15 May 2012

Recipe a Day: Laghman Sauce

This is a basic laghman sauce.  Serve it with these noodles.  This shows the basic technique for making this sauce.  You can use most any vegetables you like.  I'm still limited on my vegetables, so I used carrots, jusay (garlic chives), and green garlic because they're good in the spring here.  You can use daikons, napa cabbage hearts, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, green onions, and all sorts of other vegetables.  Use what you have, no matter the time of year.

There are spice mixes sold here for laghman which I generally avoid because they often have MSG and because they're not helpful anywhere else.  It tastes good to add some spices to this, although I really just like the flavor of all the vegetables.  Paprika, cumin, turmeric, and coriander taste good too, or any number of other spices.

Here's what I used this time:

2-4 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch of green garlic
3-4 smallish, fat carrots
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
One bunch of jusay, chopped
Salt to taste

To begin, prepare your vegetables.  Chop or slice as you prefer.  This is the green garlic.  I trimmed the end and took off the tops, and then cut them into one-inch pieces.
And I cut up the carrots the way I usually do here.  Slice lengthwise first.

Then cut again.

Heat your oil and add the onions and cook briefly.

Then add the green garlic.

And the carrots (or other harder vegetables like radishes)

And the garlic and stir fry.

You're just cooking the vegetables for a few minutes to soften them a bit.  Add your vegetables at different times depending on how hard they are or how much you want them cooked.  If I'm using peppers, I add them a little after the carrots.  Eggplant shouldn't go in right at the beginning if you're mixing it with carrots or radishes, but it's okay with peppers.

When they vegetables have softened a little, add the tomato paste (or you can add a couple of chopped tomatoes instead, which is better).

If you didn't use real tomatoes, add a little water.  I like to barely see it and I don't like it to cover the vegetables.  But some people like saucier sauce.  You choose.  Add the salt too.  If you used real tomatoes that are ripe and soft, you shouldn't need to add any water, but you can if you want to.

I added the jusay at this point because it doesn't need long to cook.  Stir and cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes till the vegetables (I tested the carrots) are just tender-crisp and delicious.

And serve.  You can add more water at this point too, if you like.  I always serve this with lazy.


  1. AnonymousMay 19, 2012

    Um. I love you.

    How did you learn to cook all these things?

  2. AnonymousMay 19, 2012

    Oh and I really, really miss my old Kyrgyz pots and pans. We didn't have much of a shipping allowance and had to leave all the good stuff behind.

  3. Most of the recipes are the result of asking questions when I eat something really good, searching Russian websites for cooking tips, and lots of experimentation.

    And I know exactly what you mean about the pots. I'd take back three different qazans if I could.