National Cuisines of Kyrgyzstan
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LAGMAN

Because Kyrgyzstan is on a crossroads of the Great Silk Road, much of the traditional fare of Kyrgyz cuisine is international in origin. Dishes have been assimilated from many of the surrounding cultures.

Laghman was originally a Dungan dish from the Eastern provinces of China. The name "laghman" derives from the "Lyohn Mian", (which was pronounced Lyag Man by the Uighurs).  

It comprises of thick, handmade, noodles from flour and water mixed with melted butter, eggs and a little milk plus a pinch of salt. Dough for the noodles is mixed and kneaded – rolled into a "loaf", and then left – covered with a damp cloth, for an hour – after which it is moistened with a little warm salted water, kneaded once more until the moister is absorbed. The loaf is then split into walnut sized potions which are then "spun" into the noodles. Taking a portion in two hands – the hands are drawn apart stretching the dough into a log thin strip – which is swung like a skipping rope, encouraging the dough to stretch into long, thin stands, about a meter long. The noodles are then boiled in a pan of water – and when soft, they are thrown into a pan of cold water (to prevent them sticking together).

The dish can be served in different ways either:

covered with a bouillon and a thick stew, the sauce, on top of it, or 

bare noodles in a large bowl for each guest, who then serve themselves as much sauce as they like from a central dish.

The sauce is made from a variety of ingredients: meat (beef, lamb or mutton), oil, cabbage, green radish, carrot, onions, tomatoes, garlic, sweet peppers and spices. The meat and vegetables are chopped into fine pieces. When the sauce is ready, the noodles are reheated in boiling water and then placed in the bottom of large bowls with the meat sauce poured over them. The sauce should have a liquid consistency. 


The noodles are quite long so need to be twisted around the fork – or cut with the edge of a spoon.
It may also be inevitable that having eaten all the meat and vegetables a certain amount of liquid will remain in the bowl. A spicy condiment (laza) is often added to the dish ... it is quite hot and can catch the Western visitor unawares – so caution is advised.

 

RECIPE:
Ingredients: 1/2 kg meat (beef, or mutton); noodles (traditionally homemade as described above although spaghetti or lingui noodles can be used); 1/2 cup of vegetable oil; 1 marinated (pickled) pepper; 2 big onions; 2 medium sized carrots; 2 cloves of garlic; 3 big green radishes; 1/2 teaspoon red pepper; 2-3 tomatoes (or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste); water.

For variations you can add different vegetables, such as cabbage and / or egg-plant (aubergine) according to taste. 

Method: Chop the meat into very small pieces and sauté with butter and the red pepper in a kazan (or heavy-bottomed pot). After about 5-7 minutes add 1/3 cup of cold water. Bring it to a boil and then add the onions, carrots, garlic, green radishes, and tomatoes. Steam in low heat for 30 minutes. Turn up the heat and stir for about 5 minutes. Add cold water (depending on the number of people you are cooking for, approximately 1.5 to 2 cups per person) and bring to a boil again. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. In a separate pot boil the noodles.  To serve, put the noodles into individual bowls and cover with the sauce.