Kazakhstan, the largest landlocked country in the world, boasts a diverse culinary tradition that reflects its nomadic heritage and the influences of various ethnic groups. Kazakh cuisine is characterized by hearty and flavorful dishes, often centered around meat, dairy products, and grains. Let's explore the national dishes and local specialties that make Kazakhstan's food culture unique.
Beshbarmak: Beshbarmak is the national dish of Kazakhstan, which translates to "five fingers" in Kazakh. It is a hearty dish made with boiled meat, traditionally lamb or horse meat, which is then served on a large platter over homemade flat noodles. Beshbarmak is typically accompanied by onions, herbs, and a rich meat broth.
Kazy: Kazy is a traditional Kazakh sausage made from horse meat. It is seasoned with various spices, including garlic and black pepper, and then smoked and air-dried. Kazy is often served as a delicacy during festive occasions and is enjoyed sliced thinly as an appetizer.
Shubat: Shubat is a traditional Kazakh beverage made from fermented camel's milk. It is a tangy and slightly effervescent drink that is highly nutritious and valued for its health benefits. Shubat has been a staple drink among nomadic communities for centuries.
Manty: Manty are steamed dumplings filled with a mixture of ground meat, onions, and spices. They are similar to Chinese jiaozi or Turkish manti. In Kazakhstan, manty are typically larger in size and served as a main course. They are often accompanied by a side of sour cream or a spicy tomato sauce.
Baursaki: Baursaki are deep-fried dough balls that are popular as a snack or dessert in Kazakhstan. The dough is made with flour, yeast, and yogurt, and then fried until golden brown. Baursaki are typically served with honey or jam and are enjoyed with a cup of tea.
Kymyz: Kymyz is another traditional Kazakh beverage made from fermented mare's milk. It is a sour and slightly carbonated drink that is known for its probiotic properties. Kymyz is considered a symbol of hospitality and is often served to guests.
Lagman: Lagman is a noodle dish that has Central Asian influences and is popular in Kazakhstan. It consists of hand-pulled noodles served in a savory broth with vegetables and meat, such as beef or lamb. Lagman is seasoned with aromatic spices and herbs, making it a flavorful and satisfying dish.
Borscht: Borscht, although originally from Ukraine, is also a popular dish in Kazakhstan. It is a beet soup that is made with a variety of vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions. Borscht is often served with sour cream and accompanied by bread.
These national dishes and local specialties offer a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of Kazakhstan. Exploring Kazakh cuisine is an opportunity to savor the flavors of the region, experience traditional cooking techniques, and embrace the cultural significance of food.