Beshbarmak: Kazakhstan‘s National Dish

When my husband and I pick the two dishes we want for our international dinners, he picks one and I pick the other. (Usually, I get inspiration from friends and/or family.) This month, my husband thought about it for a moment, then said, “Kazakhstan!” almost triumphantly. The first thing I thought was, “Fine with me, buddy, I’m not the picky eater!” My sweetheart isn’t a terribly picky eater, but maybe a little. So yes, I was surprised at his choice.

I began researching traditional dishes from Kazakhstan and found things like fermented camel’s milk and dehydrated, (very) salty cheese balls. Luckily, I was making a dinner and not a side dish, and I chose beshbarmak. This is THE national Kazakhstan dish, by the way. If you google it, you’ll find that it means “five fingers,” because it was often eaten with the hand, and choice cuts of meat were given to honored guests, the oldest man, a woman getting married, etc.

I cut a very large onion and saved about a third of it to the side for a non-traditional reason…

The rest went into a beef broth to be simmered later.

Beshbarmak is usually made with horse meat which is banned in many U.S. states and pretty taboo everywhere else. You can also make this with mutton, so I got a nice lamb roast. (Ka-ching!! It was surprisingly expensive!) I forgot to take a picture of the roast as I seared it and after it cooked in the Instant Pot. I am VERY disappointed in myself.

They make this with large, square noodles, so I got lasagna noodles (fresh, baby!) and cut them into large squares. Probably too large. I would definitely make them a little smaller next time, but it was fun.

I prepped a green onion and some chives…

I cooked a couple of potatoes with the lamb and my husband sliced the lamb after it rested. The noodles go onto the plate first, then they usually put a horse sausage down… which I replaced with another sliced, dried meat. Then we put the lamb on top.

The last thing to go on was the broth and cooked onion, green onion, and chives. It was nice!

If you only want to see that traditional bit, don’t read any farther.

I mean it! Stop reading!

Okay, this is on you.

The dish was nice, but a bit… bland. No offense to Kazakhstan, I’m sure I didn’t make it as well as it should have been made! So, I took the onions that I held back and caramelized them. Then I made a nice onion gravy.

I’m getting pretty good at making gravy! I was pleased.

We both tried the traditional beshbarmak, and then we both added the onions and gravy. Yes, it was bastardized and Americanized. But taaaaasty! This was a very interesting dish to make, and I enjoyed it!

Published by aimee

It all started with my friend, Christine. She called me a Viking. It's because I like endurance sports as well as lifting heavy things. Plus, my heritage includes Norwegians... It struck a chord somewhere deep down. I suddenly liked the idea of not having to be a small, slender person. I could be strong and thick. I could have mass. I don't want to be overweight or obese, mind you. I just don't like trying to be a waif when that is very likely unattainable to me. I have muscle (under this fat). I like being strong. So this is my journey of becoming more fit and liking the fact that I will never, NEVER weigh 120 pounds.

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