An Ode to Lagman

" Do you like Lagman? Do you like it as much as I do? ", having paraphrased the words of classic, I want to ask you, curious readers and inveterate travelers. No? And you do not even know what it is. Well, I do not dare to condemn, but my duty is to enlighten.
It is hard to describe this dish or to drive it into some kind of framework. However, I do know one thing, it's not a soup and a main course, although if that is desired, can be both this and that. What? Are you really confused?

Even an ancient legend that tells of its originality will not be able to clarify this question. It says: "Once, three weary travelers met at the crossroads of three roads. They talked, so, it became clear that everybody is extremely hungry.
“I have nothing except kazan” - the first traveler said.
“I have only a little flour and jerked beef” - sadly said the second one.

Fortunately, the third stranger admitted that he had a radish and spices, furthermore he could do something else, he could make something out of existing products, because this man was the pupil of cook. That was nothing else to do, travelers had to rely on the student. They located near a spring, and a young cook made a delicious Lagman. Namely, at that time, a Chinese dignitary was driving round this place, occasionally, was very hungry too. The flavor of the dish was so pleasing that Mister also asked to be treated with such dish. There was not limit of his delight, and in gratitude, he allowed three travelers to prepare the dish without paying any duties in his city, and even issued them a safe conduct. "
Have you noticed that the arrived dignitary was Chinese? This is no occasionally. Actually, Lagman was born in China and only after some time passed, was brought into Central Asia by settlers of Dungan and Uighur. By the way, each dish in China has its own symbols. Lagman is used to be a dish of love.
Today, there are two ways of cooking Lagman in Uzbekistan: Uzbek and Uighur. I can not say that I see a fundamental difference in preparation, but several little nuances which force to make a choice, still exists.

As you already understood, Lagman is a dish made ​​of flour, meat and vegetables. Or rather of noodles and gravy for it. Thus, Uighur Lagman is necessarily stretched noodles in a special way (chuzma Lagman) and the gravy from the meat and vegetables (kyle or vaja), which can be quite various: thick or semi-liquid.
Uzbek Lagman admits a cutting noodle (kesme), and the sauce is considered to be a liquid that makes the dish look like a soup, as it allows some liberties towards to ingredients that are not valid in the classical Uighur recipe. All this does not make the dish to be worse, but simply facilitates the choice between catering for the connoisseurs of Lagman.

Do you have a desire to try it on? Come to Tashkent or cook for yourself.
Well, if you really want to learn something, it is always better to learn from the classics. Therefore, I suggest you a recipe of Uighur cuisine. That is a very delicious dish. I am sure, that after your culinary success, the quantity of Lagman fans will increase.

To prepare the gravy (kyle or vaja):
Lamb with a dumbo - 1,2 kilogram or not a lean beef - 800 grams;
Vegetable oil - 300miligrams;
Onion - 2 heads (not small);
Carrot - 2 pieces (medium size);
Tomatoes - 2 pieces;
Tomato paste - 100grams;
Bulgarian pepper (capsicum) - 4 pieces;
Radish - 1 piece;
Garlic - 5 cloves;
Jusay - a kind of wild onion with a faint odor of garlic (can be substituted wild garlic);
Jamdo - Chinese variety of long bean;
Spices: turmeric, coriander (cilantro), black pepper, crushed sweet red pepper, crushed seeds of parsley and celery, cardamom.
And the greengrocery: Raykhon (a type of basil), dill, green onion, parsley.

Knead a dough from water, flour and salt, as for dumplings. Adding egg is not necessary, but make sure that flour is of the highest grade. Leave the dough to stay in a bowl for 30 minutes, occasionally mixing it carefully. Then the ready dough is to be shared into the balls with a diameter of 5 cm. Then roll bundles out of these balls, the size of a sausage and postpone them for 10-15 minutes, pre-oiled, in order to avoid them to stick together. After that, you should take each bundle by both hands with the ends, and begin gently to stretch on both sides, hitting at the center of the table. Retract it up to about a meter long, fold it in a half and repeat the procedure. Do so a few times until you get long and round noodles, with a diameter slightly larger than the classic spaghetti.
And do not scream that it is extremely hard and takes a long time. Because each masterpiece requires a total commitment. And yet, in case you are lucky to visit Tashkent city, ask professional cooks to show you how to prepare chuzma in Uighur café. That is the place where the real show can be. If you are unable to cope with a small piece of dough, then the real masters are managed with kilograms of it, masterfully turning, twisting and tapping it all on the table, turning the dough in thousands of threads on your eyes.
But, nevertheless, our dough is ready. Cut it and boil spaghetti-like noodles in a salted water. After that, allow it to drain.
Now it is time for preparing a gravy. Everything should be set on a high heat. Take a kettle or pan with high bumpers, warm up oil. When the oil starts boiling, safely send  chopped in small slices (1x3 cm) meat. Then sliced ​​ by half rings onion, carefully should be fried during 15 minutes, being stirred constantly. After that, lay radish, carrots, tomatoes, garlic and a little tomato paste to the pot. Vegetables should be sliced with a not arrow stripes of an average size. By the way, this way of slicing is called julienne. Yes – it is just a way of cutting, rather than the mushroom dish, as many think. Well, we will not be distracted.
Give the vegetables a little time for stewing one to seven minutes, and then add the remaining ingredients, chopped, well, you remember the way it should be. Add spices and salt. Fill it all with the broth or a boiled water, so that only to cover the contents of the pot. Leave it for boiling during 10 minutes.
Remember, that the vegetables in a real Uighur Lagman should not be too soft or overcooked, they should have an easy crunch.
Now pour over a cooked noodles and dishes, where the dish will be served with a boiling water. Lagman is a portion dish and it used to be served in kasa or deep plates.
Lay the noodles, pour sauce on its top, put the chopped greens and take it on the table.
Lagman is usually served with a soy sauce, vinegar and dressing called "laza."
To prepare laza you need 2 heads of garlic, 20 grams of ground red pepper, a few spoons of vegetable oil. Hot oil is poured into a finely chopped or ground garlic and pepper and stired. Seasoning is ready, but be ware, it is very spicy!
Lagman can be eaten with forks or spoons - depends on your desire.
Bon Appetite!

Oh, by the way, if something does not work, still come to Tashkent to try on a "standard."

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