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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Traditional Nauryz Feast. Cultural Information and Recipes

The Dastarkhan
A traditional Kazakh "tablecloth" that symbolizes hospitality, abundance, family and community.

It can be on a Tapshan with friends

at the baby house where tea is waiting to be served for toddlers

or on tables at a Kazakh wedding feast.

The presentation and order of the meal is pretty much the same

1) plates of light cookies, chocolates, chopped apples and fresh fruit
2) bowls of cold and pickled vegetables. Cucumbers, tomatoes, chile peppers, carrots, and green olives

3) a selection of dried fruits and nuts

4)Irimshik- wet curds/large cottage cheese
Kurt/Kazy-dried and salted curd balls

6) drinks of Kumys-fermented mares mlik, shubat-fermented camel milk 
or ashygan kozhe/boza-fermented grains

(photos taken by me in Kazakhstan)

6) soups of broth, mutton, noodles, and dumplings

7) black  and green tea

8) cold salads made of fish, vegetables or meat

(all links are from previous blog posts)

9)Samsa and other pastries filled with fish, meat, or squash

10)Grilled horse, sheep, or goat. As well as sausages, boiled  meat, the organs and fat.

11) rice Plov or millet

For women a special Nauryz cereal called Sumalyak-flour, spices, and sprouted wheat
Khatem was served only to men

12)bread/Nan (Liposhka)

13) A selection of cultured dairy products
Kaimak-sour cream
Sary mai-butter
Suzbe-sour milk
panir style cheeses

14)Desert is a selection of stuffed pastries and fried dough in various forms

Our 2011 Nauryz Menu

Uzbek Mung Bean Salad

Carrot and Radish Salad

2-4 cups of large carrots julienned
1-2 bunches of large radishes julienned
1/8 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP of brown sugar
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
1/8 tsp of cayenne or 1/2 tsp of red chile flakes
1 tsp of ground star anise
salt to taste

Mix everything together and refrigerate 24 hours before serving at room temperature

Siberian Fish Pelmeni

Fish Filling Recipe

Bake and flake
1.5 pounds of white fish
1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill weed
1/2 finely diced medium onion
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1/2 tsp of black pepper
Mix well
Use round wonton or gyoza wrappers to make the dumplings
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook for five minutes before removing with a slotted spoon
Serve in a bowl with a bit of broth , garnished with chopped green herbs and sour cream

Uzbek Peach and Squash Braise

Vegetarian Plov
2 cups of cooked batsmati rice
2 garlic cloves finely diced
1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup of dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup of green peas
1/2 cup of grated carrot

All heated in  a large skillet with about 2 TBSP of oil on high heat until hot and crispy

New Family Traditions

Yurt cookies with spring bug chocolates and English crackers filled with goodies

I cut a yurt from chipboard and used it to trace and cut out the shapes on the chilled and rolled dough.

Yurt Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, cream together for one minute
6 TBSP of butter softened at room temperature
1/3 cup of vegetable shortening
then add and continue to mix until fluffy
1 egg
1 TBSP of milk
1/2 tsp of orange extract
3/4 cup of sugar
Set aside
In a small bowl mix together
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/8 tsp of powdered cardamon
1 TBSP powdered orange peel
Mix your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth
Chill for two hours
Using a lightly floured surface roll your dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut out your shapes.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes until the outer edges just start to color.
Check at 5 minutes, if you get air bubbles pop them and press them down lightly with a fork
It is better to underbake than overbake these cookies.
Cool one hour before icing


In a large pan combine
3 cups of white granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of hot water
1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
Over medium high heat bring mixture to a boil  and cook for 7 minutes

Reduce temperature to medium low heat and cook for 18 minutes. Stir only as necessary to keep it from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pan.

Remove pan from heat and cool without stirring for 45 minutes.
Stir in 3-4 cups of powdered sugar to create a spreading consistency.
If too thick add a little hot water and stir until the lumps are gone.
Mixture should be thick/not runny and opaque, spreading easily with a rubber spatula.
It will smooth out as it "dries".
You can use tubes of store bought icing to add decorative details with your kids.


On Nauryz every family, from the Middle East to Central Asia, displays a selection of seven symbolic items.

This year our family chose

1) Candle-light, moon, sun, stars, warmth
2)Millet (or other grain)-food
3)Water (needed for crops,cooking, and drinking)
4)Milk-(a staple of Kazakh cuisine, survival, hospitality, and culture)
5)Flower-spring and NewYear
6)Goat/sheep/camel/horse-(needed for food, wool, transportation, and work)
7)Wool Roving (needed for making clothes,yurts, blankets, rugs and shoes)

A yurt candy tin from Kazakhstan to symbolize shelter, family and community
(filled with small presents and goodies)

This is such a fun secular holiday.  I hope this post inspires you to celebrate it with your family too. It does not matter if you read this a bit late as you can still choose any day this month for the tradition.
Happy Nauryz Toi, Lesley

Dont' forget to check the posts from last March for more ideas and the archives under Silk Road Recipes or Russian Recipes too.


  1. Oh I love the idea of the addition of the Yurt cookies for our celebration and really for any special occasion or just a rainy day fun activity!

    And the craft below is inspired; your daughter is lovely!

    Thank you and happy Spring!!

  2. What a feast!
    Thank you for the ideas and recipes, they will make a nice change...

  3. hi, Lesley!

    I'm from Kazakhstan. It so cute that you try to give Kazakh culture to your daughter. If you need I can help you with any questions about Kazakhs - recipies, traditions and other.
    Good luck :)