Cooking and Recipes

There is a Kazakh restaurant in Arlington, Virginia called Cafe Assorti. The address is 1800 Wilson Blvd. I would love to hear from anyone who has been.

Kazakhstan Recipes [external link], a Yahoo group "started to help those of us with Kazakh families find Kazakh recipes in one location and to learn more about the culture." You should also check out the Yahoo group Russian, Ukraine, & Georgian cooking [external link]: the messages are available to the public.

You will find that some of these recipes are the same on different sites. I have been told that 1 piala is equal to 250 g.; you will find this measurement in many of the recipes.

A Kazakh Feast [external link]: description.

Recipe for Beshbarmak [external link]: meaning "five fingers" the way it is eaten. It is basically noodles, meat (traditionally horse), potatoes, and onions cooked in beef broth.

Russian Foods [external link] has 17 recipes for Kazakh dishes. Use them at your own risk as I have been told, by someone from Kazakhstan, that they are not very accurate. Baursaki (small fried doughnuts), Beet Kvas, Beverage (Too-gulyu), Chuk-chuk (delicious sweets), Fish Cutlets, Kazakh Salad, Kazakh Surpa (broth made from lamb), Kespe with meat (noodle soup with lamb), Khe (fish appetizer), Kumis (drink from milk), Kuyrdak from rabbit, Manti, Millet Porridge with Pumpkin, Salad Shalgam (radish and vegetables), Stewed Lamb, Tamerlan's Pilaf.

Eating the Kazakh Way [external link]: overview and recipe for basturma.

Astray [external link]: gutap (deep-fried herb fritters), lamb dumplings, lemon chicken, rice, braised onions and carrots, and spiced lamb with yogurt. They also have 346 Russian [external link] and 3 Uzbek [external link] recipes.

From RecipeSource [external link] (formerly SOAR):
Kazakh Rice [external link] from a chef in Almaty.
Kazakh Lamb Dumplings [external link].
Kazakh Lemon Chicken [external link] from a chef at the Hotel Otrar in Almaty.
Uzbek Palov [external link] from a chef at Medeo.
Gutap [external link] - Kazakh deep-fried herb fritters.
Russian recipes [external link].

Search for Caspian Caviar [external link] recipes from Bon Appetit: Buttermilk-Herb Pancakes topped with Caviar, Green Salad with Caviar and Smoked Salmon, Potato Salad with Creamy Caviar Dressing, Seared Scallops with Leeks and Caviar Sauce, Seared Scallops with Creme Fraoche amd Caviar, Roasted Potato Slices with Caviar, Black and Gold Pizzas, and Caviar Pie.

Pelmeni [external link], a traditional Russian dish that is made in many Kazakstani homes.

Delicacies of Horseflesh [external link]: Sorry, I just had to put this one in here; 3 recipes.

Authentic Russian Cuisine [external link] has recipes, a forum, and an e-mail newsletter. Search the library for 12 Kazakh recipes. Chai (tea), Shashlik (lamb dish), Tkemali (sauce), Kotlety Pozharskie (chicken dish), Balyk Sorpa, Fruited Rice with Mushrooms and Almonds, Kirghiz Baked Beef, Gutap (deep-fried herb fritters), Samsa, Khormya (spiced lamb with yogurt), Kazakh Noodles, Pisken Balyk (boiled fish).

