The Tatar national cuisine


Tatars are descendants of Turkic-speaking tribes, they took a lot of values from them: culture, traditions, and customs.
Tatar cuisine’s history started in times of Volga Bulgaria – the “mother” of Kazan. Even in the XV century, this state was a great developed one. It was a commercial, cultural and educational city where people of different cultures and religions lived together. In addition, a great trade route connected East and West was passed through it.
All these facts affected the modern traditions of the Tatars, including Tatar cuisine, which can be characterized by the great diversity of nourishing food, which is simple and complex at the same time, and, of course, it has an extraordinary taste.
Basically, the traditional Tatar cuisine is based on dough dishes with various stuffing and topping.
Well, let's find out more about this tasty and delicious cuisine! 

Tatar main courses

Bishbarmak (Бишбармак)
The Tatar word "bish" means the number 5, "Barmak" means a finger. So, it can be translated as “5 fingers” - this dish is eaten with your all five fingers. This tradition originates from the time when Turkic nomads used only their hands while eating. Bishbarmak is a hot dish. It consists finely chopped boiled meat (lamb or beef) with chopped onion rings and boiled unleavened noodles, all ingredients are strongly peppers. It usually is served in a cauldron or a pot, and everyone is free to take as much as he wants by using only his or her hands. This dish is usually served with hot drink nourishing broth, which is lightly salted and peppered.
Tokmach (Токмач)
Tokmach is a traditional chicken noodle soup with potatoes, chicken and finely sliced homemade noodles. This dish has a special taste due to a combination of these products. Indeed, the soup is incredibly delicious and nourishing.
Usually, the soup is sprinkled with herbs (dill or chives).
This is a light dish, it caters for people on a diet.
Tartar Azu 
Tartar Azu is a stew meat (beef or veal) with potatoes and pickles, tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, onions, and, of course, salt and pepper. It should be cooked in a cauldron or other cast iron cookware. Delicious, very nourishing meal!
Kyzdyrma (Кыздырма)
Kyzdyrma is a traditional roast dish. Originally, it is made of horse meat (sometimes lamb, beef, or chicken). Meat is fried on a heated frying pan with fat. Grilled meat is usually served in a baking dish or another elongated shape dish, with onion, potatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaf adding. All these products together go to the oven. The dish has an incredible smell and taste! Moreover, it is really beautiful!
Katlama (Катлама)
Katlama is a steamed meat rolls. It is made of ground beef, potato, onion, flour, and eggs. Katlama - Tatar manta rays, so it should be cooked in mantyshnitsa (a steaming pot). After the dish is cooked, it have to be cut into pieces of 3 cm thick, pour with the melted butter and serve. This dish is should be eaten with the help of your hands.

Tatar baked foods

Echpochmak (Эчпочмак)
The Tatar word "ech" means the number 3, "pochmak" means angle. So, it could be translated as – 3 angles, or a triangle. This is the meaning of the dish’s name.
Is a juicy, delicious pies with finely chopped meat (preferably lamb), onion and potatoes. Sometimes they add a little amount of sheep's tail fat into the stuffing. Echpochmak is usually made of unleavened or leavened dough.
The main feature of this dish is that the stuffing is raw and then it is cooked together with dough. It should be salted and peppered.
Echpochmak must be baked for 30 minutes. Usually, this dish is served with salted and peppered meat nourishing broth.
Peremyachi (Перемячи)
Peremyachi are little pies, which are fried in a pan with a large amount of oil, fat. The dish is made of unleavened dough stuffed with meat (usually ground beef with finely chopped onion, pepper). Pies have a rounded shape. This dish is very nourishing and tasty! Usually, it is served with sweet tea.
Kystybiy (Кыстыбый)
Kystybiy is a griddle-cake with potatoes. Griddle-cake are made of unleavened dough and should be cooked on a strongly heated frying pan, without oil. Mashed potatoes should be cooked separately, then it is placed in small portions into each griddle-cake. Kystybiy is a very smooth and tasty dish! Usually it is served  with a sweet tea.
Balesh (Балеш)
Balesh is a delicious potato pie with duck's flesh or chicken.
Balesh is usually made of unleavened dough. There should be a lot of stuffing in it. Also, there is a small hole in pie, it is used to add some fat into it while cooking the lid while cooking.
Types of the balesh pie: vak-balesh (or elesh) - "small" and “big” zur-balesh.

