The heavy presence of meat and milk products, the richness resulting from their combination with vegetables and the frequent use of animal fats is considered to be an indication of a former “steppe diet.”
The domestication of wild animals and later incorporation into the food culture is something with parallels in all culture. The most commonly consumed animals are sheep, cattle and chickens. In some regions, horse meat is widely consumed.
The combination of the wide variety of animal-based foods with abundance of agricultural products has greatly enriched Uzbek cooking. Wheat, barley, rice, mung beans, carrots and zucchini are cooked together with meat to produce dishes with a variety of names.
Formerly raised only exceptionally in certain areas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and other vegetables have in recent years begun to be cultivated in all the arable regions of the country.
Examples of Uzbek Dishes
500 gr cubed meat
100 gr sheep tail fat
1 c mung beans
1 ½ c rice
2 medium onions
1 medium carrot
3 medium tomatoes
1 medium potato
Salt to taste
1 c yogurt
1 t chopped red basil
1. Finely chop the tail fat and place in a pot, then add the cubed meat, finely chopped onions and cubed carrot, potato and tomatoes. Saute together, then add water to cover.
2. In another pot combine water and mung beans and cook until their skins have begun to split.
3. When the cooking water for the meat comes to a boil, add the rice, and when the rice is nearly done, add the mung beans and salt, and stir together.
4. Serve as a soup, and top with the basil-infused yogurt.
1. If cooked with squash, the dish is known as Maş Kabak. In this case, the squash are cut into thick slices without peeling, and added to the dish. The squash is eaten with a spoon from its peel.
2. If made with less water, the dish is known as Maş Kiçiri. In this case, 500 gr of rice is used.
3. If uğra (homemade noodles) are used instead of rice, it is known as Maş Uğra. Thin-cut noodles are used for this dish.
4. In Turkey, mung beans (Phaseolus aureus) is raised in the region of Gaziantep.