5 Popular Uzbek Desserts
It is common in Europe for the main cuisine to be served first, followed by sweets and desserts. In Uzbekistan, however, things are done differently. Guests are greeted with different sweets, dried fruits, and fragrant tea. The main dish is then served at the end with salads and sauces. But a table without any sweets is considered incomplete and may even suggest the host doesn’t respect the guests.
There are a lot of types of national Uzbek sweets that have been consumed through the ages. Here, people eat sweets with green tea and are particularly fond of jams, usually eaten for breakfast. While national sweets are very popular, so to are international offerings such as cheesecake, sponge cakes, chocolates, and so on. What is more, the Uzbeks have embraced the custom of serving cakes to celebrate birthdays.
Here, I introduce you some of the popular and traditional Uzbek sweets that abound in flavor yet use simple ingredients.
Let’s start with Nishalda, a lush white mass, like whipped cream. It is not easy to make and it does take a lot of time and hard work. This dessert uses liquorice root, granulated sugar, egg white, lemon juice, and water.
Firstly, a syrup is made with the sugar and water, which is then added to whipped egg white. The roots of the paniculate thorn (the so-called etmak or beh) are cleaned, cut into small pieces, boiled in water, and added to the foam of egg white. Then the mixture is stirred continuously until a thick, white, creamy mass is formed.
In a well-beaten nishalda, the syrup does not separate from the white foam and settle to the bottom. For flavor, lemon juice and vanilla can be added when whipping. The Uzbek people eat this delicate dessert with hot flatbread from a tandoor.
Also called as “peshmak” or “pashmoq”, it is an ancient dessert which all members of the family enjoy making. The filling is flour, sugar, oil, lemon juice, and water and it is prepared in a way very similar to nishalda.
Water and sugar are stirred together, lemon juice added, and the mixture is boiled until it becomes caramel. Next ring shapes are made from the caramel and dipped all over in flour. The flour gives it a very nutty flavor. It is then stretched out and folded into a figure 8; the caramel is very easy to stretch.
Halvaitar is a traditional dessert made from fried flour and sugar syrup, which is soft and delicate. It is usually prepared with very simple and inexpensive ingredients: flour, oil, sugar, and water.
First, heat the vegetable oil in a pot, then gently pour the flour into the oil. Stirring constantly, fry the mixture until it becomes light brown. The next step is heating the water with the sugar. Once ready, gently add the syrup to the flour mixture and cook. It needs to be stirred occasionally until the mixture thickens to the consistency of sour cream.
The Uzbeks used to serve it for special events, but it has become less popular recently. Which is a shame. Beautifully served sprinkled with chopped nuts or creatively decorated in some way, it would be a favorite of foreign guests. It can be served with hot tea. Simple, but great!
4. Kush Tili (Tongue of a Bird)
This sweet is made into different shapes depending on whether it is “urama” or chak-chak”, but the ingredients are the same: flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and some salt.
First of all, a dough is made with the four, milk, sugar, eggs, and a little salt. After kneading, it is left covered with a towel for 30-40 minutes. On a floured surface, the dough is then rolled out to 1-1.5 mm thickness.
With a knife, strips of dough are cut, which are then rolled up. Each strip should be 5-6 cm wide and 45-50 cm long. the rolls are then deep fried in vegetable then drained on a paper towel. Powdered sugar is sprinkled to the top and they are ready to enjoy with hot tea. They melt in your mouth!
5. Parvarda (Uzbek Caramel)
This is a traditional candy caramel delicacy that has been cooked at home for several centuries in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They used to be prepared at home for festivals, holidays, and special occasions. Nowadays, such sweets are produced by large confectionery factories and you can buy them from markets.
The recipe is very simple and consists of only five ingredients that should be available in any kitchen: flour, sugar, water, lemon juice, and butter.
Traditionally, these caramels were prepared in the form of pillows or balls, but they can also be flat circles. However they are shaped, the taste is the same – sweet with a pleasant sourness and a delicate aroma of lemon. Sometimes some finely crushed nuts or sesame seeds are added, making them taste more vivid and interesting.
These delicious sweets may not be very healthy – they are very high in calories – but they are made from exclusively natural ingredients. These sweets are quick to make and will always delight!
Related: Most Popular Uzbek Foods