Cookbook

A Selection of Our Favorite Kyrgyz Dishes

Окрошка — Akroshka (Cold Kefir Soup)

(6 servings)
2 bottles kefir
2 – 3 cooked potatoes, diced
6 radishes, sliced
3 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
4 cucumbers, diced
1 cup diced ham or sausage (optional) 1⁄2 – 1 cup chopped dill or cilantro
Mix all ingredients and serve.

Борщ — Borscht (Beet Soup)

(6 servings)
For veggie Borscht, leave out beef.

1⁄2 kilo beef, cut into chunks
1 tbs of sunflower oil
1⁄2 kilogram raw beets, peeled and grated 2 carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄4 head of cabbage, finely chopped 1 basil leaf
5 cups stock
2 – 3 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup sour cream, to serve

Cover beef chunks with flower, cook in oil until evenly browned. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add beets, carrots, onion, garlic, cabbage, basil, and lemon juice to broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add extra lemon juice, if necessary. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve with a spoonful of sour cream swirled through.

Щи Постные — Cabbage Soup

(6 servings)
Add diced tomatoes or chopped potatoes to make this soup heartier.

3 – 4 liters of any soup stock
Several carrots, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1⁄2 kilogram cabbage, shredded
Salt, pepper and other spices to taste

Bring stock to a boil. Sauté carrots and onions in a frying pan for about 10 minutes. Add cabbage to stock. Bring to a boil again and add sautéed vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. 5 to 10 minutes before it is finished, season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

Беш бармак — Besh Barmak

(12 servings)
This dish is translated literally as ―five fingers‖ because it‘s traditionally eaten by hand and served for guests. The meat is brought out first and several guests will slice it. Meanwhile the noodles are boiled in the mutton stock for about 2 minutes and then served immediately on a large deep platter with the stock. Guests will place their meat atop the noodles and usually eat from a communal dish by hand.

3 kilograms mutton with bones
1 1⁄2 kilograms onions, thinly sliced 4 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tsps salt
1 egg, beaten
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 cup of warm water

Place mutton and onion in large pot or kazan and cover with water. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Boil until tender, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare noodles. Sift flour and salt into large bowl and make a well in center. Pour egg and 1⁄4 cup water into center of flour. Mix with hands, adding water by the tbs until dough forms but is not sticky. Knead 3 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll into long, thin noodles, adding more flour if necessary. Remove mutton from pot or kazan. Drop noodles into mutton stock and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon. Place noodles in deep dish with stock. Top with mutton and serve.

Фунчёза — Funchoza (Starch Noodle Salad)

(6 servings)
1⁄2 kilo meat of choice, cut into small pieces 1 package funchoza noodles (starch noodles)
2 – 3 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, finely julienne
2 sweet peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 turnip, chopped
2 – 3 tbs vegetable oil
Salt, pepper, and other spices to taste

Heat oil in a fry pan, and fry meat, adding onions after 5 minutes. Add carrots and turnips and fry for 10-15 minutes. Add pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and spices. Fry for 5 minutes. Boil 1⁄2 liter of water and pour into a pot (not on the stove). Add funchoza noodles and cook for 5-7 minutes. Combine noodles, vegetables, and meat mixture. Serve at room temperature.

Лагман — Lagman

(4 servings)
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 kilogram beef or mutton, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, julienne
1 onion, sliced
1 medium green turnip, julienne
1 red chili pepper, diced
1⁄2 bell pepper, julienne
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1⁄2 cup chopped green onion tops or other greens
8 cups water
3 tsp lagman spice package
3 tbs tomato paste
1 12-ounce package spaghetti noodles or fresh noodles Hot chili paste

Heat oil over high heat in large heavy pot. Add meat and sauté until just browned, about 3 minutes. Add next 7 ingredients and sauté until crisp tender, about 20 minutes. Add water to vegetable mixture and bring to boil. Stir in spices and tomato paste. Season to taste with salt. Reduce heat and simmer until paste dissolves, about 3 more minutes. Meanwhile cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Divide pasta among bowls and top with vegetable mixture. Serve.

Манты — Manti (Steamed Dumplings)

(8 servings)
These dumplings can be filled with diced pumpkin or potatoes if you‘d like. You‘ll need a tiered steamer, made of bamboo or aluminum, which is available at most bazaars.

