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Horse meat platter

Kazakh cuisine traditionally revolves around mutton and horse meat and as well as various milk products. The cooking techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation's nomadic way of life. For example, most cooking techniques are aimed at long-term preservation of food.

Meat in various forms has always been the primary ingredient of Kazakh cuisine. Besbarmak, a dish consisting of boiled horse or mutton meat, is the most popular Kazakh dish. Other popular meat dishes are kazy and shuzhuk (horsemeat sausages), kuyrdak (also spelled kuirdak, a dish made from roasted horse, sheep, or cow offal, such as heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs, diced and served with onions and peppers),[1] and various horse delicacies, such as zhal (smoked lard from horse's neck) and zhaya (salted and smoked meat from horse's hip and hind leg).[2]

The traditional drinks are sheep milk and its products – kaymak (sour cream), katyk or ayran (buttermilk), kurt, irimshik (dried sour milk product similar to kurt, but not rolled into balls),[3] fermented mare's milk (kumys),[4] and camel's milk (shubat).[5]

Manti in a steam cooker

The introduction of flour to Kazakh cuisine brought about dishes such as baursak (or bauyrsaq, a ball-shaped doughnut fried in oil and sprinkled with sugar), kuimak, kattama and oima – flat puff cakes fried in oil then covered in cream.

Manti is another popular dough-based dish in Kazakh cuisine. It is a spiced mixture of ground lamb (or beef) spiced with black pepper, enclosed in a dough wrapper. Manti are cooked in a multi-level steamer and served topped with butter, sour cream, or onion sauce.

In the summer, chal is one of the staple foods of the Adai Kazakhs.[6]


  1. ^ Kuyrdak on Food in Kazakhstan
  2. ^ Traditional horse meat dishes (Russian)
  3. ^ Irimshik (Russian)
  4. ^ Kumys (Russian)
  5. ^ Shubat (Russian)
  6. ^ Ishchenko et al., Osobennosti selskogo khoziaistva Adaevskogo uezda. Materialy komissii ekspeditsionnykh issledovanii. Issue 13, Leningrad, Izdatelstvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1928, p. 146.

See also

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