My Citizens, your well-travelled and all-knowing Leader – the magnificent and magical TFD! – is extremely fond of the exotic cuisine found in the Xinjiang autonomous region of northwestern China. Behold in the awe and wonder of TFD as he brings you ququre sorpa – Xinjiang tortellini in lamb broth!
Xinjiang cuisine (Chinese: 新疆菜; pinyin: Xīnjiāng Cài) reflects the cooking styles of many ethnic groups of the Xinjiang region, and refers particularly to Uyghur cuisine (Uyghur: ئۇيغۇر تائاملىرى, Уйғур Таамлири, ULY: Uyghur Taamliri; Chinese: 维吾尔菜; pinyin: Wéiwú’ěr Cài). Signature ingredients include roasted mutton, kebabs, roasted fish, and rice. Due to the Muslim population of the region, the food is predominantly halal.
The Uyghurs form a large part of the population of Xinjiang, their food therefore dominated the region.
Uyghur food is characterized by mutton, beef, camel (solely bactrian), chicken, goose, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, celery, various dairy foods, and fruits. A Uyghur-style breakfast is tea with home-baked bread, smetana, olives, honey, raisins, and almonds. Uyghurs like to treat guests with tea, naan, and fruit before the main dishes are ready. Most Uyghur foods are eaten with chopsticks, a custom that was adopted from Han Chinese culture in the 19th century.
Many Uyghur dishes are also found among other ethnic groups in Central Asia, and their food also shows Chinese influence. Spices used include cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Sultanas (raisins) and the fat of meat are also used for flavoring dishes.
The most commonly consumed meat among Uyghurs is lamb. Naturally the most common soup is lamb soup (also called “Sorpa” in Uyghur language). Ququre are Uyghur tortellini and in fact look identical to the Italian version, though the flavor profile is vastly different.
It is entirely possible that Marco Polo, who brought pasta to Italy from Xinjiang, may have also introduced the shape of ququre to Italy as well!
TFD’s version of this classic ancestor to tortellini is more complex than the original, both in spicing and presentation. That said, the flavors are all totally traditional and well worth your time and effort, Citizens! 😀
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- Soup Ingredients:
- 1 lb lamb on the bone, cut into pieces
- 8 cups bottled water
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 turnip, thickly sliced
- 1 carrot thickly sliced
- ½ medium tomato
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish
- Xinjiang Spice Mix:
- 30 g cumin
- 1 tbsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ tbsp ginger powder
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp chili powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- Crisp Garlic and Garlic Oil:
- 250 ml vegetable oil (1 cup)
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Ququre Dough and Filling:
- 3 cups all purpose Flour
- ¾ cup water
- 1 pound lamb, minced
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 small onion
- 1 Tbsp. water
- For the Xinjiang Spice Mix:
- Toast Szechuan peppercorns until fragrant, remove. Toast cumin until lightly browned, remove. Add all into spice grinder and process to achieve a spice powder. Store excess in a tightly-closed container.
- For the Crispy Garlic and Garlic Oil:
- For crisp garlic and garlic oil, heat oil in a wok over high heat until surface shimmers, add garlic and stir continuously until garlic is golden (1½-2 minutes). Transfer garlic to a bowl with a slotted spoon and cool oil separately.
- Stock Directions:
- Toss lamb and onion into a pot of water, add a pinch of salt, cover, and wait until the water boils at high heat.
- Once the water boils, lower the heat to medium or lower, remove the black foam from the boiled water right away using a spoon.
- Add turnip and carrot, boil at medium to low heat without covering for another 1 hour or till the lamb is cooked tender.
- For the dough:
- Mix the flour, oil, water and salt in the bowl of a bread machine for 4 -8 min. Set the dough aside to proof for 30 minutes before the next step.
- Mince lamb and onion together. Add Xinjiang spice mix to taste. Add water, mix.
- Roll out the dough flat, round and thin. Cut the dough into a 2 inch x 2 inch rectangle.
- Fill the rectangle shape of dough with the lamb mixture.
- Shape the ququre into the shape of tortellini. These ququres can be stored in the freezer, if you so prefer.
- Otherwise, put all the ready ququre into the hot soup, mix. Add the cut tomato from the soup ingredients and let boil softly for 5 minutes.
- Add chopped cilantro on top of the soup. Adjust the salt of the soup and add more Xinjiang spice mix to taste. Serve with crispy garlic and garlic oil on the side so people can add to taste to the soup.
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