Kyrgyzstan,  Round the world

Kilometer 17 034: the Kyrgyz way to cure hangover

Russia stretched its arms and lay comfortably on 12 time zones. When the time is right, the fireworks flash from the right to the left and one may chase the New Year by train and party on for 12 hours. Cool?

Wait – it gets better!

Even though Kyrgyzstan didn’t really elbow its way, you can celebrate the beginning of New Year much longer than in Russia! How? – you’ll certainly ask. But here I come with the answer!

We start the standard way, 31st December. Champagne with a plastic cork, Russian salad, fireworks. Repeat the scheme two weeks later, celebrating together with the big orthodox brother. Another New Year begins somewhere between January and February. Celebrating together with the Chinese minority, we send plenty of red lanterns to the sky. There’s barely a one-month break and again you need to fill your stomach until it bursts on the occasion of Now-ruz – the New Year according to the Islamic calendar.

When you keep partying for three months, you should have a decent and well-tested way of dealing with hang-over… Aspirin and coffee just won’t do.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present you with Ashlyanfu.


Stage one: Laghman aka pulled noodles.

You will need: half a kilo of wheat flour, one egg of a jolly chicken, a glass of warm salty water and a bowl of any oil, as long as it’s edible.

If you know how to make dumplings, you’re already a winner. If you don’t, no worries. Put on your apron, take off your rings, watches and bracelets and pour yourself a glass of wine. Let the noodle making begin!

– Put the flour into a big bowl, go and change so that the t-shirt that’s under your apron is the colour of flour, break the egg into the flour, add a third of the water and start kneading, while slowly adding more water. Knead until the dough gets onto and into your nose, gets smeared on your glasses and starts to attack your hair. Make a pretty ball, cover it with your bowl and let it rest. You rest as well.

– scrape the dough off your glasses and your wine glass, pour yourself some more wine and keep torturing the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. Again, let it rest under cover for a quarter.

– divide the dough into 5-6 parts and roll, while oiling each of them. As a result you should get several shiny, fatty rollers. Watch out for your glass, your hands are oily.

The fatty oily rolls.
The fatty oily rolls.

– now the fun really begins! The actions include pulling the dough in well oiled palms (fat prevents the dough from sticking and tearing. In theory, coz mine both stuck and tore.), binding it around your hands like an elastic band, smashing it against the table – anything goes, as long as you manage to convert the rollers into thin and pretty noodles. The longer and more even, the better.

These are neither long nor even, but that's coz I tried to help.
These are neither long nor even, but that’s coz I tried to help.

– If you’re tapping your forehead at this point, it’s probably a good moment to go shopping for a second bottle of wine and grandma’s egg noodles.

– cook in salty water according to the directions given on the package.

Stage two: starch

You could use: about 100g of corn flour or potato starch, half a litre of cold water, salt (optionally), empty ice cream container. If you don’t have a container, you need to start with eating up the ice cream.

– put your flour into water, stir thoroughly. You should get a white suspension, if you don’t, stop drinking wine for a while.

– pour everything into a pot and simmer until the suspension gets gooey and starts to bubble.

Bogey, gooey, bubbly.

– place the bogey in the ice cream container.

– cool it down and let it set, then slice or dice it.

Stage three: anti-hangover veggies

Your mise en place includes preparing: olive oil, vinegar (around 3 table spoons), ground chilly, salt, onion, tomato, capsicum, pickled capsicum, green beans and pickled green beans. This is the original version, but this stage gives us a bit of freedom, so once again: the above mentioned fresh vegetables and any pickled vegetables that you like and find.

– Mix your vinegar with water in proportion 50:50. Do not smell. Add a fine dash of chilly. Still, don’t smell.

– Wait until your nose stops hurting.

– Dice your veggies finely.


– Heat the oil up in a pot, fry the onion, then add the rest of the vegetables and braise them, adding a sip of water when needed.


– Heat the oil up in a pot, fry the onion, then add the rest of the vegetables and braise them, adding a sip of water when needed.

– Season with salt and the vinegar mix. Make sure there is some vinegar left, for tomorrow the dish won’t be sour enough.

That’s it! Put some noodles into your bowl, pour the veggies along with some soup, add a bit of starch, drizzle with spring onions. Now you may start getting yourself into a condition that will require a hangover cure on the following morning.


Top everything with one of Kyrgyz national drinks: bozo (slightly fermented millet drink) or kumys (fermented mare milk which smells like smoked cheese and tastes… nothing like smoked cheese). Never both – these substances don’t match.

Every Kyrgyz person will tell you that: to really appreciate the taste of Ashlyanfu, you need to get really hammered. One piece of advice: don’t leave the cooking process for the morning after…

Other Kyrgyz specialties: these are not cream nor coconut candy balls. This is dried acidic yoghurt/cheese. Taste ok, provided you didn't expect coconut candy balls.
Other Kyrgyz specialities: these are not cream nor coconut candy balls. This is dried acidic yoghurt/cheese. Tastes ok, provided you didn’t expect coconut candy balls.
The mantas - steamed dumplings with meat, potato or pumpkin filling.
The mantas – steamed dumplings with meat, potato or pumpkin filling.
Eating in process.
Eating in process.


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