Bread is a staple in the country. In almost every meal, you will be served bread or the meal will be incomplete.
Leipioskka, the flat, round bread of Kazakhstan, is a staple in this country and is sold practically everywhere.
The prevalence of leipioskka in the Kazakh dining table stems from the versatility of the bread, which Kazakh cuisine maximizes. This bread can be dipped in melted fat, or it can be baked along with special ingredients in an oven.
The Kazakhs have great respect for their bread – for them, bread should never be wasted or thrown away, and the bread should also always be placed right side up on the dining table. If you visit a Kazakh home, you must eat bread in that house before you leave, no matter how small a piece.
Plov is another famous dish in Kazakhstan, and exceedingly so in the southern parts of the country.
The main ingredients of plov are meat, rice, onions, and carrots. The carrots are grated and the onions are chopped to release their flavor and fried with coarse slices of meat in a big batch of oil. Rice and water are added afterward, and the dish is left to boil until the rice is cooked.
Traditionally, this very filling dish is cooked in a Kazan – a semi-spherical cooking pot with a well-fitted lid. The structure of the Kazan ensures that the rice is cooked evenly throughout and that the flavors of the ingredients are locked in.
Kazy is a kind of sausage that is made with horse meat. Strange at first, but a taste of this delicacy will make you forget its unusual ingredient because of its unique savory taste and texture.
The procedure for making kazy is similar to how other types of sausages are made: The casing is made from the small intestine, and the filling is a mixture of rib meat and fat.
The filling is seasoned first before being stuffed into the small intestine, with the ends of the sausage being tied up for boiling afterwards. How much meat and fat there is in the shuzhuk depends entirely on the one making it – it can either be almost all meat or almost all fat!
Kumis is the most popular drink in Kazakhstan. It is alcoholic, but the alcohol level is so low that it is considered as a regular beverage. It is even valued for its supposed healing properties.
Kumis is, in fact, fermented mare’s milk. It is collected fresh from the finest mares in Kazakhstan and stored in a metal jug.
In making kumis, the milk is best prepared in smoked leather containers, where a little sour milk is added to let the new milk ferment. After three to four days of fermenting and frequent shaking, the milk becomes light, tangy, and delicious.
Shubat is a similarly popular drink, albeit made from camel milk instead of a mare. It is collected and prepared similarly to kumis.
Collectively, kumis and shubat are the favorite drinks of Kazakhs.
Samsas are the most popular snack in Kazakhstan. You would find samsas being sold both by street vendors as well as in high-class restaurants.
Samsas start off with a meat filling – usually mutton, but it can also be beef or chicken. The filling is then wrapped around a puff pastry that is usually in a triangular or rectangular shape. The snack is then baked to make the exterior crunchy and the filling inside juicy.
In the southern part of Kazakhstan, there is a variety of samsa called the tandyrnaya samsa. This kind of samsa uses unleavened dough instead of puff pastry, and it is cooked using a spherical clay oven known as a tandyr.
With any variety of samsa, be careful when you bite! The fats and juices might start running out, or worse, if the samsa is freshly baked, the juices and fats can scald you.