Great Turkmen bake off: Turkmen ichlekli

It’s a very exciting time in the UK at the moment and fans of watching nail-biting competition are all fired up. No, we’re not talking about Team GB’s phenomenal success at the Rio Olympics – it’s the return of the Great British Bake Off!

It therefore seems appropriate (yet entirely coincidental, admittedly) that the dish we chose from Turkmenistan was a pie. The native ichlekli, or ‘shepherd’s pie’, is a simple dish that doesn’t resemble the English shepherd’s pie, yet is no less enjoyable. It was traditionally baked by Turkmen shepherds by burying it in hot sand and embers. We assume that it was a source of protein and carbs for the nomads of Turkmenistan’s desert landscape. Our recipe came from Turkmen Kitchen. Continue reading

Good food on big plates: Uzbek lagman

If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve quite possibly also read our ‘About’ page, which explains the ‘Good Food on Bad Plates’ philosophy: namely, that we’re more about substance than style (you’ve probably also garnered this from our photography), and that we don’t care what sort of crockery we eat off as long as the food is good. This has perhaps never been as apt as when we made lagman, a signature dish from Uzbekistan. Keep reading to find out why.

Lagman is essentially a noodle soup, made unique by the inclusion of black cumin, a spice we weren’t aware of until last week and one that doesn’t resemble regular cumin (in flavour, at least) in the slightest. Traditionally, lagman would also use hand-stretched noodles, but the recipe we consulted said that store-bought was fine, so we have to admit that we took the easy route with our version.

Like the Afghan kabuli pulao we made last week, this is quite a time-consuming dish, but aside from cutting up the meat and vegetables, it’s not very labour-intensive. You just need to be prepared to sit and wait for it to cook, getting hungrier and hungrier as the lovely aromas waft around the house! Continue reading