03 March 2007


Sumalak seems to be the one traditional food for Nooruz in Kyrgyzstan specifically and more generally in Central Asia. But I've never been able to figure out how to make it. No one I asked in Kyrgyzstan really knew how to make it. I've found a recipe in Uzbek, but I don't read Uzbek well enough to use this recipe. Maybe I'll get someone to translate it. I found a recipe in English, but it's a little hard to follow since I've never actually seen sumalak prepared, much less eaten the finished product so I know what it's supposed to look like. This recipe in English seems to be the best choice. I'm going to have to start pestering the few Central Asians in town. I do plan to try this soon since it takes more than a week to prepare sumalak and it's less than three weeks till Navruz and I want to come up with a reasonable recipe by the 14th.

I did find a story about sumalak at orexca.com:

A long time ago there was a woman who had two sons. There names were Hasan and Husan. Because she was a widow, and very poor, they had very little to eat, and her sons always cried from hunger. One day their mother became very weary of their crying, and sorrowful that she had nothing to give them to eat.

That evening, after they had gone to bed, she asked her neighbor for some wheat, then she took a pot from the cuphoard in which she placed 7 stones, poured water over the stones and stirred in the flour. Her sons heard the sounds, and thought their mother was cooking something delicious to eat. Reassured that they would soon have a good meal, they became quiet, closed their eyes and fell asleep. A little later their mother also slept. When she woke up in the early hours of the morning, she saw 30 angels standing around the pot. She rubbed her eyes, and when she opened them again, she saw them licking their fingers.

In her delight, she woke up her sons. In their excitement they ran to the pot and found it filled with a most succulent porridge. From that time forth the boys were never hungry. The name of the meal was called Sumalak which, the Uzbek people say, means 30 angels.


  1. Hi-- this is probably the same or similar to the Persian samanu pudding for Noruz. Recipe here:


    The Kurds in Turkey also make it.


    PS I somehow came across your blog a few days ago, and have really been enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks Andrea. I had forgotten that this was one of the s's- I was just thinking of sprouts and not the pudding too. I should have read my old posts more carefully. :)