"Traditional Kazakh belief held that separate spirits inhabited and animated the earth, sky, water, and fire, as well as domestic animals. Up to this day, particularly honored guests (primarily in rural settings) are treated to a feast of freshly killed lamb. The guests are sometimes asked to bless the lamb and to ask its spirit for permission to taste its flesh. Besides lamb, many other traditional foods retain symbolic value in Kazakh culture. Since old times hospitality has been the most distinctive feature of the Kazakh people. The guest is always given a cordial welcome and offered a place of honor at the table. In the first instance the guest is treated with kumys, shubat or airan, then tea with milk or cream, baursaks , a type of bread which is usually baked in the form of flat cakes, raisins, irimshik and kurt. Then follow appetizers made of horseflesh or mutton - kazy, karta, shuzhuk, zhai, zhaya, sur-yet, kaburga, etc. The adornment of any dastarkhan and the main traditional dish is Beshparmak. Boiled meat is usually served in large pieces. The pelvic bone and shin are given to elderly guests of honor, the brisket goes to the son-in-law, the cervical vertebra - to girls and so on. To the guest of honor ranking highest among the others the host hands over the sheep's head cooked in a special way. The guest of honor distributes it among those present observing a special ritual which reflects the ancient custom of respectful attitude towards guests: old men, children, close and distant relatives. The fragrant meat is eaten with rolled and boiled small pieces of dough. An excellent addition to this dish is the saturated fragrant meat broth called sorpa, which is usually served in pialas. At the end of the meal kumys is served, which is again followed by tea. The present day Kazakh cuisine includes not only traditional Kazakh dishes but also dishes of Uzbek, Uigur, Russian, Tatar, Korean and other cuisine. Kazakhs have accumulated much experience in processing and cooking meat and milk dishes, the present day life has expanded this set with dishes made of vegetables, fruits, fish, sea products, various cakes and sweets. Nevertheless, meat remains the most popular food ingredient in the national cuisine. Meat is the basis of the majority of dishes. Meat dishes are a sign of a festive table's (dastarkhan) richness and diversity. In the traditional Kazakh cuisine preference has always been given to boiling. This process allows to obtain soft and delicate gustatory shades of meat, adds juiciness and fragrance to it. Long-term preservation of food was given a special importance. During live-stock slaughter a part of meat was salted, dried, and sometimes smoked. There are a number of delicacies made of horse meat: kazy, shuzhuk, zhal, zhaya, karta, and other." Previously on the Gateway to Kazakhstan.

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Kazakhstan Embassy [external link] recipes: Pumpkin Samsa, Kazakhstan Salad, Fish a la Irtysh, and Kespe a la Kazakh (noodles).

Recipe Center [external link] has 5 Kazakh recipes: Gutap, Lamb dumplings, Lemon Chicken, and Rice.

Chef 2 Chef [external link] has 7 recipes: Chai, Plov, Gutap (2 recipes), Lamb Dumplings, Lemon Chicken, and Rice.

Eastern European Cooking [external link] from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh doesn't list any Kazakh sources, but it is still an interesting site.

Shurpa [external link] (hearty spiced lamb soup)

Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook link in new window by Anya Von Bremsen and John Welchman, published November 1990
"Please to the Table encompasses the exhilarating pleasures of Soviet cooking - of robust Ukrainian borschts and classic Russian cuisine, and healthy Georgian grains and yogurts and the deliciously perfumed pilafs of Azerbaijan. Its 400 recipes are a revelation." "Winner of the 1990 James Beard Food and Beverage Book Award."

Kazakh Beef Soup [external link] by an adoptive mom.

The Kazakh kitchen [external link]: recipes in Russian.

Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey link in new window by Najmieh K. Batmanglik, published June 2002
"Iranian-born Batmanglij, author of several other books on Persian food, has spent a good part of the last 25 years traveling the ancient "Silk Road," the spice and trade route from China through the Middle East to Italy. Because of economic realities, the fare native to those countries has been vegetable-based, so Batmanglij concentrates on that here, though her book will certainly appeal to nonvegetarians as well. She presents diverse and wide-ranging recipes, both familiar and exotic, from Alexandrian Spicy Fava Bean Spread to Afghan Garlic Chive Ravioli, among many others, set against a background of culinary and cultural history. More than 250 color photographs, including some great portraits of people whom Batmanglij met in her travels, furnish additional context. Strongly recommended." My local paper featured this cookbook one day and recommeds it as well.

Plov [external link] (Uzbek-style rice pilaf) from Gumbopages.

Recipe Land [external link]: Search for "Kazakh" (gutap, lamb dumplings, lemon chicken, rice), "Kazakhstan" (kirghiz baked beef, tkemali), "Central Asian" (Central Asian garlic pilaf), "Uzbek" (home style bread, palov), and "Uzbekistan" (tart kebab sauce, liula-kebab) You can also search by category for "Ethnic: Russian" (78 recipes) "Uzbekh" (lamb with chestnuts and pomegranates, lamb, raisin, & bean polov).

