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.

The King “Palov” – a symbol of Uzbek hospitality!!!


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.

In various regions of Uzbekistan, people have their own recipes of Uzbek plov preparation. For instance, Bukharan people prepare plov with green gram. Samarkand plov is light, Fergana plov is brown on the contrary. In Samarkand people put meat, carrot, rice in layers and steam it. In Tashkent plov all ingredients are roasted at the beginning.

Commonly Uzbek plov is cooked with rice, fresh mutton or beef, yellow or red carrot, onions and vegetable oil. Traditionally, Uzbek plov is prepared in a deep cast-iron pot (kazan), which is uniformly warmed and a dish is not burnt.  

Main meat dishes of Uzbek cuisine 

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It is impossible to imagine the Uzbek food without meat. Traditionally, mutton is the most popular meat among Uzbek people. Beef is used rarer and horse meat is used for preparation of traditional sausage – kazy. People of coastal regions also use fish. As well as in other Muslim nations, pork is prohibited. Traditional Uzbek meat dishes include cutlets (tukhum-dulma), shashlik (kebab), stewed meat with greens (kazan-kabob), cold meat snacks (kavurdak and khasib), roasted meat (jarkop), layered meat and vegetables stewed (dimlama) and others. Usually Uzbek meat dishes are served with fresh vegetable salads or stewed with vegetables. During the preparation of major dishes meat is not separated from bones. To improve the taste, it is roasted in tempered cottonseed or sunflower oil. Some meat dishes are steamed.

Uzbek cuisine – traditional floury dishes

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Floury dishes take almost a half of all Uzbek food. The most popular pastry is made from fresh dough, however, yeast dough is also used for cooking, especially for baking in a tandoor. In the preparation of the second course dishes made from pastry usually used such methods of cooking as: heat treatment, boiling in water, boiling in broth, in milk, passerovanie, stewing, longing, frying, and frying followed by boiling, etc. The most popular Uzbek floury dishes are samsa, traditional patty cooked from flaky pastry with meat or other filling, manti, steamed patty with meat or other filling, khanum, steamed roll cooked from pastry with meat filling, chuchvara, soup with dumplings, various patties and other dishes. Many Uzbek floury dishes such as samsa are baked in a tandyr oven that provides very high temperature of baking and unique smell and peculiar taste. Noodles are used in many traditional Uzbek floury dishes, both in first and second courses. There are lagman (noodles with thick gravy of meat and vegetables), narin (noodles with spices), kaurma-lagman (fried noodles with meat and vegetables), keskan-osh (noodle soup with sour milk dressing).

Uzbek soups – a storehouse of flavor and taste

Laghman, an Uzbek SpecialtyЛагманdolmashurpa1-small1shurva

Soups are very popular in Uzbekistan and take an important place in national culinary. Uzbek soups are quite thick and rich of such vegetables as carrot, beet, onion, greens and various spices. The most popular Uzbek soup is shurpa. There are dozens of recipes of shurpa: “shurpa-chaban” – soup with meat, potato, onion and tomato, “shurpa-mash” – mutton soup with green gram, “kaurma-shurpa” – soup with turnip, potato and carrot, “kiyma-shurpa” – soup with meatballs, “sholgom-shurpa”- mutton soup with turnip, “kifta-shurpa” – soup with meat sausages, pea and other vegetables, and others.

Another popular Uzbek soup is mastava – soup with meat and vegetables, in which the sour milk, pepper and greens are added at serving. Also not less popular soup is mashkhurda – soup with green gram, rice, potato, which is also dressed with sour milk, greens and onion, and cholop – cold soup with cucumbers, radish, greens and sour milk.

Kabab –  Uzbek cuisine

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Traditional Uzbek bread – flavorful and hearty 

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Bread is sacred by Uzbek people. By a tradition, when someone leaves the house he should bite off a small piece of bread, which will be kept until he comes back and eat it. Uzbek bread, called generally non or lepeshka, is round and flat and is baked in tandyr (clay oven), after which it comes out toasted and crispy. There are two types of lepeshkas (Uzbek bread): plain (obi-non) and festal one (patyr). Also they are differed by fancy, flaky dough, by appearance and taste, they are even differed by regions – Samarkand, Bukhara and others. Each region has own method of leaven, own peculiar technology of baking, own inimitable taste.

For instance, Fergana Valley is famous for the most delicious flaky Uzbek bread – katlama non, each layer of which is smeared with oil or sour cream. Also in some regions lepeshkas are baked with cracklings – jizzali-non, or cooked from maize flour – zogora-non, others leavened on herbal potion – kuk-patyr and many other sorts. Some lepeshkas are prepared with onion or meat, baked in dough.

