Tasty Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak is the traditional food of the nomadic tribes who lived on the territory of the Central Asia, mainly kazakhs and kyrgyzs.

The translation of the word Besbarmak is "five fingers". In the kazakh cuisine this dish is mainly made from the horse meat. However, nowadays people adapted the dish to their own tastes using all other types of meat as well as camel meat, chicken and even fish. They add certain types of spices that originally did not exist in the local cuisine.

In the original version of Beshbarmak you should ideally use a piece of hind quarters (rump) of a horse, kazy and sujuk (horse meat products), rack of lamb. As you can't always find these types of meat, I'd like to share with you a simple beshbarmak recipe made with easily available ingredients.

Easiest and lasiest way of making Beshbarmak

Make sure to get the following ingredients ready and read the steps below before you start doing anything. As you might arrange those steps the way they suit you.

Should be enough for about 8 people, but then it all depends on many other factors, doesn't it. Try it once then you'll know for the next time how much of what you need. Nothing is carved on stone.;)

For stock: lamb (and / or beef) with bone - about 1.5 kg, salt not too much, as you'll have salt from the pastry when you boil it in the stock. 2 medium sized onions peeled and sliced in a ring shape, ground pepper

For pastry: 2 eggs, 200 ml of water, salt - 0.5 tsp, plain flour - about 600 grams.

Step One. Put your meat in a deep enough dish to cover it with cold water leaving enough space on the top so that it doesn't boil over.

Step Two. Bring to the boil constantly removing the foam, otherwise your stock will not be clear. Reduce heat when it starts to boil. Leave it covered to simmer. Skim the fat from top and keep it in a cup as you'll be using it later to make the sauce (that's if you don't mind the fat in food). (Meat should take about 2-2.5 hours to be ready.)

Step Three. Meanwhile, prepare your pastry. Don't forget to keep an eye on your meat, as it is still simmering. Check readiness of the meat from time to time. As cooking time for the meat may differ depending on the age of the animal, when and how it was butchered and kept etc.

Important tip for the lasiest way: If you are not pastry friendly ;) you may want to take a shortcut by using ready lasagna sheets, that you can buy from any food shops nowadays. If that's the case then ignore Step Three and jump to Step Four. Otherwise continue below.

  1. In a bowl mix the sifted flour (300-400 g), the eggs (you can lightly whip the eggs before you add into flour), add salt and pour water (or cold stock).
  2. Knead pastry, adding flour as needed. Knead the dough well, wrap in cling film and leave for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the work top with sifted flour and divide your pastry on it into manageable sized (size of a medium apple) balls, keep the rest wrapped so that it's not exposed to drafts.
  4. Then keeping the worktop lightly covered with flour roll each piece of pastry into a fairly thin layer about 2mm. Keep sprinkling with flour so that it doesn't stick to your hands or work surface. A good pastry should require a little bit of effort to roll out.
  5. Cut into squares (10x10cm). Leave them on a worktop lightly covered with flour. Each square has to sit away from the other. By the time you are ready to cook the pastry it should be dry a bit. And that's what you want.

Step Four. 30 minutes before your meat is ready, add half an onion (cut in a ring shape), pepper and salt into your stock.

Step Five. When the meat is ready get it out of the stock and set aside to dry a bit.

Step Six. Make a sauce. Pour the fatty stock you gathered in the cup over the rest of the onions, pepper and salt in a separate dish. And boil it on a low heat for about 7-8 minutes.

Step Six. Now cook the pastry in batches in the same stock for about 7-8 minutes. Sieve them out on to the big plate leaving the space in the center for meat. Then add your meat chopped in sizes that you prefer and put it in the center of the dish. Pour the sauce over the meat. Sprinkle some greens if you wish. And voila, beshbarmak is served.


Some people enjoy the stock in which you boiled the meat and cooked the pastry. I like it too, you might also like. Try it. Meat is ready when it easily comes off the bone.

Happy with your besbarmak? Don't know what else to cook? Have you tried to make Plov? It's another popular dish in Central Asia. Find the recipe just here.

If you want to add your own recipe, even easier and tastier than mine ;), please do so by following this link.

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