Russian Regional Recipes by Susan Ward, published in 2003, ISBN 1931040249. It is divided up into Moscow/St. Petersburg, From Russia's Heartland, Westward from the Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), From Farmland and Breadbasket (Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova), From Sunny Lands between the Seas (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) and The Steppes of Tartary (Central Asia and Kazakhstan). It has a brief description of each area, and pictures of some of the recipes. Best of all, ingredients are listed in metric and US measurements. I have several copies of this available, just e-mail me [e-mail link]. I found mine at Half Price books; you can also find it by searching Barnes & Noble or Advanced Book Exchange.

Tasty Cooking [external link] has recipes for lemon chicken and gutap. This site also has recipes from Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

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Description of Dastarhan previously on the Kazakhstan President's web site.

Kazakh dastarkhan has a long story of its own, its own traditions, its specifics inherent to Kazakh nation only, known for a quite particular manner of receiving and serving guests.

The part tea plays in the Kazakh dastarkhan is altogether remarkable. In fact any Kazakh feast invariably starts with a minutely itemized process of tea drinking. The host welcomes his guests, invites them to the table. Incidentally, it is only up to girls and young women to pour the tea. And they do this wonderfully though it is far from easy. For one should see to it that the guests' drinking bowls be always full, there must be no confusing them, there must be no tea leafs remains on the edge of the bowls. Even if the guest gives to understand that he has already quenched his thirst he must not be left unattended - the hostess must offer him a so-called "sui-ayak" - a tea bowl of honour. Tea is normally accompanied with cream, butter, jam, dried and fresh fruit, nuts, cakes, other sweetmeals. Tea is but an introduction, an invitation to a capital meal - a festive feast.

First they serve all sorts of appetizers, mostly meat ones - prepared of horse flesh and mutton. They are quite plentiful and their diversity is just as great, all made of smoked, semi-smoked and boiled meat. Added thereto are flat cakes and such milk tonics as koumyss, shubat and katyk... They are followed with vegetable titbits with envariable flat cakes. Next the guests are treated with a kuyrdak - a hot rich roast meat prepared of mutton by - products mostly of liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and tail's fat.

After a small break the guests are treated with all sorts of patties: "samsa"- with meat, "puktermet"- with by- products, "belyashes", "kausyrma" and all.

Finally there comes the capital treat - besbarmak. First they cover a large round or oval dish with small round flat pieces of boiled paste followed by small bars of boiled horse-meat or mutton, then comes onion cut in rings and scalded with hot broth, all this strewn with a green mixture of fennel, parsley and kinza.

The most honoured guest is usually offered a koy-bas (a boiled sheep's head). The guest is to dress it and distribute among the other participants to the dastarkhan. One should mind that each part of the head is attached particular significance and meaning: young men are treated with ears for them to be attentive, girls - with a palate (it is believed that this would make them more diligent). The head having been divided the host proceeds with cutting meat on the main dish and shares it with his guests.

Here too one has to mind certain habits and superstitions. For instance, hipbones and crus are offered to most honoured guests while the breastbone goes to the son-in-law or daughter-in-law, cernical vertebra - to married women, pregnant ones first and foremost.

Certain bans are also to be observed. Thus even the most honoured guest may not be treated with a "koy-bas" if his father is present at the table. Children may not be offered brains (they might bacome weak-willed), just as an elbow bone - to a young girl (she might be "left on the shelf").

The meat is usually accomplished with flat cakes with onion (ak nan). A rich broth (sorpa) is poured in separate bowls.

However in many areas of Kazakhstan besbarmak on the dastarkhan is replaced with "kespe", Kazakh noodle soup: in a drinking bowl or a soup-plate they put warmed up noodles and pour tuzdyk on them, a gravy consisting of meat, black radish, sweet pepper, onions, tomatoes and green kinza.

The feast is finalized with a dessert aboundunt in all sorts of sweetmeats.

Silk Road Caravan: Manti [external link]. From the same site: Cheerfully Heretical Borshch [external link] and Lagman [external link].

Authentic Russian Cuisine & Culinary Recipes [external link] is in English with usual measurements.

Central Asian Recipes [external link] on a blog from Kyrgyzstan.

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Page last updated on 30 September 2009.

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