Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Turkmenistan: Unaş, Gowrulan Badamjanly Salat, Süýtlaş #CookingAroundtheWorldAdventure

Last week was a ridiculously busy week. I mean, crazy. So, I only managed one dinner for our Cooking Around the World Adventure. After my second meeting with the IB consultant for R's high school, we traveled by tabletop to Turkmenistan. And this week isn't looking any better, so I hope to cook at least one country this week. Fingers crossed.

from worldatlas.com
About Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is one of six independent Turkic states in Central Asia and was once part of the Soviet Republic until declaring its independence in 1991. "It's one of the -stans," said R when D was looking for the country on a map.

What's a -stan?!!?

"You know Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and -"


On Our Plates...
When I first started researching recipes for Turkmenistan, I didn't find very many that were in English. Then I discovered the Twitter account for One Turkmen Kitchen and was saved! Photos and recipes in both Turkmen and English. Phew. 

So, I perused the twitter feed, clicked through to the recipes, and finally decided on three different recipes - one soup, one side dish, and one dessert.


Unaş is a fresh noodle soup. Because I needed to make our noodles gluten-free, I used my own recipe for that part...and roped the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf into helping me. I love making fresh pasta with him. And, truth be told, I really didn't follow the recipe; I just used the ingredient list for inspiration and forged ahead.


  • 1/2 C thinly sliced Spring onions
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 can organic black-eyed beans
  • 2 L chicken stock
  • ½ t red pepper chile flakes
  • 4 T plain whole fat organic yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 2 C all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • water

Place all of the dry ingredients in the body of the food processor. Add the eggs. Pulse. Add in 1 T water at a time until it comes together in a ball. Turn the dough onto a floured cutting board and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

To roll: Slice your dough ball into quarters. Cover the portions you aren't rolling. Turn the rested dough out onto a lightly dusted board and roll out as thinly as you can. I found that rolling it into a long rectangle make the most even strips. If you don't have a rolling pin, a wine bottle works well! 

Once the pasta dough is as thin as you can get it, starting at one (short) end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a cylinder.

With a sharp knife, hand cut the roll into pieces whose width is the width you want for your pasta. I went about the width of linguine. Carefully unroll the strips and you're all set.

I cooked the noodles separately and served them in the soup. If you wish, you can certainly cook the noodles in the soup.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add Spring onions. Cook until the onions soften an become translucent. Add in the beans, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in the yogurt until well combined.

To serve, place cooked noodles in individual serving bowls. Ladle the broth and beans over the top. Serve immediately.

Gowrulan Badamjanly Salat
Fried Eggplant Salad

Ingredients serves 4

  • 1 organic eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 to 2 t salt
  • water
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 C salad greens (I used baby greens, but you could chop larger greens into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded and chopped (I used an orange bell, green is probably traditional)
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 T fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place cubed eggplant in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss to coat, then cover with water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain. Rinse the eggplant and drain again. Set aside.

In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat the oil. Drop in the eggplant cubes and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove the eggplant cubes from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the salad greens, bell pepper, spring onions, herbs, and eggplant in a salad bowl. Toss well.

Mix the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper chile flakes together in a small bowl, then drizzle over the salad.

Pasta Pudding

Ingredients makes 4 small servings

  • 2 C organic whole milk
  • 1 C thin pasta, coarsely broken (I used a gluten-free capellini)
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract

Pour milk into a medium saucepan. As soon as the milk begins to rise, reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the pasta to the milk and stir. Cook according to the package instructions plus one more minute.

Stir in the sugar and vanilla and remove from the heat. This can be served warm or cold. It thickens as it cools; we served ours lukewarm.

And that's a wrap on our Turkmenistan adventure. We're off to the Polynesian island of Tuvalu next. Stay tuned!

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