Traditionally Uzbek bread is never cut with knife. At the start of the meal, it is broken into pieces by hand and placed on the table near each place setting. Do not place Uzbek bread upside down (with its flat side up) it is disrespectfully. Uzbek people consider bread to be greatly respected.

Vegetables and fruits of Uzbekistan – gifts of the sunny country

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One can hardly imagine Uzbek dastarkhan without delicious vegetables and fruits, grown under hot sun in fertile valleys!  Juicy fruits and vegetables on the table – are symbols of abundance and prosperity of the Uzbek people. Uzbek table – dastarkhan is impossible without serving with greens, vegetables, fruits, sunny melons and juicy bunches of grapes. Juicy, fresh, and extremely gentle! Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dishes made from them, play an important role in the human diet. They are the source of vitamins and trace elements, for normal daily eating of a person. Usually, during the summer, local residents start preparation for a winter season in Uzbekistan, they buy fruits and vegetables in large quantities, in order to preserve them, and, thus, provide themselves and their families, as well as guests of the house with healthy nutrients for winter, as well as, with tasty delicacies on dastarkhan.

Sunny Uzbekistan abounds in sweet grapes, honey melons, juicy watermelons, fragrant apricots, pears, ripe apples, quinces, peaches, ebony, pomegranate, figs and various berries. Also Uzbekistan is rich in vegetables and fruits, which are used in many dishes of traditional Uzbek cuisine. Succulent tomato, emerald green cucumber, yellow carrot, radish, garden radish, eggplants, pepper, cabbage, pumpkin perfectly supplement Uzbek dishes. Uzbek vegetables and fruits are used for preparation various salads and snacks. Traditionally, during the summer, Uzbek family members gather togather around the table and serve it with fresh-baked bread and fresh fruits.

Somsa – prince of Uzbek cuisine

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Kazi – horseflesh Uzbek Cuisine


Uzbek spices: the secret of tasty and fragrant dishes

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Uzbek cooks often use various Uzbek spices and greens to prepare delicious and fragrant dishes. Generally, such Uzbek spices as black cumin, black pepper, cayenne (fresh, dried and milled), barberries, coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon and sesame seeds are used in Uzbek food.

The more common herbs are dill, parsley, celery, cilantro, green onions, green garlic, mint, raikhon (basil), and zhambyl (thyme). Garlic, onionand radish are often used for flavor strength, both as ingredients and spicery. The same role have such fruits as quinsy, grains of pomegranate, fresh and dried plum, alcha (wild cherry) and raisins.

Uzbek tea and Uzbek tea traditions

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Tea is the main drink in Uzbekistan. Any meal starts with Uzbek tea and ends with it.The most popular is green tea (kuk-choy). Black tea (kora-choy) is most popular in Tashkent.

Generally, Uzbek tea is taken without sugar. Uzbek tea with sugar has its own name – kand-choy. Frequently various herbals and spices are added to Uzbek tea. In Karakalpakstan people drink tea, both black and green, with milk.

Uzbek tea, as a ceremony, is one of the most wonderful oriental traditions. In any house a guest will be offered a piala (cup) of tea. Green tea is also the sign of hospitality. Beautiful traditions of tea drinking exist not only in China. Uzbek tea drinking also has its own peculiarities and canons.

Brew should be put in warm teapot. Then teapot is filled with boiled water up to half and is held over steam. After the teapot is filled up to ¾ of volume and in 2-3 minutes up to the brim.

The hospitable host brews himself, pours in piala and gives to guests. Traditionally: the more guest is esteemed, the less tea is poured in his piala.

Sweets Uzbek cuisine – gourmet goodies

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Oriental sweets are an integral part of Uzbek food. The most famous oriental sweets are khalva and navat. Khalva, the world-wide known oriental sweet, is prepared from wheat flour, sugar and nuts. Navat is the boiled crystal grape sugar with spices and coloring agents.

Traditional baked goods are also very tasty: zangza curd rolls, kush-tili (fancy figured cakes), katlama – flaky lbread, bugirsok – fancy pastry balls, chak-chak – straws and nuts in sugar. Special place takes behi-dulma (quinsy filled with nuts) and pashmak (peculiar cotton candy).

It is worth to say separately about such oriental sweets as nisholda and sumalyak. Nisholda is the beaten up whites of eggs with sugar and herbs. Sumalyak is the sweet paste made from germinated wheat, which is prepared in a large pot. These foods symbolize Uzbek national holidays. They are traditionally prepared on the eve of Nawruz (Uzbek New Year) and other festivities.



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