As many nations as there are in the world, they have their own national cuisine, which is the core of the national traditions of that nation. Uzbek cuisine has a rich surprising stories and is closely intertwined with Uzbek language, culture and traditions. Uzbek cuisine, unlike other Turkic nations of Central Asia, is various under the influence of diverse nations’ cuisines and cultures. It is clear that in the past centuries, some Uzbek tribes settled, while other who migrated and assimilated foreign cuisine, as a result, the unique diversity of Uzbeks` cuisine was discovered. Due to these connections, Uzbek cuisine is one of the most popular over the map. In Eastern culture, it is a custom to bring a guest to the table with a variety of sweets, jams, white or black tea, desserts. These customs are also very developed among the people of Uzbekistan. This will attract the attention and love of all foreign tourists. In the bellow, you will get a chance to acquaint with a number of Uzbek national dishes:
Pilaf (“Palov” or “plov”) is one of the most popular dishes of Uzbek cuisine, an expression of the hospitality and tolerance of our Uzbek people, the beauty of our table. At the 11th session of the UNESCO Committee, “Pilaf Culture and Traditions” was included in the Representative List as an intangible cultural heritage of humankind. This is another international recognition of the rich culture of our Uzbek people.
Uzbek pilaf is one of Uzbek national dishes. Depending on the variety of cooking method and the ingredients used, palov is divided into more than 40 types. Take an example, fried pilaf, ivitma pilaf, raisin pilaf, pilaf from quail, qazi pilaf (pilaf with horse meat), pilaf with quince, wedding pilaf, minced pilaf, sofaki pilaf (Samarkand region), korma pilaf (Kashkadarya), suzma pilaf (Khorezm), ugra pilaf (Surkhandarya) and many more.
Pilaf is a part of Uzbek culture. Not just the culture of the kitchen, but also the culture of the morality and values as well. The reason is that Pilaf unites all people, nations as in Uzbek tradition, people gather around the table then ready pilaf in the big plate is consumed mainly by hand. Potters even make special big plates for pilaf. The secret is that the plate does not burn the hands and does not cool the food quickly. In ancient times, potters wrote notes about “consumption morality” on the big deep plates.
It should be noted that pilaf is included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Moreover, for the first time 6 tons of pilaf was prepared under Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine On August 17, 2017 in Almalyk in Tashkent region. On September 8, 2017, pilaf was prepared in a huge pot with a capacity of more than 7 tons to update the Guinness Book of Records for pilaf, as well as a national festival was organized under the auspices of National TV channel in Sayilgoh Street in Tashkent. Finally, 9 tons of pilaf was prepared and the record was updated in Denov district of Surkhandarya region on January 14, 2018.
It is vital to know that pilof is divided into different types according to the ingredients and method of preparation and is prepared differently in each country. The basis of the dish is rice. In addition to these ingredients, butter, meat, carrots, onions and other ingredients are used. Pilaf is popular among Central Asian and Middle Eastern nations for its preparation and consumption. In particular, Uzbek pilaf is one of the main and favourite dishes of cuisine in Uzbekistan and it is consumed with the great desire in every home, at weddings and in many countries of the world.
Pilof has long been prepared in all kinds of weddings, parties, celebrations and hospitality in Central Asia. Making pilaf is turned to one of the characteristics of Uzbeks, especially men, the reason is that Uzbek men gather with their friends in Choyxona (teahouse) for communication and to have a rest and consume pilaf.
Tasty Uzbek bread
Bread is a dish made by heating, steaming or frying dough. Bread consists of at least flour and water; salt and yeast are often added. Sometimes sugar, spices, fruits (such as apples, nuts), and vegetables (such as onions) are added to bread. Bread is made differently in different regions.
Nowadays, a variety of bread are produced that based on the historical spirituality of the population in each country. Generally, there are a wide range of baking methods of bread among local people in Uzbekistan as well as in Central Asian countries. For this reason, baking bread is divided into several categories. Like for instance, Patir bread, Samarkand bread, baked bread and many more. As bread is main source of food, it would be present on the table three times every day in Uzbek houses and it is really well liked by local and foreign people as well.
There are several types of bread depending on the technology of preparation in Uzbek cuisine. For instance, obi bread, gijda bread, patir bread, shirmoy bread and many more. In the preparation of Obi bread (watery bread), the dough is mainly mixed with wheat flour, yeast and salt. Obi bread is characterized by relatively loose dough and small size of the dough. In the gijda method, the dough is mixed with wheat flour, yeast and salt and then kneaded for a long time. In Gijda, the dough is harder and the bread is thicker.
