The speaker brought in a some examples of cookware which he acquired in Uzbekistan:
The first is a large pot called a khazan. The picture does not reflect how large and deep it actually is. The pilaf dish which we would sample after the lecture was cooked in this dish. We were told that the odd handles on the rim are used to tie the vessel easily to pack animals.
I can't remember the name of this one, but it is sort of an inverse pot used for cooking bread.
Following the lecture we sampled several dishes:
To go with the lecture, an Uzbek dinner at EuroAsia in Encino was organized.
First up were two Uzbek salads:
This was a salad of tomato and onion. Nothing too exciting, but not had.
The second salad was much more noteworthy. This included thinly sliced radishes, beef, and fried onions. The radishes were very creamy, and I loved the crunch from the onions.
Next was Shurpa soup with various vegetables, beef and dill. Not too different from most vegetable soups, but good.
The next course was my favorite. Called sopsma, these are the central Asian version of the Indian somosa. The rendition here was filled with generous amounts of lamb and onion.
The fourth course was khanum. This is the Uzbek version of a dumpling. It was somewhere between a Russian Piroshki and some sort of dim sum. The noodle like wrapper was filled with beef and vegetables and steamed.
The main course consisted of chicken kebabs and pilaf served with a tangy sauce. The pilaf was very good. In this version of pilaf, the surface starch is removed from the rice before cooking so that every grain remains separate. It also lacks the crispy crust present in Persian pilaf dishes. The chicken was actually very impressive. Despite being simple white meat chicken, it was very moist and very full of flavor.
To go with dinner, one of the other guests picked up this bottle of Georgian wine from a liquor store next to the restaurant. It had an almost port like smell and a very dark, unfiltered look.It was not something of which I could drink too much.
This was a great dinner. I learned a lot about an unfamiliar cuisine and had some great food.