Turkmenistan (Asia) – 29 August 2021

Turkmenistan is located in the continent of Asia. It has Uzbekistan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Tajikistan to the east, Afghanistan and Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the west and the Caspian Sea to the northwest.

The capital is Ashgabat.

The official language is Turkmen.

The climate is diverse depending on the locations within the country. Temperatures seldom fall below 95F, but on the border of Afghanistan, temperatures can drop to -27F.

The staples are  pilaf, bread, vegetables, lamb, carrots, rice and onions, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, apricots and so much more (https://factsanddetails.com/central-asia/Turkmenistan/sub8_7b/entry-4820.html).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Turkmenistan

PALAW (TURKMEN PILAF) (https://turkmenkitchen.com/en/2011/12/16/turkmen-pilaf/):

  • 2.2 lbs. chicken/turkey/lamb/beef
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 1-1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 5 large carrots, julienned
  • 5-1/2 C water
  • 4-1/2 C basmati rice, rinsed
  1. Cut the meat into mouthful chunks. Add 1 TBSP of salt and mix well with your hand.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the meat chunks and fry until lightly browned. Add the onion. When the onion begins to soften, add the carrots and fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water and remaining salt and increase the heat. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pot and stir with a perforated spoon. When the rice begins to absorb the water, lower the heat to medium and cover the pot. Steam the rice for 30 minutes, stirring once in between. Serve warm.
Here is my Palaw. I decided to try something a little different with the meats. I got extra lean ground chicken, beef and turkey. Then I took about 1/4 C each and mixed them together, then made meatballs as you can see. The flavors were overall really good. I also fixed me a good spinach salad.

BAKLAVA (https://www.whats4eats.com/desserts/baklava-recipe):

Pastry:

  • Phyllo dough 20 sheets (1/2 of a 1 lb. package)
  • 1 C melted unsalted butter
  • 3 C walnuts, pistachios, or almonds, finely chopped
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

Syrup:

  • 1-1/2 C sugar
  • 1-1/2 C water
  • ½ C honey
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Brush a 13×9-inch baking pan with some of the melted butter. Lay 9 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the pan, brushing each with the melted butter before laying down the next.
  2. Mix the nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves together in a bowl and spread half the mixture evenly over the phyllo. Lay two sheets of phyllo over the nuts, brushing each with butter. Then spread the remaining 9 sheets of phyllo over the second layer of nuts, brushing each sheet with the butter.
  3. Trim the phyllo to fit the pan and use a sharp knife to cut into even diamond or square shapes. Sprinkle the top of the baklava lightly with water.
  4. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil if the top starts turning too brown.
  5. While the baklava bakes, mix the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from heat and cool.

When the baklava comes out of the oven, recut it with a sharp knife. Gently spoon the syrup evenly over the baklava, taking particular care to get it between the cut edges. Let the baklava set for several hours to soak up the syrup before serving. Cover loosely to store.

Here is my version of the Baklava. I decided on this one that I like walnuts, pistachios and almonds, but I did not have any almonds, so I chopped up a cup each of walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Super tasty!

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