Qurut cheese recipe by mountain nomads – Kyrgyzstan

HomeFoodQurut cheese recipe by mountain nomads – Kyrgyzstan
Updated May 6, 2017 / João Leitão / 4 Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 3 minutes
Qurut cheese recipe by mountain nomads - Kyrgyzstan

Qurut cheese recipe by mountain nomads – Kyrgyzstan

Qurut cheese in Kyrgyzstan

Central Asia is famous for its current nomad lifestyle.

Kyrgyzstan is usually associated with nomadic culture.

In fact, still today, nomadic life remains one of the standard ways of life in the Kyrgyz mountains, especially talking about the fantastic Fergana Range.

Meeting nomads around the world is always an excellent cultural experience as you interact with people having a completely different way of life.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

• nomad

a. A member of individuals or tribe who move from place to place to find pasture and food;
b. A person who continually moves from place to place; wanderer.

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

While driving in Kyrgyzstan, I had the chance of crossing this remote and beautiful part of the country, and encounter several nomad families.

Kyrgyzstan itself offers outstanding mountain landscapes, and the possibility of direct contact with such a unique way of life makes the whole trip rewarding.

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

By car, I crossed the Uzbek border near Osh, until the capital Bishkek – where I eventually sold it and flew back home.

Fergana Range belongs to the Tian Shan mountain range. The length of the whole range is 206 km / 128 mi.

The average height of these mountains is 3600 m / 11811 f above sea level and many families camp on these green valleys in the summer.

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

The non-asphalted roads of the Fergana Range gave me the opportunity of getting off the beaten path, and being able to see rural parts of the country very deeply.

Fortunately, I stayed with two different Kyrgyz nomad families in two separate places in the mountains.

On this page, I will only describe my stay with one of the families and leave the other one for another different article.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

I was generously hosted by a fabulous and friendly family. They explained me about their daily life, what they do, how they cook, each person’s individual task and where they live during the winter – as they do have to change place to their home in a nearby town.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

We communicated with each other in Russian – as my skills in this language are enough to maintain such type of conversation.

Where do they live

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

This Kyrgyz nomad family lives on the slope of a mountain, very close to a river from where they collect water.

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

The surrounding mountain views are outstanding.

How do they live

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Nomads in Central Asia live in a particular type of tent called yurt. The local name for this tent in the Kyrgyz language is boz üy.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Close up detail of the yurt tent.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Although very hard-working people, the family is extremely united and life seems to be taken smoothly.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

The family owns two yurt tents and all the necessary facilities to produce a wide variety of natural dairy products.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

This is how they have hot water to use for their tea. Green or black tea is always present on a Kyrgyz table.

What do they do

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Kyrgyzstan Mountains Fergana Range

Tasks are well distributed. One man goes with the cows up the mountain early in the morning along with sunrise. The summer mountain green valleys are the perfect place to herd cows, goats, and horses – to keep them well fed.

The whole process of producing and changing milk involves the entire family, and everyone has a particular task.

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

The family gets together to produce butter and dried salty cheese ball, and stock for winter.

Qurut Cheese by Kyrgyz Nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

During one of my Kyrgyz nomad encounter, I learned about their dairy product manufacturing, how they collect the milk, until the final stage of different dairy products such as butter, sour milk, cottage cheese, Qatiq yogurt, and the rather stinky dried salty yogurt balls.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Personally, I don’t like or consume dairy products that much, since they are usually filled up with chemicals, antibiotics, added sugar and artificial flavors. But the natural aroma and pureness of these dairy products from the mountains are a whole different product. They taste strong but healthy and 100% organic – nothing to do with the crappy stuff we buy at the supermarket.

Video of how to prepare butter and qurut cheese:

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Milk is taken from the containers and put into a gigantic metal bowl, ready to be boiled.

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

The milk is set to boil preventing bacteria and to prepare to be skimmed afterward.

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Everyone helps in this process, from oldest to youngest.

Lady preparing the Kyrgyz kurut cheese

Lady preparing the Kyrgyz kurut cheese

The more elderly lady rolls the tiny salty yogurt balls and puts them drying out in the sun.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

During the process, different products can be manufactured.

Qatiq, which is a type fermented solid milk drink – something close to yogurt – but usually a bit sourer.

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qatiq by nomads

To produce qatiq, the boiled milk is fermented for 6-10 hours in a warm place.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Delicious butter.

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Kyrgyz Qurut Cheese by nomads

Qurut is made from drained sour milk, or drained yogurt rolled into little balls.

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Nomads Central Asia

This is me among very friendly Kyrgyz people. What an experience it was!


If like this page, you may also find interesting:

« Meet Kurut, the Kyrgyz Snack Food »

by @TravelYourself.


Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco – North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.


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4 Comments. Leave new

I think its good what you are show your interesting travel about this beatiful country. country which kept thir traditions.

Reply

Fascinating. I also crossed the border from Andijan to Osh, but did not think of driving up to Bishkek. I took a flight, which in itself was quite an experience. An old russian AN 24 that was a flight like no other.

Reply

How was it? I get they feeling that they were somewhere between mozzarella and goat cheese.

Reply

haha! Thanks for the funny comment. Well… more like a kind of hard goat cheese I would say. Happy travels!

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