Nauryz Celebrations Feature Delicious Meal Preparation

NUR-SULTAN – As Kazakhstan celebrated Nauryz on March 22, the celebration could not go without the traditional cooking of delicious food, an integral part of a centuries-old tradition to celebrate the holiday. 

Nauryz celebration is usually accompanied by a big table setting full of delicious national dishes. A screenshot from the UN video.

UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey marked the holiday by preparing a Kazakh national dessert, which she had a chance to learn during her stay in the country.

“This is a family holiday when your loved ones gather around the table with delicious dishes to celebrate the beginning of spring. Keeping in mind the importance of quarantine, we support the concept of a small scale family holiday,” said Michaela Friberg-Storey.

In a video published by the UN office in Kazakhstan, she cooks national sweets – jent and khvorost. 

Jent is prepared from talkan (ground roasted barley or wheat), melted butter and sugar that are mixed together to have a homogenous mass and then left at a cool temperature. Nuts, raisins or honey can also be added. 

Tary (fried millet) can also be used in cooking jent.

Khvorost is also among the most popular desserts at a table setting in Kazakh households. It is a crispy fried sweet treat made of dough and dusted with sugar.

Jent can be decorated in different ways, including with chocolate.

Both are usually served with tea.  

“Nauryz is mainly a holiday of friendship when we forgive each other and express hope for the better. Taking this opportunity, on this beautiful day I wish all Kazakhstanis everlasting happiness, prosperity and a bright future!” said Michaela Friberg-Storey.

The celebration of Nauryz is ever more important this year, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his greeting. 

“Last year, the Nauryz celebration coincided with the early days of an unprecedented and devastating global pandemic. This year, the Nauryz spirit is more vital than ever. As the world comes together to defeat COVID-19, Nauryz serves as an inspiration to recover and rebuild in a more just and durable way, in harmony with nature,” he said. 

In Ust-Kamenogorsk, a city in Kazakhstan’s East Kazakhstan Region, librarians and restaurateurs also joined the efforts to prepare a big table setting and invited foreign nationals to taste their national dishes. 

They cooked 10 types of baursaks, and ulpershek made from the heart of a horse and pre-cooked in flour for a whole month. The dish is not widely eaten in Kazakhstan, but in the past, it was usually given to a woman after she got married and left the father’s house. 

Young people from Kenya and Malaysia had a chance to taste the dish.

Mukhtar Taibazarov, a well-known restaurateur and founder of the House of Kazakh Cuisine in Ust-Kamenogorsk, said that the national cuisine should be revived.

“I am absolutely certain that we can create a new trend for Kazakh cuisine. We simply need to take what we know, the taste of our childhood, what we grow and produce, what our grandmothers and parents gave us and present it in a modern way with modern technology,” he explained n an interview with First Channel Eurasia. 

The video below was released by the UN Office in Kazakhstan.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter and Telegram!