What do they eat: Kyrgyzstan
Locates at the crossroads of the Silk Road, the Kyrgyz region used to meet many trade caravans from distant countries, they left behind not only a camel hoof prints, but also echoes of cultures and traditions from around the world, including gastronomic staples.
The infusion of "investment" in the form of foreign recipes, oddly enough, did not become the starting point for the formation of Kyrgyz cuisine. Common nomadic past of two nations unavoidably affected the national food features: some dishes do not differ in names. Purely national Kyrgyz dishes also exist and are well welcomed by the population. This, for instance, kemecse-nan, a small sweet scone backed in the ash, which is served poured with hot milk and suzma, a substance similar to liquid cheese.
Kyrgyzstan is the country of meat eaters, particularly, fans of lamb. In past horse meat had a trophy and was considered a top-end product in the diet of every local resident. Over time, lamb meat replaced horse meat in most dishes, and "refreshed" the ancient recipes. Thus, lamb is used to cook a traditional kebab, pilaf, soups and broths; during long years of wandering in the steppes, the Kyrgyz people honed cooking skills to perfection.
The traditional cuisine is not limited to meat delights only. Rice is a trump card in many Asian foods, Kyrgyzstan is no exception. Dairy products also constitute a large part of the diet: kymyz (fermented mare’s milk) is a low-alcohol drink is hold in high esteem since it can be drunk in any quantity without risking to oversaturate stomach. Various types of milk, cow, goat and sheep, suit taste of representatives of the nomadic people. Using them alone or in blends, local chefs create sour drink ayran, cottage cheese and boiled clotted cream called kaiman.
In addition to the products of animal origin, the national cuisine also welcomes crops: wheat and highland barley, a mixture of which makes the basis for sour soups with the addition of malt.
Let’s join the Kyrgyz dinner and take a look at the most popular delicacies which, moreover, are very unusual in terms of serving. We begin, as expected, with the first course. Widely revered hot dish in Kyrgyzstan is shorpo based on broth and garnished with lamb and vegetables. If you want something more nutritious, you can taste the soup kuurma-shorpo with pre-fried vegetables and meat or tuurama-shorpo enriched with meatballs and beans.
Dishes of main course in the local cuisine are often made from meat, poultry, offal, fish, cereals, flour and vegetables, adding fresh herbs to taste. Thus, among the most "in-demand" dishes of the Kyrgyz menu there were hearty appetizers kuiruk-boor, that is boiled liver with vegetables richly seasoned with herbs, and braised lamb rolls kaburga.
The children of steppe have particular weakness for sausages - asip from lamb meat, and chuchuk from horse meat, which are often served with scones. A popular method of cooking the last is the traditional oven tandoori, in which food gets delicious crisp. So, in the tandoori they bake familiar to each local inhabitant scones, as well as local bread - nan. In general, scones, as well as the vegetables and herbs, are served for most of the dishes to accompany high-calorie fatty foods.
Kyrgyz cuisine is one of the few which can boast of its variety of dumplings. So local chefs delight fans of "meat in a coat" with big dumplings called khoshali, as well as manty, based on fatty minced meat. The local ashkane or cuisine, is impossible without very original dish. Unusual in taste and difficult in cooking, a flaky dish ashlyam-fu is in power of only skilful cook. It is created from a mix of colours and flavour combinations, based on noodles, fried eggs, meat jelly and fusion of various herbs. With regard to the celebrations, the central place on the holiday table is given to gulchitai - boiled lamb meat with chopped greens placed on the table on the large square noodles.
Having enjoyed a variety of first and second courses, it is time to sample disserts. Halva, sherbet, baked apples in jelly shyrin-alma, whipped eggs with sugar kuyma-kant, candied peaches… it is not the entire list of sweet abundance. No less popular in Kyrgyzstan is samsa, it is a pie with filling; pretzels tan-mosho fried in oil - that's really a paradise for lovers of freshly-baked pastry.
Nothing pairs better with pastry than good tea. Hot drink for the Turkish people is not just an empty word, but a collective concept of useful and pleasant pastime. How to make excellent tea, the Kyrgyz are aware firsthand, and in this case they even can compete with the Brits. The country of mountains and winds drinks it in the morning, afternoon and evening, and depending on the mood, situation, or just following the inner urge, they dilute it with cream and milk. Undoubtedly, the representatives of the local ethnic group created their recipe of noble drink with ingredients that will be appreciated by even a demanding gourmet. The traditional recipe of a "strong" kuurma tea includes: mutton fat or butter, sour cream and salt. If you are not ready for such an unusual tea, one can taste its sweet and more conventional analogue called bal: water with honey, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, bay leaf and cloves.
Residents of Kyrgyzstan are a very hospitable people, ready to invite even a casual traveller to share their meals.