1 kilo mutton or beef, finely diced (You can substitute pumpkin filling to make veggie manti)
2 onions, finely diced
1⁄2 cup mutton or beef fat, diced, or sunflower oil
5 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
l egg, beaten
1⁄2 – 3⁄4 cup of warm water

Combine meat, onions and fat in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Sift flour and salt into large bowl and make a well in center. Pour egg and 1⁄2 cup water into center of flour. Mix with hands, adding remaining water by the tbs until dough forms but is not sticky. Knead dough 1 minute; let rest 30 minutes. Transfer dough to floured board or table and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 1⁄8- inch thickness. Cut into squares, 4 inches by 4 inches. Place about 1 tbs meat mixture atop each square. To make dumplings: fold 2 diagonal corners together and press to hold. Repeat with remaining 2 corners. Next, press 2 newly created corners on the same side together. Repeat with 2 corners on other side. Repeat with remaining dough squares. Fill bottom of steamer with water. Place dumplings on steaming trays, spaced evenly apart, and steam over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Пельмени — Pelmeni (Boiled Dumplings)

(8 servings)
Most Kyrgyz families own a hand-cranked meat grinder, so it‘s easy to buy a good cut of meat and make your own ground beef or mutton. To make Potato Vareniki, replace the meat with mashed potatoes and omit 1 onion.

1 kilo mutton or beef, ground
2 onions, finely diced
1⁄2 cup mutton or beef fat, diced, or sunflower oil 5 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
l egg, beaten
1⁄2 – 3⁄4 cup of warm water

Combine meat, onions and fat in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Sift flour and salt into large bowl and make a well in center. Pour egg and 1⁄2 cup water into center of flour. Mix with hands, adding remaining water by the tbs until dough forms but is not sticky. Knead dough 2 minutes; let rest 30 minutes. Transfer dough to floured board or table and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 1⁄8- inch thickness. Use a small glass to cut dough into circles. Place 1⁄2 tbs meat mixture atop dough. Dip fingers in warm water and fold dough into half moon shape. Bring corners together pinch to hold. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until they float to the top, about 10 minutes. Serve in a broth or separately topped with sour cream or butter or chili paste.

Плов — Plov

(4 servings)
3 tbs sunflower oil
1⁄2 kilogram beef or mutton, cut into small cubes
caraway seeds (opt.)
1 large onion, sliced
1⁄2 kilogram carrots, julienne
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves, whole
1⁄2 kilogram of rice, cleaned and soaked for 30 minutes (uzgen rice for best quality)

Heat oil in kazan or deep skillet over medium high heat. Add meat and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add carrots to mixture and sauté 15 more minutes. Add water and rice; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes. Add garlic. Simmer until rice is just tender, about 15 more minutes.

Плов — Southern Plov

5 cups uzgen rice
5 tsp salt
1⁄4- 1⁄2 cup sunflower oil
1⁄2 cup diced carrots, onions and peppers
2 legs of chicken, broken down into thighs, wings, etc. 6 cloves garlic, peeled
1⁄2 raisins
1 pinapple, chopped (optional)
1⁄4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 bay leaf

Soak rice in salt water for 2 hours. Fill large pot with 2-3 centimeters with oil. Heat on high, add carrots, onions, peppers and chicken. Let soak in oil for 15 minutes until browed and cooked almost all the way through (chicken is no longer bloody). Drain uncooked rice and add so it’s covering all ingredients. Add whole cloves of a garlic and golden raisins. Add pineapple (if using) and maple syrup or honey. Add cold water so rice is covered and bay leaf. Cover and don’t stir for 10 minutes. At this point, rice and cloves should be getting soft. Stab into rice with fork and cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Самсы — Samsa

(8 servings)
2 cups of flour
1 egg
Melted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
crushed red pepper (kalimpir)
3 – 4 cups ground beef or mutton 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt
Black pepper

Dissolve 2 tbs salt in warm water. Beat egg and mix with flour. Gradually add the salt water to the flour until the dough holds together and doesn‘t stick. Set aside in a covered bowl for 20 minutes. Mix meat, onions, garlic, salt, black pepper and kalimpir together. Roll the dough out into a large disk about 1⁄4-inch thick. Spread a thin layer of butter onto disk, and then roll up into a long tube (as if you were making cinnamon rolls). Cut tube into 3 inch sections, and roll each out with a rolling pin. Each section should be an 1⁄8 to 1⁄4-inch thick. This will create fine layers in the pastry. Put 1-2 tbs of the meat mixture onto the dough and fold opposite ends together to make a little triangle package. Repeat with remaining sections of dough. Bake on a greased cookie dough sheet at medium heat for 40-50 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the dough is brown.

Шашлык — Shashlik

(6 servings)
1 kilo chicken, pork or beef
Shashlik or Roast Chicken seasoning packet
1 bottle of kefir
shashlik accoutrement (pokers, grill, fire, etc.)

Cut the meat into medium-sized to bite-sized chunks. Put them in a large bowl and add the spices and Kefir. Let the meat marinate for two to four hours. Then fill as many shashlik pokers as you have meat. Shashlik is best cooked over coals. Feel free to make them more like shish-kabobs, adding vegetables or fruits. Serves well over rice.