All posts filed under: Kyrgyzstan


Monday Meal Review: Kyrgyzstan

THE SCENE: Plain words, big love. The room is quiet. I scoop another bite of Oromo into my mouth. As I chew, I think about how perfectly surprised I am to find myself loving the combination of lamb and soft sweet potatoes. I start to say something about it, but instead catch myself looking at my husband who is happily and ever so quietly eating his meal. I wonder if he likes it. “My family is a family of gushers,” I begin, forgetting about the flavor for a moment.  “When a meal is presented everyone ooh’s and ahh’s. Adults trample like children at a fair simply to peer inside a casserole, or to oggle a roast with excitement. Some even applaud.” Keith laughs. “It’s good, Sash.” The truth is Keith is reserved – of another culture entirely. Whether presented with epic homemade ravioli, a crazy spiral of oromo, or a store bought peanut butter cup, his response is always the same. It’s good. He says the words with love and sincerity. Still, when the words come I find myself straining my ears, …

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Minty Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

Minty Garlicky Yogurt is an oddball recipe. An oxymoron. Personally I love loads of garlic. I don’t mind dragon breath. I don’t mind scaring away the cat. So, I suppose Minty Garlicky yogurt sauce is good for people with garlic regret. As you eat it, the garlic infuses your breath but then – woops – the mint comes along for the ride, sweetening things up in the background. Of course, you’ll probably still need to brush your teeth after eating this dip. You’ll find similar recipes all over north Africa, central Asia and beyond. The nomadic peoples of Kyrgyzstan have no shortage of dairy, thanks to their herding lifestyle. To keep things interesting they blend yogurt with either mint or cilantro and plenty of fresh garlic. The secret is to let this mixture sit overnight or the garlic will be much too harsh. And a fun fact I ran across in my reading – nomads dig holes in the cool earth for refrigeration: The nomads always set up their yurts near streams, brooks, rivers and lakes …

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Hot Honey Lemon with Vodka

It’s that time of year. Coughing. Sniffling. Sneezing. Right about now we all need a hug. And a big blast of disinfectant. Oh, and let’s face it, something pretty. This lemony, sweet, cinnamony, vodka-tastic drink – popular all over central Asia and eastern Europe – takes care of it all. I especially love that the honey makes drinking it a huge bear hug (and would please grown-up Winnie the Pooh, I’m sure). The vodka is totally optional (Ava loved her booze-free version) but it does help scrub the body of germs. And, overall, it’s better than a trip to the pharmacy. Unless, of course, you go to a Kyrgyz one. Any excuse to travel… Makes 1 quart Ingredients: 1/2 cup honey (agave for vegans) 4 cups water 1 lemon, zested and sliced 1-2 cinnamon sticks Vodka, to taste You might also like to add fresh ginger or other spices… this can be done to taste. Method: Tonight, celebrate the end of long week with the region’s answer to the ever-popular mulled wine. Even my honey …

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Kyrgyz stuffed & rolled pasta | Oromo

Truth: anything coiled up is infinitely better than the same item not coiled. Think cinnamon rolls… princess Leia’s hair… really flexible kitty cats napping… and now, as never seen in my kitchen before Global Table Adventure, Oromo. This Kyrgyz dish of rolled and coiled pasta filled with various stuffings is pure genius. Unlike Italian stuffed pastas, no cheese is used as binder. Instead the filling is commonly meat and veggies (such as sweet potatoes or pumpkin). While it remains a decidedly simple recipe, some southern regions of Kyrgyzstan are said to add herbs to their fillings. Still, however you slice it, Oromo is also more comforting than cinnamon rolls, princess Leia and kitty cats combined. True story. Notes: before you get started on this little journey you’ll need a steamer, preferably metal but bamboo will do just fine. Recipe inspired by National Cuisines of Kyrgyzstan, where the recipe is said to be shaped like a swiss roll which is then bent back on itself into a circle. This recipe is my interpretation of these directions. Ingredients: …

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Menu: Kyrgyzstan

Welcome to November. Are you cold? Hot? Indifferent? For some inexplicable reason, November 1st in Tulsa, Oklahoma was 78F and just breezy enough to tickle a few golden, orange, and garnet leaves off the trees. As I walked Ava home from little school that same afternoon I decided that, yes, in fact, 78 and breezy is exactly the perfect temperature. I would make it my “every day” weather if I could. Just right for a t-shirt and jeans. Flip flops if one is feeling sassy. Yes, it was perfect for the first day in November, and even more so on October 31st which was downright balmy. About this time during our walk I remembered our Kyrgyz menu and laughed. Don’t get me wrong – you’ll love it if you, like my mother, live in the middle of snow storms, icy wind, and frostbitten fingers (a.k.a. Boston). For those of us still in the middle of the longest-summer-in-history, my apologies. As a consolation prize, please feel free to serve the drink over ice. It’s just as good. …

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Lake Ala Kol. Photo by Ondřej Žváček.

About the food of Kyrgyzstan

You’ll have to excuse me. I have a belly ache. You see, I’m writing this Halloween night between handing out candy and eating it. And, since most wee ones have long since gone home to sugary dreams, I’m mostly just eating candy. The good news is Kyrgyzastan has a cure. Boil up a pot of honey water, throw in some spices – perhaps a cinnamon stick and lemon peel – and (for non muslims) serve with a heaping splash of vodka [Recipe]. This sort of drink is popular all over Eastern Europe and Central Asia with slight variations in spices and liquors. When it’s served cold, the drink is called sherbet. Tonight, however I might have to take mine with a little less honey… Over 80% of Kyrgyzstan is covered in mountains with hot, subtropical summers to the south and very cold winters throughout. You’ll notice the name is quite similar to her northern neightbor Kazakhstan, a country that we did a few weeks ago. Truth be told, the similarities don’t end with the names. Both …

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