Kyrgyzstan is located in the continent of Asia. It has Kazakhstan and Russia to the north, Mongolia to the northeast, China to the east, Tajikistan to the south, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the west.
The capital is Bishkek.
The official languages are Kyrgyz, and Russian.
The climate is dry hot summers in July, and rainy in January.
The staple foods are rice, tea, lamb, sour cream, sausage, pork, pilaf, camel, goat, horse, apples, pears, apricots and so many more delicious foods (https://factsanddetails.com/central-asia/Kyrgyzstan/sub8_5b/entry-4765.html).
For the dough:
- 1-1/2 C of warm water
- 1 TBSP salt
- 4 C flour (keep another ½ if you will need to add a little more)
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 C of melted clarified butter or ghee
- 1 egg and a little water for egg wash
- Sesame seed or nigella seed (optional)
- Place warm water into a medium bowl, add the sugar, yeast, salt, and mix everything together.
- Add 4 cups of flour and start kneading the dough. This dough should not be too hard and not too soft and most definitely not stick to your hands. If it is too soft, or too sticky add the ½ cup of flour.
- Once the dough is nicely kneaded, cover the bowl with a lid or wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
- Once the dough is rested and the filling is prepared, take out the rested dough and prep it for rolling.
- Using your knuckles flatten the dough into a circle. The idea is to make the circle larger and larger.
- Use flour liberally in order to prevent the dough sticking to itself.
- Fold the dough into two in using your knuckles press the dough down. Repeat this process around the circle, making sure the dough is evenly thinning and getting larger.
- Once you have an adequate circle, latch one edge of the dough on the rolling pin and roll the entire dough.
- Start rolling the dough. The best way to roll the dough is to hold the rolling pin from both sides, creating a back and forth motion.
- After each roll open up the dough ad latch from a new side. Again, make sure you are evenly rolling the dough.
- Once the circle is big enough, using your hands, pull the dough gently to make it even bigger and thinner.
- Pull it from all sides evenly. Some tears are fine, but make sure not to pull too hard so that you rip it.
For the filling:
- 1-1/2 lbs. lamb meat
- 3 medium onions
- 1 TBSP salt (add more if needed)
- 1-1/2 TBSP Cumin seeds, lightly crushed
- ½ TBSP black pepper
- While the dough is resting, prep the filling for the samsas.
- Cut the lamb into very small cubes. I like the lamb to be a little fattier. Samsas will be nice and juicy.
- Place cut lamb into a large bowl.
- Cut onions in half, thinly cut the halves across and thinly slice the onions.
- Place the onions on top of the meat. Do NOT mix just yet.
- Add the salt, cumin seeds, black pepper on top of the onion, mix onion with spices and slightly mince it with your hands.
- Mix all the ingredients along with meat.
Putting it all together:
- Once the dough is thin and large enough, spread melted butter or ghee all over the dough.
- Using a knife or a pizza cutter, slice the dough across, making 3-inch wide lines.
- Each samsa needs about 12-inch ling line to wrap around.
- Some of the samsas will be patched from pieces of smaller dough.
- Place a TBSP (or slightly more) of meat filling on the edge of the line.
- Start rolling the dough from side to side, creating a triangle.
- Wrap it filling in a triangle until 12-inches are used up.
- Tuck the edge of the dough around the bottom of the samsas.
- Some of the samsas might turn out a little disfigured, which is absolutely normal. It will all taste just the same.
- Preheat the oven at 375F.
- Cover a baking sheet with a parchment paper and place all the samsas on the baking sheet.
- Make an egg wash with the egg and a little water.
- Brush the egg wash on samsas and sprinkle some sesame seeds (or nigella seeds) on samsas.
- Bake the samsas for 30 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
Here is how my Samsas turned out. I used Whole Wheat flour. Still the flavor was good!!
Kyrgyzstan Apple Cake (https://www.internationalcuisine.com/kyrgyzstan-apple-cake/):
- 3 or 4 apples that are good to bake like a granny smith
- 1 C sugar
- 3 to 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 C all-purpose flour, sifted
- Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with some parchment paper.
- Peel and thinly slice the apples and place in a bowl.
- Add in the sugar and mix well.
- Add in the beaten eggs and flour and mix all together.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan.
- Bake about 30-35 minutes or until a test pick comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and serve warm.
I used monk fruit instead of sugar, whole wheat flour and monk fruit powdered sugar. Very good tasting as well!!