30 May 2005

Plov, Shashlyk and Burgers in Uzbekistan

My opinion on Uzbek dishes

A Molotij Shashlyk near Shakhizabrz


Thanks to Nathan for his interesting post on the best Plovmaker from Tashkent, I want to add my own experiences on the field of Uzbek/Tajik kittchen. I definitly missed the plov by Nurshod Asymov's, but I am sure it tastes great. Sure, Plovmaker are very proud on their own talents and it truly needs a lot of talent, wisdom, experience and feeling to make a good plov. Dont think you can do it immediatly good after reading some recipes. The main problem for making a good plov is to get the rice, wich is best from Khorezm, and the oil, what is best if it is from cotton, but sunflower oil might replace. Of course you can hardly get any beef the sort it is in Central Asia or the Caucasus in America or Europe either. Every region in Uzbekistan has its own plov, with quite some differences from other regions. Famous of course is the plov from Tashkent, from Samarkand and from Bukhara. My best plov (what of course is a question of luck and taste) I eat in Fergana, on the main road 2 kilometers before crossing the border into the town on the right hand sight. There I also eat the best salad in my life, compared with dozens of salads I eat in all over Europe and the Caucasus. The second best plov I got in Bukhara, the third best in Samarkand, and in Tashkent, I've been probably at the wrong places. But two things where great in Tashkent: Horse meat and Horse sausages and I eat there often, you wouldn't expect, the best Burgers of my life at Mir, a known warehouse and pizzeria in the centre of Tashkent. Its called simple the "Mir Burger", wich you can get also as a Double. I recommend to order 2-3 pieces.
For Shashlyk I always prefered the so called 'Molotij' 'hacked', like in other countries you call Kebab, or Kabab, but in Uzbekistan its different with lots of onion and was the best until very recently, when I was surprized to eat the now best Kebab I ever eat in the small South Armenian town Vayk (also I eat one of the best trouts there). So the best smashed, or hacked Shashlyk- the Molotij- in Uzbekistan, I think you eat at the Bazaar in Urgut, some 40 km South of Samarkand near the Tajik Border, if you can ignore the dirt on this Bazaar and its kittchen, I always had to flee my wife and eat it secretly ;-)
My former boss in Tashkent (a German) always said that the Uzbek kittchen was one of his main reasons to stay further in Uzbekistan.

The famous "Mir Burger"



4 comments:

Ben said...

Amazing stuff. I am so hungry! Fortunately, I will be going to Uzbekistan this summer.

Spitzen-Blog, weiter so!

Nathan said...

Geschmacksbombe is certainly a German word my teachers never taught me!

Really though, I don't remember the burgers being spectacular, though they certainly could be better than when I was there. They certainly did get points for being a burger though! I always liked to get the ground shashlyk, chukka, svyezhi salat, and fresh non. Perfect meal! Or somsas. I love those things, especially the triangular flaky ones we had in Navoi.

As for osh, I didn't eat it often enough because I got so sick after eating it shortly after I arrived. I certainly was partial to the Navoi-Bukhara variety because it wasn't nearly as oily as the Tashkent and Ferghana varieties.

Vegetables are excellent everywhere in the country--especially the tomatoes. I also loved the fresh, green garlic in the late spring. A Georgian restaurant in Tashkent had a mix of greens and cheese that I couldn't get enough of. I wish it wasn't such a hassle to get such good produce here in Philadelphia!

Hans said...

Yes, you are right, I really forgot the Somzas, mhmhmhm, although pretty fat, but a good wodka helps the heavy stomach...

Geschmacksbombe, yes but I can not always effort it, mainly by time...

Nathan said...

When I was in training, there was a woman near the bus station in Troitsky (up near Chirchik) who sold excellent potato and pumpkin somsa with mint in them. Never found the vegetable ones in the south or west though...

BTW, I made osh tonight. With pork of all things... Turned out pretty good, but I don't think I used enough cumin.