even bread — if the kazan is shallow, it can be turned over to cook flatbread on the back. Many parts of the sheep and goat are used for holding milk products or for making cheese.


The host of the meal cuts the meat himself (or herself) and gives the best cuts to more honored people or to children. This meat is most often eaten with thin boiled pieces of pastry. Sometimes the most honored guest at a meal will receive a cooked head of a ram, which is passed around in ceremonial or ritual practice. A guest is always given the place of honor and a special welcome in Kazakh practice.


Kazakhs traditionally eat at a low table called a Dastarkhān. Kazakhs also maintain a tradition of using beautiful dishware when possible. Kumys is served in wide bowls decorated with silver or in painted cups, and meat is often served on wide platters. Tea is steeped in ornate teapots and served in lovely cups. Unusual ingredients such as dried melon and small intestines were regularly woven into interesting patterns, and the breads boasted floral designs painted with berry juice. Bigger and deeper bowls are used to serve dairy products, and small wooden basins are used for making dough. Further more, each family has their own wooden spoons, which are cared for and transported in felt and wooden cases, showing their importance in food culture in Kazakhstan.  


Kazakhs like other Central Asian nations have some special rules of «tea ceremony». Traditionally it is not allowed to pour tea to the brim of the cup called «piala». The less tea is poured the more respect is given to the guest. It is explained by saying that if the host pours too much tea, it looks like he wants the guest to leave sooner. The less tea is poured, the more the host has to pour it over and over again, so that the guest always has hot tea, which shows care for the guest. However, different regions may have different understandings of the amount of «tea with respect».


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