Monday, May 8, 2017

Shashlik


Shashlik, or shashlyk, (Russian: шашлык) is a is a dish of shallow meat, usually lamb with a minimum of spices and an essential street food in most of the countries of the former USSR. There are disputes about where the name shashlik comes from but most likely is that “Shash” in ancient Turkic means “piece”. And ”lik” means ”six”. As a result, shashlik - is six pieces of meat. Shish” in Turkic - means "peak", "bayonet", “lik” - "for" it also could just mean skewered meat.


The meat for Shashlik (as opposed to other forms of shish Kabob) is usually in form of large chunks of meat. There are many variants, in the shape, size and choice of meat portions.  The preparation is very important - the temperature of the coals, time marinating, and careful presentation of the meat.

A typical Shashlik is prepared using leg or side of lamb in a quantity that depends on how many people you’ll feed (recommendation use at least 500gm per adult).  Cut up the meat and the fat into bite-sized pieces.  Don’t forget the fat.  It’s delicious.


Traditionally the meat and fat are marinated in mineral water (seltzer) add salt, pepper, coriander and chopped onion. It is important to turn the meat around every few hours to make sure it’s evenly marinated. Total marinating time varies but a minimum of 8 hours albeit 24 hours is better. The marinated meat is then strung on skewers (always six pieces) and maybe tomato and/or onion and the last piece usually a piece of lard.


Postal stamp of Tajikistan "Oriental bazaar" displaying an old man grilling shashliks on a mangal


A traditional grill called a mangal (mahn-gahl) is filled with burning coals which are .  Fry it over the hot coals, at first on the one side, then on another side to release the juice and a golden brown colour. For evenly frying the meat wave a hand fan from time to time to increase the heat. If the fat lard runs off and forms a flame, sprinkle coals with water mixed with white vinegar. Cook till it’s done.



Before serving, put the shashlik into a lagan (large plate). Garnish with white onion rings. The Shashlik is sometimes also served with vegetables that have been cooked in a similar fashion on separate skewers. Another tradition is to take the finished meat and remove each chunk from its skewer by holding it between pieces of bread. The bread and the meat are put into a large bowl or pot and then covered, shaken and allowed to rest for a few minutes so the flavours and juices from the meat penetrate the bread.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Uzbekistan, UMMC sign memorandum to implement Tebinbulak titanium-magnetite project

Uzbekistan and the Ural Mining and Metallurgy Company signed a memorandum on implementation of the project on developing titanium-magnetite ore Tebinbulak field in Karakalpakstan with the construction of a steelmaking plant for US$1.5 billion. The Tebinbulak field has an forecasted resource base of 3.5 bn t of ore similar to the deposits of Kachkanar in the Urals. The field is located near Nukus and was opened in 1937.
The document was signed at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Moscow on 3 April 2017 within the state visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Russia (4-5 April 2017).

The project on development of Tebinbulak field envisages the construction of a mining complex with a capacity of 14.7 million tonnes of ore a year with production of titanium and vanadium by 2021  Due to high investment expenses, the field has been slow to enter development. The field is being rehabilitated in order to create own resource base of Uzmetkombinat, which currently produces carbon steel flat and long products and also manufactures rolled copper and copper alloy products, as well as processing and recycling steel scrap. It is estimated that the field can provide long term raw materials for the future operation of the combine.

Source: https://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-38939.htm 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Update : Takhiatash Thermal Power Plant Upgrade


The Takhiatash thermal power plant is to be upgraded to meet rising electricity demand in the western part Uzbekistan. The project will involve building two combined-cycle gas turbine units with a capacity of 230-280 MW, decommissioning old and inefficient power generation units, improving energy efficiency, and increasing power supply to the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions.

UzbekEnergo announced in December 2016 that the consortium including the South Korean Hyundai Engineering and Hyundai Engineering and Construction won the tender for the modernisation of Takhiatash Thermal Power Plant (TPP).

The consortium who won the international competition for the project "Construction of two 230-280 MW combined cycle power plants (CCPP) at at Takhiatash TPP" proposed a price of 457 million dollars and a 2.5 year build time. There were a total of 10 bidders from China, South Korea and Turkey. Hyundai winning the tender against strong competition from Turkey (Calik) and several China EPCs.

The project will cost a total of $ 678.2 million funded by a $ 300 million Asian Development Bank loan, US $ 230.7 million from the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan and the rest from UzbekEnergo’s own funds.
The current capacity of Takhiatash GRES is 730 MW. The first unit was commissioned in 1956, the last (fifth) - in 1967. The power plant provides electricity to the north-west of Uzbekistan- the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Khorezm region.

