Kyrgyz soups have long been part of the local cuisine. Many centuries ago they were little more than a combination of meat and the water in which it was cooked, but today Kyrgyz soups include delicious vegetables, spices and noodles.
Gulazyk is the world’s first instant soup. Due to its long shelf life, shepherds would pack gulazyk before they left home on a long journey. The soup consists of mutton, beef or horse meat which is cooked for a long time, dried and minced in a jyrgalchak (similar to a meat grinder). Ground fried cereal, dried cottage cheese, salt, oil and spices are then added to the crushed meat. Gulazyk should be eaten with broth or hot water.
Shorpo is a soup made from fatty meat broth. In some regions it is cooked without spices, while in other areas many spices are added. In yet another region of Kyrgyzstan shorpo is made by adding vegetables and herbs to the broth. In springtime guests are offered “green shorpo”, a meat broth with many spring herbs. To make shorpo, lamb on the bone is cut into pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper and fried until golden brown. Onions and sufficient water to cover the ingredients are then added, and diced potatoes are mixed in and cooked until tender.
Shurugan is a milk soup with onions. To prepare shurugan, the onions are fried in oil. Salt and milk are then added and boiled for 10-15 minutes. To serve shurugan, pieces of flatbread are placed on the bottom of a large bowl and the milk broth is poured on top.
Ashlyam-fu (ashlyanfu, ashlyan-fu) is the most well-known of Kyrgyz soups, a must-try dish when in country. Ashlyam-fu, which actually originated in Dungan cuisine, consists of boiled noodles, eggs, vegetable broth and meat. The best ashlam-fu is prepared in the city of Karakol and is served with a fried potato pie.
Gulchetai (kulchetai) is a Kyrgyz soup made from egg dough noodles, meat broth and vegetables. First mutton and then the egg dough should be boiled in the same pot of water. Pepper is added to the broth and an onion cut into rings before being boiled. To serve gulchetai, the dough and onions should be mixed and topped with the meat, while the broth is poured into a separate bowl.
Kesme is a simple noodle soup with meat. It is divided into two types: kainatma kesme, which is prepared with boiled noodles, and kuurma kesme, made with fried noodles.
Butta soup is a soup of Kyrgyzstan made with rice, meat, fat, radishes, bell peppers, onions and spices. The rice for this thick soup can be prepared either by frying it first and then boiling it or by simply boiling it.