Manti (meat dumplings) is the most popular and favorite Uzbek dish. In the Fergana valley, Samarkand, Tashkent and Bukhara, Manti is one of the major components of the diet of the local population. In other places, it is prepared on special occasions. The dish is juicy, flavorful, scrumptious and completely depends on fresh ingredients. It does take about 4 hours to make, from starting the dough until you taste your first deliciously luscious manta (manti is plural of manta).
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.
Not for nothing people from all over the world like and honor the Uzbek cuisine. It is one of the most savoury and various in tastes cuisine in Central Asia. Only names of appetizing Uzbek food make one’s mouth water. Plov, manti, shurpa, shashlik, lagman, samsa have such wonderful smell that one can’t resist the temptation to taste all these dishes piping hot.
Many Uzbek recipes have centuries-old history, and the process of preparing food is accompanied with various rituals, which have reached our days. All specific peculiarities of Uzbek food have been forming for centuries.
National Uzbek food is the separate layer of culture of Uzbek people. Unlike their nomadic neighbors, Uzbek people always were a settled nation, which cultivated agriculture and cattle-raising. At their fertile valleys Uzbek people raised vegetables, fruits and cereals; they bred cattle, which were the source of meat, the abundance of which can be seen in most dishes. Undoubtedly, Uzbek food imbibed some culinary traditions of Turkic, Kazakh, Uigur, Tajik, Tatar, Mongolian and other neighboring nations, settled on the territory of Central Asia.
Among dishes taken from other nations there are roast, kebab, bogursak, straws, pelmeni (meat dumpling), manti, lagman and etc. However in turn such native Uzbek food as plov, dimlama, buglama, shurpa, mastava and many others are served at tables of many countries of the world. Due to warm climate rich harvests of grain and legumes (green gram, pea) are gathered, and great variety of fruits, vegetables, grape, watermelons, melons, gourds, greens, berries and nuts raise here. All this gastronomical splendor is used in preparation of Uzbek food.
Pastry and sour-milk dishes take an important place in Uzbek food. The national Uzbek food is characterized with wide use of meat: mutton, beef and horse meat. By the way, different regions of the country cook in their own way. On the north the preference is given to plov, roasted meat, pastry and lepeshka (bread). On the south people prepare wide variety of complex dishes of rice and vegetables and also make excellent desserts.
Uzbeks generally eat by hand and sit at the floor or at the low table – dastarkhan. At the beginning the table is served with sweets and fruits. Later it is served with vegetables and salads. Then it is the turn of soups – savory shurpa, thick mastava, etc. Repast is finished with main dishes – manti, lagman, shashlik and plov.
Uzbek food is probably one of the main sights of Uzbekistan, which will become the discovery for all gourmets.
Have you tried our national dish?" is a common expression of genuine Uzbek hospitalityand The Uzbek cuisine is truly very traditional and there are over thousands of recipes that you will find yourself browsing through as Uzbeks are lovers of their food and quite proud of their authentic traditional cuisine.Travel to Uzbekistan, Tour to UzbekistanFor many travellers non (nan) bread and fruit are the twin fat-free saviours of Uzbek cuisine. A bazaar has no claim to the name without baskets and prams of warm, fragrant, crispily-crusted yet soft-centred non. For legend claims rulers once paid the minters of coins in non, while the 1lth-cenmry scientist Avicenna recommended non and pilaf as cures for any debilitating disease. Wheatflour dough, sprinkled with sesame (kalonji) or poppy seeds, is thrust against the clay walls of a tandyr oven, falling only when baked to perfection. Besides the common variety of flatbreads, obi- or uy-non, (lepyoshka in Russian), fancier types are called patyr, baked from puff pastry flavoured with mutton fat to preserve freshness. Samarkand boasts over 20 different varieties of поп, colourfully patterned as gifts for special occasions.
The process of cooking pilaf resembles a sacred ritual. To cook a good pilaf you will need a pig-iron cauldron with a round bottom and a set of sharp knives for peeling, cutting and chopping meat, onions and carrots and a special kind of skimmers called kyapkir. A team of assistants peels and slices onions and shreds carrots. The best carrots for pilaf are yellow and not orange ones.Wash rice three times and soak it in warm salted water for some 40 minutes. On festive occasions when up to 200 kg of rice is used it is soaked for 2-3 hours.In a very hot cauldron, heat fat of sheep's tail or oil till it starts to emit white smoke. Fry onion in boiling oil and then add meat. Both mutton and beef can be used for pilaf, and sometimes even horse meat which is used for making sausage called kazy is added into some varieties of pilaf. Fry the meat until crust is formed. Add carrots, fry them slightly and pour some water into the cauldron. Stew this mixture called zirvak on a slow fire. A cooked zirvak seasoned with salt, ground or whole cayenne, cumin seed and dried barberries must be transparent and emit a distinct flavour of onion, meat and carrots.Finally comes the decisive moment - putting of rice into pilaf.Place rice onto the meat and carrots mixture in an even layer and pour enough water so that its surface is some 2-2.5 cm higher that the surface of rice. When all water evaporates, make some holes in the rice with a thin wooden stick and pour a little water into them.
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