The Takhiatash TPP is the main source of power supply in the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions. In 2012, power consumption in these regions was 2,293 mln. kilowatt-hours (kWh) with maximum load of 466 megawatts (MW). By 2020, the power consumption is expected to exceed 3,620 mln. kWh, with maximum load of 620 MW.

(ED: Note The term GRES (Russian: ГРЭС) refers to a condenser type electricity-only thermal power station introduced in the Soviet Union which still exist in Russia and other former Soviet republics. The Russian abbreviation ГРЭС stands for Государственная районная электростанция, or "state-owned district power plant" Over time the abbreviation has lost its literal meaning, and the term refers to a high-power (thousands of megawatt) thermal power station of condenser type. The term TEC or TETs (Russian: ТЭЦ, теплоэлектроцентраль) refers to combined heat and power plants).

Revisiting the Documentary film "the passion of Igor Savitsky".

Документальный фильм «Страсть Игоря Савицкого». Режиссер - Али Хамраев.

A documentary film "the passion of Igor Savitsky".Director - Ali Khamraev 1998, Ali Khamraev, Uzbekistan/Italy/France, 82 min. With Arielle Dombasle, Abdrashid Abdrakhmanov, Djavakhir Zakhirov

Igor Vitalievich Savitsky is a man of legend. As a young artist he left Moscow for the deserts of Central Asia. The film "The Passion of Igor Savitsky" was released on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great collector. Following the path of Igor Vitalievich, the film crew visited Moscow, Tashkent and Nukus, and to different regions of Karakalpakstan. Everywhere, local residents gladly shared their memories of this amazing man. They interviewed the son of the legendary artist Alexander Nikolaevich Volkov - Alexander Volkov, the President of the Pushkin Museum. А.С. A.S.. Pushkin - Irina Antonova, Savitsky successor - Marinika Babanazarova, Alvina Shpade - colleague and colleague of Igor Savitsky, the sculptor - Zholdasbek Kuttymuratov and many others share their memories and tell the story of the formation of Igor Savitsky as a collector and creator of a unique museum.. The film presents a list of artists works saved by Igor Vitalievich: Nikolai Karakhan, Mikhail Kurzin, Alexander Nikolaev (Usto Mumin), Tansykbaev Ural, Mazel Ruvim, Benkov Pavel, Ufimtsev Viktor, Borovaya Nadezhda and many others. Director Ali Khamraev  dedicated the film to Igor Savitsky  a collector of art and great supporter of preserving the culture of the peoples of Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan. His fascination with the search for ancient treasures and love of the avant-garde resulted in the creation of one of the most unique art museums in the world, well worth visiting for anyone who are visiting  Uzbekistan.  Nukus is only  a few hours drive north of Urgench for those who are visiting Khiva the museum can easily be visited in a day trip. If you have more time there are a number of excellent hotels in Nukus allowing you to experience more of the culture and sights of Karakalpakstan.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chorsu Bazar

Tashkent's Chorsu bazaar is probably Central Asia`s most famous market, topped by a giant turquoise dome, located between the modern and the old city next to the medieval Kulkedash madrassah and Tashkent’s principal Juma (Friday) mosque.

It is a wonderful place to discover local life, its amazing to stroll about the bazaars, either bargaining with the shopkeepers, or sitting on the thresholds and looking at the labours of the artisans, or watching the trade that is going on. 
Under the huge turquoise cupola you will see continuous stalls where stallholders sell everything from herbs and spices to fresh farm products. The atmosphere of the whole bazaar is covered by aromas and flavours herbs and spices which are arranged in brightly coloured mounds as are nuts, seeds and sweets, also stack of varieties of bread and other sweetmeats. Visitors will also be amazed by the abundance and variety of the fresh fruits and vegetables. 

During the summer season there are mountains of tasty watermelons and melons, scores of potatoes, onions, pumpkins, tomatoes, chilies, pomegranates, persimmons and many other vegetables and whatever fruits are in season.

Beside the bazar there is also a row of workshops under small domes. Inside, craftsmen make and sell their works: jewellery and gold embroidery; sanduk - dowry chests with metal decorations; beshik - painted cradles ; embroidered suzanes - thin tapestries and jiyak - lace for trimming the lower edges of women's wide trousers; chapan - men's and yashmak - women's quilted cloaks; kurpacha - colourful mattresses,  and pichok - knives in leather or brass sheaths; wicker baskets and trays and a variety of traditional musical instruments. There are also workshops of tinsmiths and blacksmiths, carpenters and wood-carvers.

There are stalls selling all kinds of clothing and shoes modern and traditional and row after row of stalls selling tyuboteyka, the traditional Uzbek men’s cap. You’ll also find many choykhana or ‘tea houses’ where you can stop to have a hot tea and shashlyk kebabs. You will find carpets from all over and a huge assortment of other items and you can't help remembering that you are in the very heart of the Silk Road.

