Traditional Uyghur Food From East Asia
One particular joy of my life is my unofficially adopted daughter, Nina along with her husband and two children. She came from China to complete her schooling in Hawaii.
I have been intrigued by the stories of her people, the Uyghurs (wee-gers). She has opened a whole new world to me through her food, dancing, and lifestyle.
It has been a delight to watch Nina grow from a studious student and exuberant professional dancer into a beautiful and dutiful wife and mother. Whenever we visit, she is not hesitant to share what she learned about making delicious Uyghur food.
Probably the most impressive thing I have watched Nina learn is the art of making pulled noodles by hand. Her mother lovingly taught her this fine craft on a visit one year. These secrets are handed down from generation to generation.
Nina can now make delicious noodles served with broth, polos which are rice platters or "pillows" topped with lamb, beef or chicken (Uyghurs do not eat pork), shish kebabs, and spiced flatbreads. She spices her meats and breads with cumin, garlic, and onions.
Shou La Mian is a special type of handmade noodle that is made from flour, water and salt. The dough is divided into small balls. Then it is and stretched by hand. You can watch the video below to see what a fine art it is.
The noodles Nina makes are a bit thicker than those we are used to in America, but they are soft and tender and delicious. She often fries vegetables and serves it with the noodles together with a broth of lamb soup "sauce".
Another dish is samsa (lamb pies) and they are incredible. She also serves fruits, nuts, and cheese.
Nina also makes boiled dumplings (ququ) filled with meat and sometimes vegetables. She often adds coriander to spice it.
She always serves her entrees on beautifully decorated plates and bowls which she has carefully chosen. She often mixes raisins in with the meat which was odd to me at first, but I soon found it to be delightful.
Uyghurs make many different kinds of nang (bread) including flatbread, bagels, flaky bread, and sourdough bread amongst others. They often mix in meat, onions, sesame seeds and hot spices.
Did I say that I just love Uyghur food? I wish you could all experience it for yourselves. It is sooo goooood!
It has been a taste festival for me the last few years since knowing Nina and her family. They truly love life and eating. I also found out that Uyghurs live long - about 25 percent live to be 100 years of age. Could it be because of their food and lifestyle? I do not doubt it.