Tatar snacks

Kyzylyk (Кызылык)
Another name of kyzylyk dish is Tartar horse meat. The dish is exactly a smoked horse meat (sausages), which is dried with the help of a special technology, with the addition of spices, salt. It is believed that kyzylyk is a helpful for men's health, it gives strength and energy.
Kalzha (Калжа)
Kalzha is one of the most popular kinds of traditional Tatar snacks. It usually is made of lamb meat (beef or horse meat), which is sprinkled with spices, garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Then the meat should be wrap into a roll and fry in a frying pan. After the main preparation, the roll is divided into several parts. It has to be served cold. 
Tartar beef tenderloin 
Beef tenderloin is fried with some animal fat, then add chopped onion rings, carrots, sour cream. The finished dish is should be served in a special elongated bowl with boiled potatoes, all are sprinkled with herbs. If someone wants they can add cucumbers and tomatoes.

Tatar sweets

Chak-chak (Чак-чак)
Chak-chak is a sweet which is made of dough with honey. The dough should be cut into a noodle and fried in a large quantity of oil. After the main preparation, the honey (sugar) should be added in dish. Originally, chak-chak is decorated with nuts, chocolate, candies, raisins. Little pieces usually are served with tea or coffee. Yummy!

Gubadia (Губадия)
Gubadia is a sweet multiply layer cake. Its filling is made of boiled rice, eggs, courts (dried cottage cheese), raisins, dried apricots, and prunes. Gubadia used is made of unleavened dough. This dish is one of the most delicious in the Tatar cuisine. It’s a typical dish for holidays, big celebrations. The pie is usually served with tea.
Smetannik (Сметанник)
Smetannik is very soft and tasty pie. The ingredients are yeast dough and whipped cream with eggs and sugar. It is usually served as a dessert with tea. Smetannik is so smooth, it melts in your mouth, so, sometimes you can eat the hole pie and don’t even notice the process.
Talkysh kelyave (Талкыш келяве)
Talkysh keyave can be compared with cotton candy, but this product is made of honey. This small solid pyramids have an unusual honey aroma. It is sweet, it melts in your mouth – it is only a pleasure. Very tasty dish!
Koymak (Коймак)
Koymak is Tatar pancakes which are made of leavened or unleavened dough. Koymak can be made of any type of flour: wheat, oat, pea, buckwheat. It is served with butter, sour cream, honey or jam.

Tatar bread

Kabartma (Кабартма)
Kabartma is a dough fried in a pan or in open fire. Usually eaten hot, with sour cream or berry jam.
Ikmek (Икмэк)
Ikmek is a rye bread, cooking of hop ferment with the bran and honey. Bakes in oven for about 40 minutes. It usually eaten with sour cream or butter. 

Tatar beverages

Koumiss (Кумыс)
Koumiss is a soft drink which is made of mare's milk. The drink has a whitish color. It is tasty, has sweet and sour flavor, very refreshing!
Koumiss can get different – it depends on the conditions of production process and ferment, the cooking time. Sometimes it can be “strong” and has a slightly intoxicating effect, and sometimes it is “weaker”, with a soothing effect.
Koumiss is a very healthy product:
- beneficial effects on the nervous system;
- antibacterial properties;
- cures stomach ache;
- keeps your skin young and fresh;
- heals wounds and so on.
Airan (Айран)
Airan is the product which is made of cow's, goat's or sheep's milk and obtained by lactic bacteria. It tastes like a sour yogurt and looks like a liquid sour cream. It is light, but at the same time a hearty drink, very good and nourishing. 
Katyk (Катык)
The Turkish word "kat" is translated like “food”. It is a kind of sour milk. Actually, it is made of milk plus special bacterial cultures. It has its own characteristics that distinguish it from other types of fermented drinks. Katyk is usually cooked of boiled milk, it makes the drink fattier. Indeed, katyk is really nourishing drink, and it is very healthy!
Traditional tea with milk
The tea can be both black and green at the same time, the main thing that it should be strong. The drink is a half tea and half milk (preferably cold) in one cup. It is believed that early nomadic Turkic tribes drank that tea as a full meal. It really nourishing!

All these dishes can be sampled in:
- restaurants "Bilyar" ("Биляр");
- café "Tea House" ("Дом чая");
- bakeries "Katyk" ("Катык");
- supermarkets "Bahetle" ("Бахетле").