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La vie en rose

Passport & Plate - Sumelek

Kyrgyzstan | Friday, 14 March 2014 | 5 photos

For about 3 servings:
700 grams of wheat
2.00 kg of flour
1 liter of vegetable oil
7-9 clean small stones/walnuts
a lot of drinking water, about 9 liters


How to prepare this recipe
This dish requires one week preparations before the actual cooking. At first, you have to wash wheat and put it in clean drinking water, keeping it there for 3 days. Water should be changed every day. On third day lay this wheat on a plywood and place it in dark and warm room. You have to sprinkle wheat for 3 days so that wheat will rise. Usually it is ready on third day, but it depends. You can see if it is ready by looking at it, the color of sprouts have to be light green and roots on the back side - white and thin. Pour water in any deep dish, place all ground wheat sprouts, wash them very well. You can see that water will become white. Then pour this white liquid through sieve and cheesecloth. Squeeze the sprouts to get the rest of liquid and wash it again two more times. These water should be kept for future.
Now pour all oil, first 6 liters of water in pot with thick bottom and add flour. Mix everything to remove all crumbs. Now put stones on the bottom of pot and place it on high heat. After boiling, stir it for about 15 min and then keep stirring every 10 min until all crumbles will disappear. In about 4-5 hours it will become more thick and grown. Now pour another 2 liters of water, mix and stir. In about 3-4 hours, pour the remaining 1 liter of white liquid. Boil it for longer time so that it will become thick and dark brown like chocolate. You can taste it, it must be sweet without adding sugar. If it is not sweet pour more water. After, reduce hear on very low, close lid, cover with towel, leave for 3-4 hours. After mix well and enjoy.


The story behind this recipe
Probably everyone attaches memories and feelings to certain places, things, music, clothes, food, movies etc. Sumelek always reminds me of my homeland and my roots.
Sumelek is traditional Kyrgyz dish, cooked on Nooruz holiday which is celebrated on March 21. It is hard to name this dish national since it is typical for all of the Central Asian countries. Sumelek is cooked for several hours and by experience old women, who sit next to the fire, dance and sing all night long. It is extremely hard to cook delicious Sumelek, usually it is cooked in a best way by grandmothers.
Being child, I used to take part on all national holidays with pleasure and joy. However when I grew up, I started to dislike our traditions, people and country in general. I did not accept my roots. The only thing I could think about was leaving the country.
I visited the US once in summer. I was so happy to leave my homeland and be far away. But as it turned out this trip gave me more than just wonderful trip. Once my friends and I met Kyrgyz students in New York city. They have invited us to their home. I saw a surprising picture in their apartment - Kyrgyz flags, photos of mountains and nature all over the walls. They prepared different meal, including sumelek. Last time I have tried this dessert was many years ago. While sitting with my compatriots in New York, many kilometer away from my country I have realized the meaning of homeland and understood that I love my country, its people and miss it a lot. Also I have realized that I've just wanted to meet new people, travel and change the scenery as it helps to obtain a new vision over old things and to feel richness of life.
The most important thing I have learned for myself is that every culture is unique in its own way. We should our respect traditions and at the same time be open for new experiences, traditions and knowledge.

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