Source: Various (Ed)
 


 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Melliferous flora of Karakalpakstan

Prunus persica
Melliferous flora are plants which produce substances that can be collected by bees and turned into honey. Many plants are melliferous, but only certain ones can be harvested by honey bees, because of their physiognomy (body size and shape, length of proboscis, etc.) In Karakalpakstan some 206 species of wild vascular plants, which belonged to 134 genera of 46 families have been identified as having commercial value for beekeeping. Among the melliferous plants identified some 196 species are also considered to have medicinal properties. Flowering of wild melliferous plants in Karakalpakstan starts from March some of the most common found are Populus nigraL., Roemeria refracta DC, Populus ariana Dode, Ferula foetida (Bunge) Regel, Ammodendron conollyi Bunge, Capparis herbacea Willd, Karelinia caspia (Pall.) Less, Halimodendron halodendron (Pall.) Voss, Fumaria vaillantii Loisel, Elaeagnus turcomanica N. Kozl, Elaeagnus oxycarpa Schlecht. Alhagi  pseudalhagi (Bieb.) Fisch, Glycyrrhiza glabra L, Medicago sativa L.and Althaea armeniaca. After June, the bees start to collect honey from cultivated mellliferous species, such aswith cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), clover (Trifolium arvense L.), apricot (A. vulgaris Lam.), jiyda (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.), and peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch].   
    

The bee has been intricately woven into many cultures. Honey and honey based-products have a long tradition as a food source in Central Asia, with the hive and the honey produced by bees having fascinated and nourished the populations for millennia. Once domesticated, honey bees were actively farmed for their honey and moved around the population, in time their pollination services became recognised and held in equal importance to their honey.

The breed of honey bee in Uzbekistan is Apis mellifera carpathica. One of the important biological features of carpathian bees is their peaceful behaviour. This bee is winter hardy, which allows them to successfully come back from a long dormant periods.

In Central Asia since ancient times honey has been considered as God's gift and used as a prophylactic food for treating many diseases. There are more than 150 traditional remedy's using honey, either in its pure form or mixed with various food ingredients (e.g., beet, pumpkin) which had strong medicinal and disease-preventive properties, especially those related to the respiratory system. Honey is known to be rich in both enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants, including glucose oxidase, catalase, ascorbic acids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoid derivatives, organic acids, maillard reaction products, amino acids, and proteins. Through the use of enzymes, bees are able to convert the complex sugar in nectar into more simple sugars. 

Honey from melliferous flora has good antibacterial and preserving properties (up to 3 months at room temperature) and has long been used for improving human nutrition and boosting immunity. It contains many biologically active substances, as it is collected from many different species of plants. A more saturated honey it has good healing properties and is an important component of many drugs, dietary products, or cosmetics. Pure honey is used to treat coughs and colds. Furthermore, honey is used to prepare an ointment with other plant materials, which can be applied on various wounds as it has good antiseptic properties and prevents the growth of germs and bacteria. In addition, a mixture of honey, butter, and milk was used in the traditional treatment of tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.

Photo: Karakalpakstan has very favourable conditions for beekeeping 
 
In Karakalpakstan the production of honey from cultivated species such as cotton is most promising as it occupies a majority of the planted area. Currently the honey obtained from cotton flowers (Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium herbaceum) constitutes more than 50% of the total regional output. Honey from cotton is creamy with light amber colour and has a mild, pleasant, flowery taste, without excessive acidity.
 
In Karakalpakstan and other parts of Uzbekistan there is an urgent need to preserve the melliferous flora that can sustain bee colonies via the continued conservation and preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity of flora. This will allow Karakalpakstan to improve and expand the industry and be able to continue to produce many tons of high-quality, environmentally friendly honey.

 


 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Best Bread in the World





Traditional Uzbek bread, called generically non or patyr, is baked in the form of circular flat loaves (lepyoshka in Russian) with a thin decorated depression at the center and a thicker rim all around. Nons are brought to the table with the decorated side up, then torn into irregular chunks which are stacked on the bread plate. Obi non is the staple bread of Uzbek cuisine. Obi nons are mentioned in one of the oldest written works, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Obi nons are baked in clay ovens called tandir. "One having eaten in the morning a slice of obi non with raisins, fried peas or Circassian walnut will not be thinking about food for a long time", a quote from Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

In different areas of Uzbekistan, obi non is baked in different ways. Every region has different varieties of non
  • In Samarkand, small thick obi nons, the shirma nons are the most popular.
  • Bukhara obi non sprinkled with sesame or nigella, making a delicate aroma.
  • Tashkent lochira, plate-formed obi non, baked from short pastry (milk, butter, and sugar). Jirish non is specially prepared bread from flour mixed with wheat.