International Meals – Kyrgyzstan

As we come to the end of the “K”s, we reach the country which is the unofficial mascot of the quiz website “Sporcle,” probably by virtue of it being SERIOUSLY challenging to spell correctly: Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan is a central Asian country and former Soviet Republic sandwiched between China and Kazakhstan. The name comes from a Turkic word meaning “We are forty,” referring to forty historical clans in the region.  In reference to this, the flag has a forty-pointed star on it.

Flag of Kyrgyzstan

If you search for the national dish of Kyrgyzstan, you get beshbarmak. Now, where have we heard of that before?  Oh right, it’s the national dish of Kazakhstan, and we’ve already made it.  OK, Kyrgyzstan – what else you got?

Turns out we have oromo, a type of rolled dumpling.  Sounds great, lets do it!

Now, oromo is a general style of food, but the fillings can be a wide range of things.  The most authentic looking recipe that we found had a filling made of egg and Chinese chives.  But I don’t particularly LIKE scrambled eggs, and every source said that lamb was a pretty typical filling.  So we used the authentic recipe, but we replaced the eggs with lamb.

OK, how do you make these things?

First you make a basic egg dough.

Egg dough

And here is where I went wrong right off the bat. When the provided proportions of flour and water didn’t come together, I opted to add just enough water, and then knead the dough for quite a bit.  Although you can get a MILLION contradictory opinions on this when you search online, I suspect I overdeveloped the gluten, because I had a HELL of a time getting it to roll out as thinly as I wanted.

Rolled dough

I managed to get it thinner than the WAY too thick dough we made for our Kazakh meal, but it still wasn’t great. It may be time to buy a pasta roller.

What about the filling?  Well, first you chop some onions, because of COURSE you chop some onions.

Onions and chives

Also shown is a big batch of Chinese chives. Together with the onions, those get sautéed for a bit to soften and/or wilt.  Since the recipe for the lamb version of the filling said to put it in raw, that’s what we did.  We also generously seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper.

Oromo filling

Finally, the filling gets spread onto the dough and rolled up.

Oromo being rolled up

Once it’s fully rolled up, you coil it into a circle and somehow fasten the two ends together. I was not good at this part. But here they are, ready for steaming.

Oromo ready for steaming

And that’s it – you steam them for 15 minutes, and then bring them to the table.  Here’s one of the finished products, along with a cross section of a slice.

Cooked oromo

Oromo slice

Nothing fancy here – dough, lamb, salt, pepper, onions.  But you know what?  It was super tasty.  Clotted cream would have been authentic here, but we topped it with yogurt, and the mix of tangy, salty, meaty, and… onion-y? was delicious.  Would absolutely eat again.

This was not our most elaborate meal, but it was definitely delicious, and the leftovers did not linger in the fridge.

Next up, we move on to the “L”s!

Oromo – the authentic seeming one
Oromo – the one with the lamb

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