A mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia, Tajikistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China.
The narrow Wakhan Corridor also separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. This country’s ancient roots are grounded in the Sogdiana and Bactria civilization.
The majority ethnic group are the Persian speaking Tajiks, who share their beautiful language, culture and history with Afghanistan and Iran.
Once part of the Samarid Empire, the country became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union during the 20th Century.
In 1990, the country was beset by a bloody civil war that claimed more than 50,000 lives. Today, the country’s people have forged ahead to rebuild their lives, but the economy remains a fragile one.
According to The Lonely Planet, the country offers breath-taking scenic views. The capital city of Dshambe is considered one the world’s most beautiful, along with the city of Penjikent, which was a prominent stop along the Silk Road.
Food in this country is closely linked to Russian, Iranian, Afghan and Uzbek traditions. Plov, a layered rice dish and green tea are the country’s national dish and drink. Dairy, yogurt, Kaymak, and kefir are enjoyed in cooking and as breakfast and snack food. Grapes, melons, pomegranates, apricots, plums, peaches, apples, pears, figs and persimmons can all be found in the open air bazaars.
Meals are almost always served with non (Tajik: нон), a flatbread found throughout Central Asia that is truly the center of every meal amongst Tajiks. If a Tajik has food but not non, he will say he is out of food. If non is dropped on the ground, people will put it up on a high ledge for beggars or birds. Legend holds that one is not supposed to put non upside down because this will bring bad luck. The same holds true if anything is put on top of the non, unless it is another piece of non.
You can watch a great video on Tajiks baking non here
This recipe is exceptionally authentic and supremely delicious – I hope you will give it a try, Citizens! 🙂 It comes from an article in the May/June 1995 “Eating Well” by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Dugid about their book “Flatbreads & Flavors: A Bakers Atlas” (William Morrow & Co., 1995).
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