12:00 AM EST
Homesick For A Home Not My Own
In 2005 I had the honor of spending time with my friend Jamila’s kind, generous, and genuinely loving family in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a huge (ninth largest) country with a small population (less than NYC), the crossroads between Asia and Europe and home of many different cultures and ethnicities. I immediately became part of Jamila’s family and in Kazakhstan family is everything. I think about them often and miss them dearly.
But you’re here for food, not my nostalgic musings! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to laghman, the delicious, luxuriously chewy hand-pulled noodles of Central Asia and the Uyghur people in particular. Usually served with lamb and vegetables as a spicy soup or stew dish, laghman were one of my favorite new foods along with another noodle dish, beshbarmak and kazy, a type of horse sausage. Granted, a taste of Central Asia may be hard to come by in your neck of the woods. Chinese (Lanzhou) knife-cut noodles or “lamein” are rather similar if you’re so inclined to try something new. But if you’re in Chicago, Kyrgyz restaurant Jibek Jolu, recently featured on the Cooking Channel’s “United Tastes of America” also serves them up. In any case, Zee in Los Angeles, also a friend of Jamila’s, promised to teach me how to make laghman. Little does she know I am so going to take her up on the offer the next time I’m on the West Coast!
So…Why is the woman in the photo smiling? What I interpreted as an act of culinary acrobatics bordering on magic Jamila’s aunt considered a mundane kitchen chore. Laughing she asked, “you’re taking a picture of this?”
Flour + Water = Miracle