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The world LAGHMAN derives from the word Lyohn Mian which was pronounced Lyag Man by the Uighurs and originates in the former Dzhungarai, the area made up of western China, parts of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and part of the Ferghana Valley. Overall in Central Asia, this delicious dish became known as Laghman. Thick handmade noodles from water and flour mixed with melted butter, eggs and a little milk plus a pinch of salt served in different ways; either covered with a bouillon and a thick stew, the sauce, on top of it, or bare noodles in a large bowl for each guest, who then serve themselves as much sauce as they like from a central dish, just the way we serve spaghetti Bolognese at home. Think of Marco Polo next time you struggle with your spaghetti, he certainly had much to do with spreading the Laghman concept around the globe

Dough of average density is kneaded, rolled into a loaf and left to rest for an hour, covered with a cloth. Next it is moistened with a warm water solution of salt and baking soda.

Once again the dough is kneaded thoroughly until the solution is fully absorbed. From wallnut-size cuttings, pencil thick strips are formed, which are oiled and heaped onto a plate. Now the noodle shaping starts.
Gather both ends of all strips and through the 4 step program the gentleman on the left demonstrates, shwing them into 1m long noodles
These are boilt in salt water and thrown into a cold water bath so they don’t stick to each other

Thus you obtain, as seen below, one of Central Asia’s favored tasty staple for a multitude of local specialties

With such tasty items as beef or sheep meat, sunflour oil or as per the original recipe, sheeps’ tail fat, cabbage, onions, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes. cloves of garlic, Bulgarian peppers, salt and pepper and other spices, the accompanying sauce cannot fail but to turn out delicious

Meat is the A and O of Central Asian cuisine, which makes it not exactly a heaven for followers of the vegetarian school. However, home cooking features many meat-less dishes, though Laghman will definitely not be listed among them

Add to the fried meat the panoply of chopped up vegetables and stir everything thoroughly until half ready. Vegetables bought at the bazaar directly from the farmers are often what we consider organic, produced without chemicals

Just as in Italian cuisine, the longer the sauce bubbles on the stove, the more intensive its flavor. Therefore next water is added, tomato sauce and everything slowly cooked on a low flame until ready

Right before serving, the al dente noodles are re-heated in boiling water and transferred into (individual) large bowls

Discovery Central Asia #11

Discovery Central Asia supplement #11/2005

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