In Tajikistan, if you don’t have bread, you don’t have food. It doesn’t matter if the table is piled to the ceiling with meat, vegetables, and sweets. Bread is the purest sustenance to the Tajik people, especially nan (a thick flatbread Tajiks love to decorate with ornate markings).
And why not. Bread makes all kinds of sense in this rugged, mountainous land bordered by China, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan (the country actually sits in Asia). Nan stores well because, if it dries out, the hardened discs can be hydrated with stews or the like. The bread also goes with everything, and is extremely economical, such as yogurt Naan [Recipe].
Along with the nan, a Tajik table often includes communal meals enjoyed out of a single platter. Examples include plov (or rice with root vegetables and meat [Recipe]) or Qurotob (a mish-mash pile of flatbread topped with cheese, fried vegetables, and onion).
If the weather feels a bit nippy, locals might pull up to a steaming bowl of lagman soup (lagman are thick, homemade noodles, which we made back when we cooked Kazakhstan). Yummers.
Seeing these pictures makes me wish I were in the mountains… I’m curious – would you ever vacation somewhere like this?