Finding something to eat in Uzbekistan is easy since its gastronomy is rich and varied. Its typical dishes combine the colours of nature, the aromas of the Orient and the oldest traditions. Travelling to this country is also a pleasure for the palate.
The main ingredients of the typical dishes of Uzbekistan are lamb meat, the fat of its tail, flour, vegetables and spices. There are dishes which are prepared exclusively by men and others only by women. As in all cultures, there are recipes which are reserved for special celebrations or religious events.
In general, the cuisine of Uzbekistan consists of very nutritious and caloric dishes. Herbs and spices are given great prominence, cumin, coriander, basil and sesame among others being the most used. Another star ingredient is katyk which is a sour milk similar to our yogurt. The green radish which has a very peculiar spicy flavour is also widely used.
Gummas of Khiva
These are a kind of sandwich stuffed with minced meat and onion, vegetables like pumpkin or potato and seasoned with parsley, pepper and salt. They are fried in plenty of sunflower oil. It is customary to eat them as an aperitif or garnish directly with your hands. As a curious fact, Turkish cuisine has a similar version called "tcheburek".
Plov is one of the emblematic dishes of Uzbek cuisine. It basically consists of traditional rice with meat and carrots, although there are hundreds of variations of this recipe, depending on the region. However, the Samarkand Plov is especially appreciated in all regions. It has a common base and incorporates quail eggs, chickpeas, raisins, garlic and a rich combination of spices such as saffron, coriander or Berberis seeds. For its preparation sheep's fat and cottonseed oil are used, which is what gives it its characteristic flavour. In restaurants, other types of oils are used to which foreigners are more accustomed. The ingredients of Samarkand Plov are arranged in a specific way to highlight the flavours, so they should not be mixed.
Nowruz Kebab from Bukhara
This is one of the typical dishes of Uzbekistan which is only prepared in Bukhara, specifically in the tchaykhanas of Lyabi Hauz. It is prepared by layering meat, potatoes, seasoned tomatoes and onions. It is a strong and nutritious dish.
Shasliks of Tashkent
Shashlik means "six bites" in Uzbek and consist of skewers of meat, either barbecued or grilled. It is prepared by alternating pieces of meat and fat. Those in Tashkent have a great reputation in the locality, specifically those which are sold in the "Bek" chain of restaurants. The kebabs preferred by Uzbeks are prepared with sheep meat and are called "kuskovaya baranina", those of calf are known as "govyadina kuskovaya" and those of chicken are "shashlik kouriniy".
This is a speciality associated with the rural world. Most of Uzbekistan's typical dishes are prepared in the villages, and the cuisine is based on homemade recipes handed down from generation to generation. The speciality of the countryside regions is Dimlama. It is a varied stew prepared with meat, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, onions and tomatoes. It is a very easy dish to prepare which the Uzbeks eat both in winter and in summer. Despite its simplicity it is a delicious dish to eat in Uzbekistan.
For the preparation of the typical dishes of Uzbekistan, it is necessary to use some special utensils which are unique to this region of Central Asia. These are the most used:Cascan. It is a steamer consisting of a special pot with removable trays. Some typical dishes of Uzbek cuisine are steamed. Cazán. This utensil is a pot made of thick cast iron. It keeps and distributes the heat very well Tandyr. This is a hand-built clay oven from Central Asia. It resembles a huge clay pot and can be horizontal or vertical.
But the interesting thing is not only to know what to eat in Uzbekistan but how to eat it. And they also have recipients of their culture and tradition.Kasushka. A large bowl in which food is served Lyagan. It is a large dish painted with traditional motifs, which is used for some specialities such as Plov. Piala. This is the bowl that is used to drink tea.
In Uzbekistan, meals are eaten on the dastarkhan which is a low table. During the summer the diners sit on the floor and in winter on a sofa called aivan. Around the table the kurpachi are placed, which are colourful mattresses typical of the region and cushions to rest on after the meal. Green tea is always present and is drunk before and after meals.