Kitchen World Tour: Kazakhstan



Beshbarmak, Shalgam and Taba Nan

So researching to put together a Kazakh meal was quite challenging for me. Their favorite meat is horse, they traditionally boil their meat which is not usual for the Australian palate.

Beshbarmak, often made with horse is boiled mutton, on huge flat noodles, with onions and broth on the side called shorpa. It is eaten by the hand, Beshbarmak basically means “five fingers” in Kazakhstan. 

The mutton version I cooked usually comes with a boiled sheep’s head served to the eldest person at the table. This person cuts pieces of meat from the head and gives it to each person on the table. Unfortunately I did not have a sheep head available so I skipped this part of the meal.

On the side we had Shalgam, a Kazakh Radish and Carrot salad. Finally we enjoyed our Beshbarmak with Taba Nan, a Kazakh/Uzbek bread.

Eating this meal you get a real sense of it’s traditional origins. Nomadic herdsman offering Konak Asy, “food for guests”, where a guest is offered to choose a sheep from the herd, it is butchered and the entire animal is boiled and prepared. The head being given to the honored guest. The Taba Nan bread, cooked in a horse dung oven, horse dung being the best available fuel, accompanied by a side salad from the only available fresh vegetables.

It was an unique meal. One we enjoyed very much.