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Kabardino-Balkaria: Cuisine
June 13, 2015 15:18


The cuisine of Kabardino-Balkaria is very diverse, because Kabardians and Balkarians have their own dishes. People of Kabarda living on the plain use more vegetables, wheat flour, potatoes and beans. The main components of the Balkarian cuisine are meat (lamb), byproducts, all milk derivatives - cheese and fermented milk drinks.

There are a lot of kinds of cheese in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria - young, smoked, salted, dried. The culinary symbols of Kabardino-Balkaria have long been considered ayran and khychiny (traditional flat pies with various fillings). Now they can be bought all over Russia. But the most delicious ones, of course, are made at home, in Kabardino-Balkaria.

The difference between food cooked in the cities and in the highland villages is big. Of course, village products win, although ayran in bottles is also pretty good. Almost every restaurant and cafe serves shish-kebabs (lamb and beef). You can often see a dish called “zhau-baur” in menu – it is a kebab of lamb liver wrapped in fat. “Zhyorme” are pieces of lamb stomach wrapped in fat, too, and boiled in broth.

Meat “shurpa” (soup), “gedlibzhe” (a Kabardian dish, chicken in sour cream sauce), “lyagur” (dried meat), “sokhta” (home sausage), “lyape with lyapstepkha” (soup with dough balls), “pasta” (a dish of millet and corn meal, similar to Italian polenta). There are a lot of different sauces, the most popular of them are based on sour milk with garlic and herbs.

Desserts include baklava, lakums (donuts fried in oil), zakeris (which is made from dough poured with honey and sold in blocks). As far as Kabardino-Balkariya is a Muslim republic, wine is not popular here. Even homemade wine associated with the Caucasus by many people. Urban and even rural cafes have alcohol, but it is imported for tourists. Homemade wine is all the same served in the Elbrus region, on the Golubye Lakes or the Chegemskie Waterfalls, the places where there are always a lot of tourists: demand creates supply.

But the locals drink mainly tea or ayran, what about soft drinks, they can drink only buza. If you are told that buza is a kind of beer, please, don’t believe. There’s nothing in common, except some carbonation. Buza is mostly a kind of “mushroom drink”, if anyone remembers this home-made drink based on kombucha. Buza is made of fermented millet or corn. It is very sweet, thick, of white and gray color. Alcohol is not smacked in it.

Both Kabardians and Balkarians are very hospitable – they can invite a person they met only a couple of hours ago to their houses. In the villages such invitations can be heard even earlier. In a traditional Balkarian or Kabardian house the hostess and children never sit at the table.

They stand aside watching the guests and the host, wait in case those will need something. Such situation can rarely be seen in the cities, and people in the villages and highland villages strictly follow the traditions. Do not try to invite the hostess to the table – all the same, she will refuse. It is better simply to heartily thank her. It is always impolite to interrupt your interlocutor, but interrupting older people at the Caucasus is absolutely unacceptable.

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Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kabardino-Balkaria Regional Cuisines Russian cuisine North Caucasus  

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