Here comes part II of our sweet story listing the most delicious and exquisite sweets that you can find in Uzbekistan...
Pakhlava is probably the most known and popular type of sweets in Central and Western Asia, which has many variations in recipes depending on the country of origin. In Uzbekistan pakhlava is more dense and sweeter than its analogs from Western Asia.
However, no matter the origin, every recipe of pakhlava is quite elaborated and time consuming. The main ingredients include large quantities of various nuts, walnuts being the favorite choice for Uzbek pakhlava, then honey and melted butter, and many sheets of extremely thin dough.
For a long time in ancient history pakhlava was accessible only to the members of royal and noble families.
The combination of honey, nuts and thin airy dough was considered very beneficial for health and strength, especially for men.
Indeed, once tasted - it is extremely hard to stop yourself from eating yet another piece of this heavenly pastry!
The next competitor for the most tasty treat in Uzbekistan would be chak-chak. Being quite a simple pastry, it is nonetheless among the most important ones that are always present at any festive gathering.
The origins of chak-chak actually lie in ancient Bulgaria, when the Khan (the ruler of the land) wanted to surprise his son on the day of his wedding with something unusual, but which would represent the essence of the country and of the event itself at the same time.
All recipes of chak-chak are quite simple and the list of ingredients mostly include only flour, eggs and honey. The flour and eggs are mixed into a dough, which is then rolled and cut into short strips and deep fried. The fried pieces are then bathed richly in warmed up honey and traditionally formed into a conical heap.
Chak-chak is the most traditional dessert served at any wedding, as the honey-glued pieces symbolize the strong bonds that are formed by the couple, while the shape and sweetness - happiness and joyful life.
URAMA or KHVOROST
Yet another simple, but very tasty and beloved pastry that you can find on almost every table in Uzbekistan - urama or khvorost (which literally translated as "brushwood").
Khvorost is extremely easy to make. One just would need to mix flour, eggs and butter into an unleavened dough, roll it into thin pieces and deep fry them. The final touch is to richly sprinkle with powdered sugar.
This very special treat would be hard to find, if impossible, anywhere else than Uzbekistan. Visually similar to whipped cream, nishalda (or nisholda) is made of egg whites mixed with a unique essence of herbs such as Acanthophyllum and Glycyrrhiza (best known for liquorice).
Nishalda is made almost exclusively for the spring festival of Nawruz - Persian New Year that is celebrated on March, 21st. The paste is very thick and although being sweet - it has many beneficial properties due to the components.
Last, but not least, there is another popular tasty treat that has its origins in Georgia and which attained some special features in Uzbekistan - gozinaki, which is essentially various nuts and seeds pressed and hold together with honey.
Consisting of only natural ingredients, gozinaki are among the healthiest snacks. What makes Uzbek gozinaki special is their shape - nuts or seeds (and sometimes their combination) are pressed and rolled into small bite-size balls, which makes them not only aesthetically very pleasing, but also very practical to eat.
In these two articles we´ve tried to list the most special and traditional ones, but there are still astounding amount of other sweets varieties that one might find in Uzbekistan, so a trip to this wonderful land would be definitely worthwhile, full of many discoveries of yet unknown hidden treasures!