Bread is a symbol of the highest hospitality and sanctity, and the development of bakery skills and technological improvements over the centuries resulted in the creation of dozens of obi, gijda, patir, and shirmoy breads. In different regions of Uzbekistan, a variety together with that unique of breads are made: obinon, jaydari, sedan, meat, fatly bread, jizzali, onion, ordinary oily, kashgar, fat-free, layered patties and many more.
Somsa is a type of dough meal. In Uzbek cuisine, somsa is usually made in a round shape by baking in tandir (looks like 1m high huge jug). Nowadays, it is baked in gas ovens in the form of triangles and rectangles too. To make somsa, dough, onion, meat, salt, yolk are required. Somsa is often eaten with vinegar, tomato paste and vegetable oil. Tandir samsa is a favourite meal of Uzbeks as it is consumed in the form of fast food but it is healthier. Moreover, it is easy to find samsa making kitchens in the public places (residential and working areas, bazaars) all over Uzbekistan.
For some types of somsa is used raised and sometimes unleavened dough is prepared, and before being baked, the preheated oven is sprinkled with brine (in some cases, the oven is greased). Depending on the ingredients, there are different types of somsa, such as minced meat, meaty, layered, green grass, pumpkin, mint, potato somsas and many more.
Manti (big dumpling) is a dish made of finely chopped meat in a thinly spread dough prepared by steaming in a manti kaskan. This dish is also available in the cuisines of the world and differs from each other with additional ingredients and spices but is similar to each other. This dish is a traditional meat meal of the nations of Central Asia, Turkey, Mongolia, Korea, Tatarstan and Crimea.
Soup is a liquid type of meal that is divided into fried and boiled soups according to the method of preparation. There are more than 20 types of soups depending on the ingredients, and they are differ from each other. The most common type of Uzbek national soup is Uzbek jug soup: in its preparation, meat and ribs are placed in a ceramic jug, followed by other vegetables without onion. Then onion is added so that the onion is not crushed. Finally, the jar is filled with water. The jug is filled with ingredients and water is placed in an iron oven or on an electric stove where the jug can be placed. First, it is boiled over high heat, then simmered over low heat. As the water in the jars decreases during boiling, a little boiling water is added. When the water starts to boil, the soup foam is removed.
Mastava is a soup with rice. In fact, mastava is a dish made by boiling rice with sour cream and yogurt. Currently, mastava is made from carrots, onions, rice and other ingredients. The main type of mastava is made by boiling minced mutton: small meatballs mixed with onion and pepper. Mastava is filtered into bowls, sprinkled with cilantro and pepper and served. Yogurt is served in a separate bowl.
Moshkhorda is a soup with mug bean and rice with a variety of vegetables. It is one of Uzbek dishes that is served every day and served to guests. This dish is very tasty and healthy. Moshkhordani is served with yogurt in a separate bowl.
Chuchvara (small dumpling) is a dough smaller than manti, made with minced meat. It can be consumed both by boiling itself, or making even dumplings soup.
Kebab or (“barbeque”,“shashlik”) – meat dish divided into cubs in the skewer and it is made over heated charcoal. It is traditionally minced and cut to medium size. Kebab is made from beef, mutton and chicken. There are also vegetable kebabs for vegetarians, which are also very popular (tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, potatoes and conditions). Kebab is a favourite dish of nations of Central Asia, the Middle East and Caucasus.
Uzbek kazan-kabob is a dish of fried meat in vegetable oil and fried a small potato until it turns to golden brow. The meat is pre-marinated in dry or sour marinade. There are three types of kazan kebabs: mutton, poultry (mainly chicken) and beef.
Sumalak is a type of dessert made by Central Asians, as well as other Turkic and Persian nations, on the days of Navruz (also known as the spring national holiday, New Year’s Day). It is mainly made from young stalks of wheat, flour and oils. Also, according to some national traditions, it is made with stones or walnuts. And boiled for 1 day.
Uzbek national sweets:
Halva is made by adding a syrup made from sugar or honey with butter, sesame seeds, walnut kernels, almond kernels, flour and other ingredients.
Nishalda is a dessert made on national holidays.
Novvot is a shiny crystal, hard, colorless or yellowish dessert made from sugar syrup.
Chakchak is a type of dessert made from dough with honey.