Fragrant pilaf, juicy samsa, shurpa and mouth-watering manti – this is not a complete list of dishes that made Uzbek cuisine famous. But now it is also recognizable thanks to special recipes based on lamb and all kinds of vegetables. Lavishly spiced and prepared according to culinary traditions dating back thousands of years, they surprise and delight. And they force those who once tasted them to return to them again and again.
History of Uzbek cuisine
Researchers claim that the cuisine of Uzbekistan, which we know today, was formed literally 150 years ago. It was at that time that popular foods began to enter the territory of this country, and its chefs began to master the culinary techniques common in Europe. On the one hand, this became the reason for the creation of new dishes, and on the other hand, it only strengthened the position of recipes with a long history. It was about them that Avicenna and other no less outstanding personalities of the Middle Ages wrote in their works.
Nevertheless, delving into history, it should be noted that different peoples lived on the territory of modern Uzbekistan at different times. Among them were both sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists. It was their traditions and tastes in the IV-VII centuries. laid the foundation for modern Uzbek cuisine.
Later, at the end of the 300th century, Turkic-speaking peoples came to their lands, who after XNUMX years, together with the Uzbeks, felt all the hardships of the Mongol conquest.
In the XVI century. the territory of modern Uzbekistan again became the subject of contention. This time it was conquered by the nomads – the tribes that remained after the collapse of the Golden Horde. Mingling with the local population, they completed the long process of forming the Uzbek people.
For some time, she belonged to different regions and classes, which determined her cultural and culinary traditions. Moreover, much of what was on the tables of the Uzbeks at that time has imperceptibly leaked out today. And we are talking not only about vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy foods, but also about flour foods, sweets, soups.
Summing up all of the above, it is worth noting that the history of Uzbek cuisine is incredibly rich. Every now and then, echoes of the past are caught in it, which are reflected in the modern recipe of Uzbek dishes. But this only makes Uzbek cuisine more interesting.
Distinctive features of Uzbek cuisine
Due to territorial characteristics and historical events, Asian traditions are captured in Uzbek cuisine.
- Lamb is considered the most popular product of Uzbeks, although from time to time it is inferior to horse meat and beef. Moreover, the proportion of meat in each of the dishes is significant. Judge for yourself: the traditional recipe for pilaf says that you need to use one part of meat for one part of rice.
- Special soups are prepared in Uzbekistan. Instead of traditional cereals, they include corn, mung bean (golden beans), dzhugara (cereal), and rice.
- The cuisine of this country is extremely rich in bakery and pastries. All kinds of cakes and koloboks (lochira, katlama, bugirsok, patir, urama, etc.), which differ from each other only in the dough for their preparation, as well as manti, samsa (pies), nishalda (analogue of halva), novat, holvaitar and many others, for decades do not leave indifferent Uzbek children indifferent.
- The lack of fish in Uzbekistan has also left its mark on his cuisine. There are practically no fish dishes cooked here.
- In addition, the indigenous people do not like mushrooms, eggplants and fatty poultry. And they rarely eat eggs.
- They also widely use oil, most often cottonseed, herbs and spices such as cumin, barberry, sesame, cumin, dill, basil, coriander.
- They also like cooked fermented milk foods such as katyk (a drink made from boiled milk), suzma and kurut (curd mass).
Traditions of Uzbek cuisine
According to Islamic customs in Uzbekistan, from time to time, restrictions are imposed on the order and time of meals. In other words, Uzbeks fast, for example, during Ramadan. They also have the concept of legal and forbidden food. Pork also belongs to the latter.
The highlight of Uzbek cuisine is sacredness. Food is treated with deep respect here, and the preparation of many dishes is shrouded in legends, in which Uzbeks still believe. Sumalak is a striking example of this.
It is interesting that traditionally men cook in the families of Uzbekistan. In the end, there is an explanation for this – only a representative of a strong stat can cook pilaf in a cauldron for 100 kg of rice.
Basic cooking methods:
We can talk forever about the recipes of Uzbek dishes and their centuries-old history. But it is wiser to stop at the most famous ones:
Pilaf is a rice and lamb dish prepared with spices and special yellow carrots for almost any event, be it a wedding or funeral. In a festive version, it can be flavored with chickpeas and raisins. It is still eaten here with only hands.
Sumalak is a dish made from sprouted wheat, which is prepared for the Navruz holiday in early spring. The cooking process takes 2 weeks. All the while, the wheat is carefully selected, soaked and cooked with cottonseed oil and nuts, and then served to guests and neighbors. Today sumalak is not only a symbol of prosperity and peace, but also a means to boost immunity.
Basma is a stew with onions and vegetables.
Dolma – stuffed cabbage rolls and grape leaves.
Kovurdok – fried meat with vegetables.
Mastava is a rice soup.
Naryn – boiled dough with meat.
Manty – large steamed dumplings.
Chuchvara are ordinary dumplings.
Shurpa is a soup made from meat and potatoes.
Ugra – noodles.
Kebab is a skewer.
Hasip – homemade meat and rice sausage.
Kazy – horse meat sausage.
Yupka – puff pastry cakes.
Ayran – curd mass with ice cubes and apples.
Suzma is a sour curd mass.
Nishalda is an airy and viscous white halva.
Parvarda is caramel. The dish also exists in other oriental cuisines.
Useful properties of Uzbek cuisine
Uzbek cuisine is fabulously rich not only in meat dishes, but also in salads. In addition, traditions are sacredly honored here, they fast, and they regularly consume healthy foods made from the grains of sprouted wheat or steamed dishes. Moreover, Uzbeks love fermented milk foods, preparing all kinds of independent delicacies from them. And they try in every possible way to avoid excessively fatty foods.
All this, one way or another, affects the quality of their life, the average duration of which has increased by 10 years in just the last half century. Today, according to this criterion, Uzbekistan ranks among the three leaders among the CIS countries with an indicator of 73,3 years. In addition, more than 1,5 thousand people live here, whose age has passed a hundred years.