When I make shashlik and naan I make a Central Asian salad to go with it. Since I am breaking with the tradition menu for this meal, I do not feel constrained about the ingredients I put in my salad. There is not a lot of the European dill and fennel in Central Asia, but as a Californian I’m going to add it to my salad anyway.
Tag Archives: Central Asian cuisine
Shashlik is really just the Central Asian name for a kabob, something on a skewer. In Kashgar, at least on the street, this is almost always lamb coated in a cumin based spice blend. Lamb is cut into small (3/8 inch) cubes and skewered with bits of lamb fat. The stick is dipped into a tray of the spice blend and then grilled over hot coals. While the kabab is on the grill, the seller uses a fan to boost the heat of the coals and picks up some of the sticks to baste the skewers still on the grill with the rendering lamb fat dripping from them. If you like the crispy crust of grilled lamb you will be mad about these.
Naan (nan, non, n’n, neng) means bread and usually refers to leavened flat bread. There is a wide assortment of breads that go by that name. Some are small (Afgan), some are snowshoe shaped (Indian) and some are not even very flat at all (Tajik). In Xinjiang, the naan are big, round and flat in the middle. This bread was the most available, the safest thing to eat on the street and also the tastiest. We ate this bread every day while we were traveling through Xinjiang.
For Mother’s Day, Jan has requested Uyghur Shashlik and Naan for dinner. Normally, if I was making these dishes, I would make a tomato and cucumber salad as the side dish. For me this has gotten to be a bit boring and predictable. I want to do something else.