Beshbarmak: ever eaten horse meat?

Kazakh people are well-known for their hospitality. This is evidenced by the fact that they saved all the best for their guests and set a large and rich dastarkhan (table) as a sign of respect for the guest, regardless of age and other characteristics. In this post I would like to share a recipe of our national dish – beshbarmak. The name beshbarmak literally means ‘five’ (besh) ‘fingers’ (barmak)… because it is eaten with five fingers. Although traditionally it is considered to be eaten with five fingers, in some regions like Northern and Eastern Kazakhstan, the majority prefer to eat with spoons or forks.

You would be surprised, but Kazakhstani people love meat. Especially we love beef and horse meat. Most foreigners who visit our country are usually shocked when they hear that we consume horse meat. But please give it a try and you will also love horse meat. Okay, as you have understood from the above, this dish contains some meat. We use mutton, beef or horse meat to prepare beshbarmak. In Atyrau and Aktau regions of Kazakhstan, there is also a variety of beshbarmak with fish, the so-called “fishbarmak” (because they use fish instead of meat). You can obviously find lots of recipes of beshbarmak on the Internet, but this is a pretty standard recipe that is easy to make:

What you will need

1-2 kilograms of horse meat or beef


Kazy – horse meat sausage cooked in a special way

Kazy (horse meat sausage, cooked in a special way) – 1 piece
Onion – 1 piece
Potato – 5 pieces
Carrot – 2 pieces

For dough:

Flour – 3 glasses
Eggs – 2pieces
Meat broth – 0.5 glass

For sauce:

Fat removed from the broth
1 bunch of green onions, parsley and dill

How to make it

  1. Drop the prepared meat and kazy in a cauldron or a pot with cold water so that the meat is completely covered.
  2. Bring to the boil, gently remove the foam and simmer for about 2 hours.
  3. All the while, the fat should be removed from the broth.
  4. Half an hour before the end of boiling add salt, pepper, potatoes, carrots and onion.
  5. Once the meat is ready, cut it from the bones to thin, wide slices.
  6. Mix together flour, eggs and broth to make the dough, roll it 1 mm thick into a layer, cut into squares of 10 by 10 cm, and boil in the broth from the meat.
  7. In a separate pan put chopped onion rings, parsley and salt and pepper, cover with fat from the broth and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  8. Put the ready dough on a warmed dish, cover it with meat and pour sauce (made of onions and greens) on the top of this.
  9. Remnants of sorpa – broth – serve in individual bowls adding chopped greens and lemon.

So that’s it. In the end, you’ll have our national dish. Bon appétit!


Variant of serving beshbarmak with sorpa (broth)

P.S. Everyone who tries it cooked by our people say it’s delicious. So come visit Kazakhstan and definitely try this dish. It’s worth it!

  1. I’m from Jamaica and my best friend invited me to visit her in Almaty last summer. On the first night, her mom made besh and it was amazing! But I enjoy just eating kazy alone. Do you have any recipes for making baursak?

    • Very nice. Hope you enjoyed your visit to Kazakhstan. Sure, I have a recipe for making baursak. If you don’t mind, I’ll post it later so everyone can see and try it if interested 🙂

  2. In August this year my family and I through Couchsurfing hosted a Kazakh student named Elya who had come to Zimbabwe to research for her Masters Degree. We enjoyed lots of cultural exchange. What I loved the most was the pan cake she once made us. She included diced apples in her ingredients. I wonder what name she said it goes by but I surely won’t forget the taste anytime soon. Then there was the purple ‘tea’ brewed from stuff that looked like dried flower petals! I realised Kazakh food is colourful and very interesting.

    • Hi Richard! Glad to hear that. Pancakes are not our traditional food, but we love them very much. There are a lot varieties of pancake recipes. In general, pancakes are called “blin” in Russian and “kuimak” in Kazakh language. But I didn’t understand what sort of tea you tried. Anyway, it sounds good 🙂

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Cult Kazakhstan correspondent
Rustem - Astana

Born and raised in Kazakhstan, I always wanted to contribute to something big, something important. I'm happy to join Cult Team and introduce everyone my country. Since my childhood, I dreamt of becoming a polyglot. And for now, I speak Kazakh, Russian, ...

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Continent: Asia
Capital: Astana
Population: 15,340,000
Area: 2,717,300 km2
Currency: Tenge
Languages: Kazakh, Russian

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