Overview of Uzbek Cuisine History
The culinary history of Uzbekistan reflects much of the influence it has had in its political history over the centuries. Uzbekistan’s freedom-loving population fought for its independence against many foreign invaders. Situated on the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, the region has played a very vital role in the dialogue of different civilizations. The traditional cuisine of the Uzbekistan is quite influenced by its neighboring countries as well as its foreign invaders who brought with them their own culture and traditions to Uzbekistan.
For instance the concept of coffee and tea was brought in by the foreign invaders which now play a great role in the cuisine of Uzbekistan. In the ancient times when Uzbekistan was invaded, there was formed the highest technological culture of those times by the foreign invaders: irrigation system, cultivation of grain, cotton, grapes and fruits. Many spices were brought in by the invaders from India and China which now enhances the cuisine of Uzbekistan. Hence, it has all added both colour and a lot of variety to the Uzbek cuisine today.
Popular Uzbek Recipes
- Behili Palov - Pilaf with Quinces
- Bulgori Dulma - Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Chebureki - Deep-fried Lamb Dumplings
- Karam Dulma - Stuffed Cabbage
- Manty - Uzbek Lamb Dumplings
- Sofakli Palov - Samarkand Pilaf
Cuisines of Uzbekistan
The culture of Uzbekistan is one of the most ancient and refined in Central Asia, yet one particularly distinctive and well-developed part of the Uzbek culture is their lip-licking cuisine. Due to having a settled civilization, the Uzbeks have an abundance of cultivated grains and domesticated livestock. This has allowed then to express their strong tradition of hospitality, which in turn has enriched their cuisine.
In the winters and the summers, the Uzbeks enjoy an extraordinary variety of gorgeous fruits, vegetables and nuts which are ubiquitous in their basic menu. Normally mutton cuisine of Uzbekistan is preferred as the perfect source of protein in the Uzbek diet.
The wide array of breads, leavened as well as unleavened is a staple for the majority of the Uzbeks. The popular flat bread or nan is usually baked in tandoor ovens, served with tea at almost every meal. Some regions in Uzbekistan prepare bread with onions or meat in the dough, others top the breads with sesame seeds or kalonji.
Moreover, the Uzbek cuisine has a reputation for the richness and delicacy of their fermented dairy products. One of the most famous ones being the katyk, or yogurt which is prepared from sour milk and suzma strained clotted milk, which is quite similar to cottage cheese, and the Uzbeks eat them plainly, sometimes they add it in their salads, soups and main dishes which adds a unique and delicious flavour to the cuisine of Uzbekistan.
Preparation Methods for Uzbek Cooking
Uzbek dishes in the Uzbek cuisine are not notably hot and fiery, though certainly flavorful. Some of their principle spices are Black cumin, red and black peppers, barberries, coriander, and sesame seeds. The more common herbs are cilantro (fresh coriander), dill, parsley, celeriac, and basil. Other seasonings include wine vinegar, liberally applied to salads and marinades, and fermented milk products. Therefore, while preparing your Uzbek cuisine keep in mind not to make your meal too spicy, you will certainly have to be careful while putting in the ingredients while preparing your cuisine. Tea is revered in the finest oriental traditions in Uzbekistan. It is offered first to any guest and there exists a whole subset of mores surrounding the preparation, offering and consuming of tea. Green tea is the drink of hospitality and predominant. Black tea is preferred in Tashkent, though both teas are seldom taken with milk or Sugar. An entire portion of the Uzbek cuisine is dedicated solely to tea drinking. While serving tea, the Uzbeks include samsa, bread, halva, and various fried foods; hence it is necessary to prepare all these little snacks along with your Uzbek style of serving the traditional teas.
Special Equipment for Uzbek Cooking
If you are thinking about preparing a scrumptious Uzbek meal from the thousands of possible recipes in the Uzbek cuisine, then the equipment that you need is quite easily available in most department or grocery stores. Many of the utensils that you require are probably available in your kitchen. Common cooking equipment such as an oven, stovetop, non-stick pots and pans are essential. Most people have begun using wooden stirrers rather than the stain-less steel ones, as the former prove to be more hassle free since residue tends not to stick onto the stirrer. If you want to delve into the true traditional style of Uzbek cooking then it would not be a bad idea to get a stove that is made out of clay, called “Tandyr”. This kind of stove is traditionally used for making Uzbek breads which are baked inside of this special kind of a clay-made stove. If you are a creative cook then try looking for this kind of stove, although a normal stove would be perfect too. Other than that there is no ‘special’ equipment needed for preparing Uzbek cuisine.
Uzbek Food Traditions and Festivals
There are many Uzbek food traditions and festivals, as Uzbeks are lovers of their traditional oriental colourful food. The Uzbek hospitality is an essential part of their culture. Anyone, irregardless of his or her nationality is always treated with the highest forms of generosity by the Uzbeks. Uzbekistan is well known for its chai-khanas (teahouses), where men get together and spend time chatting and joking over a cup of tea. It is part of the culture that women take care of the house, including cooking. Uzbek men have good cooking skills as well and the chai-khana is the place where they get together and cook pilaw (rice with meat and vegetables) or kazan kabob (fried meat with potatoes). Uzbek "Pilaf" is a very solemn food. It can be considered as an everyday dish as well as a dish for solemn and great events like weddings, parties and holidays. Following centuries-old traditions, Uzbekistan’s popular dish, plov is served mainly in the evening for dinner. The food traditions and festivals in Uzbekistan are truly very rich and unique.