Monday Meal Review: Kazakhstan

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THE SCENE Today is a tribute to my cat who died last week. To non-cat lovers, my apologies. Please return tomorrow for regularly scheduled programming.  This week's comfort food was exactly what I needed. You see, when we finally decided to put Cabo to sleep I was a red faced, crying mess. I didn't want to be. I wanted to be sure of my decision. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be free of "what if's." Instead I felt horrendous for having such power over life. I didn't want to … [Read more...]

Recipe: Lagman (Hand-cut Noodles)

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  If you want to make noodles like a kazakh, you just need a bit of pasta dough, a rolling pin, and a cutter or knife. An egg pasta recipe, like the one we made for Italy, will work beautifully in central Asia as well. You can make the noodles as thick or thin as you'd like. In Kazakhstan they generally like them pretty thick, like lo mein or udon. For this style, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch or just under. Then cut in thin strips. Finally, toss them with plenty of flour to … [Read more...]

Recipe: Chak Chak

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Serves 4 Chak Chak is the rice krispie treat of Kazakhstan. Totally irresistible and finger-licking good. Fry up a batch of fresh noodles in an entire stick of butter and coat with sweet honey goodness - you'll see what I mean. How could it not be? Plus, with Halloween around the corner, the time couldn't be better to make chak chak.... after all, there's nothing like putting a little international spin to your spooky dessert table... a spin that looks rather like … [Read more...]

Salty Salty Chai

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Every time I sip a cup of tea, my lips naturally curl up into a smile. It's the world's best mood enhancer. Chai tea is particularly warming. In Kazakhstan people like to add salt, pepper, butter, and even sour cream (Kalmak) to their tea. It's a whole new world of flavor. If you're feeling adventurous add a few salty shakes, buttery tabs, or sour cream plops into our homemade chai. You can also try it with plain black tea - like we did with our butter tea from … [Read more...]

Recipe: Central Asian Noodle Stew (Lagman Shurpa)

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Serves 4 Are you in need of some revitalization? A breath of fresh air? Are you worn out, tired, or just plain sad? Are you cold? I'm with you. I'm all of the above. When I feel like this I just don't know what I want. I want everything. And nothing. All at once. I want to sleep. I want to watch movie after movie. I want soup. I want lots and lots of noodles. And then I feel guilty and want some veggies. But not the crunchy, raw kind. Nope, the cozy cooked … [Read more...]

Menu: Kazakhstan

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Cabo loved his scraps as much as the next cat, which is why I know he would have endorsed this Kazakh saying: "Meat brings strength, shurpa brings beauty" (as found in Please to the Table). If he could speak, he probably would have used it anytime the grill was on (although he was known to love watermelon, too). I can hear him now: "MMmmmmeow, that smells good. Can I have some? Purrrrlease? You know, the Kazakh's will tell ya - meat brings strength, shurpa brings beauty. … [Read more...]

About the food of Kazakhstan

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Last night we had to say goodbye to my sweet kitty Cabo. He was very sick with feline AIDS. I'm feeling pretty low right now, so I hope you understand if I keep this brief. Thankfully, Kazakhstan has fascinating food, so it is a decent diversion from my tired, puffy eyes and splitting heartache. And diversion is exactly what this heartache needs. So let's go for it. Let's talk Kazakhstan. Imagine eating a meal that has elements of Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East all bundled up … [Read more...]