National Cuisines of Kyrgyzstan
Gallery of Recipes


The traditional Kyrgyz dish besh barmak is eaten with the hands, and this was probably the origin of its name, (besh barmak means “five fingers”). The classic variant of the dish, (which is now prepared basically in the Talas region of northern Kyrgyzstan), requires a good knife – as all the prepared for the dish cutting up the ingredients before it is put on the table. Fresh dough is cut into squares (about 10 cm х 10 cm) and boiled in a meat broth. The boiled patties, or dumplings, are placed on a porcelain dish in order to cool to room temperature. Then each of the squares is rolled out and cut with a sharp knife. The meat is prepared in a similar manner, boiled meat and cut into small pieces on the same surface as the dough. Onions (also finely chopped) are soaked in a hot broth in a separate bowl with ground black pepper added, (this mixture is called “chyk”). Often a broth with boiled brains is added, especially if the meat is from a freshly slaughtered ram. Sometimes, however, beef and even horsemeat can be used as the basic ingredient in beshbarmak. The latter is used basically when entertaining especially honored guests. In a photo it shows beshbarmak with chunks cut from the horsemeat sausage, chuchuk.

Ingredients: Meat (mutton or beef) – 1,5 kg, is desirable to take part of the hip; onions – 2 average size; ground black pepper – 4 g

For the dough: Water – 200 ml; salt – a flat teaspoonful; eggs– 1; flour – 0,5 kg.

Serves 4 people.


Stage 1. The meat is boiled in about 4.5 litres of water for about 1,5 hours. Then the cooked meat is allowed cool to room temperature and cut into small slices. The cut meat is put into a separate dish, covered and put in a warm place.





Stage 2. To prepare the “chyk” sauce, small diced onions are mixed with boiling meat broth. To this mixture black ground pepper is added. The chyk should be hot when served with the meat and the noodles, so it is necessary to cover it and store it in a warm place in order to avoid it cooling.





Stage 3. Mixing the prepared dough. The ready dough should be divided into two equal parts and placed for 10-15 minutes under a dish. This procedure makes it soft and pliable for rolling. The dough is removed from under the dish, and both parts formed into a kind of bun which is then flattened into the form of a flat cake by pressing down on it from above. These flat cakes are covered with a linen cloth and left for 15 minutes. After that, the first flat cake is rolled out to a thickness of about 2-3 mm. A layer to curtail рулетом or to combine an accordion (as shown in a photo) and to cut into the form of noodles about 2-3 mm wide. These noodles are lowered into the boiling broth from left over after cooking the meat. When noodles float to the surface, it is necessary to stir them and then let them simmer for a minute. Then they are skimmed from the pan, allowed to drain, and placed into a dish. The same process should be repeated and with the second flat cake – to roll it into a flat cake from which noodles are cut, boiled in a broth and then added to the already prepared noodles.

Stage 4. The noodles are boiled in a broth finely chopped meat is strew over them and water from the “chyk” hot sauce poured over them. They are either served on a general, communal, dish or divided into portions, having spread out in a big “Kese” (porcelain bowl). The broth is served separately in smaller bowls.