#127: Kyrgyzstan – Laghman

Each week, I take a look at the large map that Matt got me as a housewarming present two years ago and think about where I might want to cook from in the coming weeks. The map has become peppered with red pins and when I stare at it too long, the borders start to blur but in all seriousness, it does help me. There are swaths of Asia that I have yet to explore and my decision to make this dish representing Kyrgyzstan. The national dish of this country, it usually includes lamb or mutton, but I chose to make this with beef.

This was one of those dishes that as I cooked it, the process started to feel more and more familiar. Was it deja vu from a prior country’s dish? At this point in this process, I’ve seen so much overlap in technique and ingredients that I encounter this feeling more and more frequently. But what it really boils down to with this dish is this: It was a traditional beef stew…over noodles! Despite many recipes encouraging me to make hand-pulled noodles, I elected to just purchase lo mein noodles. This dish was definitely one of those meals where you could get a sense of its location in the world. The ingredients and flavors reminder me of other recipes I’d explored in the Middle East but its proximity to China is also very present from the stir fry preparation to the noodle base.

Recipe I used: https://nationalfoods.org/recipe/national-dish-of-kyrgyzstan-laghman/

Overall Level of Effort: 2

Skill Level: Beginner

Would Make it Again? No

Additional Notes: I didn’t follow this recipe to a tee opting for red peppers over green peppers and omitted the tomato that some recipes included. But I think what makes this dish so appealing is the ability to improvise with vegetables that you have on hand. Carrots would also be a great addition!

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