Tajik Cuisine

Tajik Cuisine

Tajiks are by right proud of their national cuisine and consider it among the most attractive factors for the development of tourism. Culinary art of Tajik people was formed for many centuries under the influence of rich history. Semi-nomadic way of life was impossible without abundant meat and farinaceous dishes. Of course, the national cuisine of Tajiks is similar to the cookery of other Central Asian countries; however, it has its peculiar features expressed in the techniques of food preparation, products processing and, certainly, taste. We are going to make a little excursion around national Tajik cuisine and we introduce you to the basic dishes so that that your culinary choices would be deliberate.

Dinner Ceremony

It is a ceremony indeed because Tajiks treat food with respect. They have a very special attitude to bread: bread cannot be thrown or dropped on the floor, it cannot be put on dastarkhan with bottom part upwards, and bread is not cut but broken very carefully.

Tajiks eat sitting on a sufa around a low table - dastarkhan. The dinner begins with tea. Tea is drunk only from pialahs which are brought in on trays. A tray with sweets, fruit, and flat cakes is brought separately. After that they serve big pialahs with soup, and on bigger round dishes with main courses. Vegetable salads are served on plates. A dinner there is to be started by a senior family member then the others may join the meal.

Tajik Bread

Flat cakes are traditional Tajik bread. Women skillfully cook flat cakes, lagman, ugro, sambusa, twiglets etc. The dough is usually rolled very thinly so things they cook simply melt in your mouth. Tajiks use a unleavened and yeast dough. Flat cakes are baked in tandyrs - clay ovens stoked with fire wood.

Tajik Meat Dishes

Meat dishes are basically cooked from mutton and goat's flesh. Since Tajiks are Moslems they do not eat pork at all. Very popular is horse meat. It is used for cooking sausage called «kazy». Meat dishes are mostly used as main courses: shish kebabs, kabob, golubtsi, roast meat, poultry and game.

Tajik Beverages

The favorite drink of Tajiks is green tea. Tea drinking has become a ritual there. No guests reception, meeting of friends or a conversation can do without a pialah of this hot beverage. Even a dinner starts with tea. Tea pialahs are brought in on trays.

Tajik Salads

Vegetables and greens are a must in nearly each Tajik dish. Hospitable Tajiks take juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, fragrant greens directly from their gardens. Before the main course Tajiks always treat their guests with vegetable appetizers or salads from young garden radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, rhubarb, fennel, parsley, raikhon, coriander etc.

Tajik Soups

Tajik soups are very thick, rich, with aroma of spices. Tajik housewives season their soups with fresh tomatoes and sour-milk products such as suz'ma, katyk, kimak, kurut.

Traditional Tajik Sweets

Traditional Tajik sweets are crystal sugar (nabat), nishallo (a creamy mass from sugar, whipped egg whites and soaproot), and traditional candies (pichak). The national pastry - twiglets, puff sweet pies and, naturally, halvah - is very popular and delicious.