Uzbek dishes from dough

Uzbek dishes from dough

In Uzbekistan's culinary landscape, dishes made from dough occupy a cherished position, universally adored by people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Whether for everyday meals or festive occasions, these dough-based creations are a staple of Uzbek cuisine.

Samsa stands out as one of Uzbekistan's most iconic culinary offerings. This delightful pastry features a crispy outer layer filled with a savory mix of meat, greens, or vegetables, all baked to perfection in a traditional clay oven known as a tandoor. Ubiquitous throughout the country, samsa is the go-to street food, available on every corner. Each region proudly presents its version of this beloved dish, with many claiming that the most delectable samsas can be found in cities like Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Jizzakh.

Typically, samsa is prepared with a flaky pastry dough, though some variations might use puff pastry. The fillings commonly consist of minced lamb or beef paired with onions, though inventive versions feature potatoes, pumpkin, chicken, cheese, and mushrooms. A particularly special variety, known as kuk-somsa or "green samsa," is made exclusively in spring with a filling of fresh seasonal greens.

It's worth noting that samsa often contains tail fat, a traditional ingredient that may not be to everyone's taste. If you're not a fan, it's wise to inquire about its inclusion before indulging.

Manti, another traditional Uzbek dish, involves big, steamed dumplings made from an unleavened dough, encasing finely chopped meat (typically lamb or beef) mixed with onions and spices. Alternatives might include fillings of potato with onion or a pumpkin-onion mixture. Typically served with a sour milk sauce such as kaymak or katyk, manti is a beloved part of Uzbek cuisine.

Hanum, similar in preparation to manti, consists of unleavened dough filled with a potato and onion mixture, steamed and served in sliced portions, often accompanied by a tomato sauce.

Chuchvara, small Uzbek dumplings, can be enjoyed in a soup or fried until they achieve a golden crust. Despite the presence of similar dumplings in various global cuisines, chuchvara boasts a distinctive flavor profile.

Certain dough dishes are unique to specific regions of Uzbekistan, such as the Khorezmian tuhum-barak and shivit oshi. Tuhum-barak features dumplings filled with a raw egg mixture, carefully sealed and cooked, while shivit oshi presents green noodles made by incorporating finely chopped dill or its juice into the dough, resulting in a visually striking and delicious dish.

Naryn is as staple a dish as pilaf for many Uzbeks, comprising thinly sliced handmade noodles mixed with similarly sliced boiled meat, often horse, and served with a broth-filled deep dish on the side.