Turkmen Dishes

Turkmen dishes are rich in meats, grains, and vegetables, characterized by hearty rice dishes, grilled specialties, and flavorful soups.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Basic Information

Turkmen Dishes: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Lamb and mutton, beef, rice, flour, beans, milk, yogurt

Common Cooking Methods

Boiling, baking, simmering, frying, grilling, fermenting, steaming, drying, smoking

Courses

Appetizer, main course, desserts

Meals

Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Key Taste

Savory, sour, sweet, salty

Eating Etiquette

Respect bread, eat with right hand, remove shoes at home entrances, accept generous food offerings hospitably, follow traditions like prayers, and honor elders.

Meal Presentation

Dishes are often presented on a floor tablecloth called sachak.

Culinary Festivals

Nowruz (Persian New Year), Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha.

Influence and Fusion

Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan
Origin and Region

Turkmen Dishes: Origin and Region

Cuisine

Turkmenistan

Culinary Region

Central Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide origin
Turkmenistan Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Popular Types of Turkmen Dishes

  • Breads and Doughs

    Turkmen breads and doughs are predominantly made from wheat flour and are high in gluten.

    They are ideal for vegan and vegetarian diets, with traditional cooking methods including baking in a tandoor oven.

    These breads have flat, round shapes with smoky aromas.

  • Cakes and Pastries

    Turkmen cakes and pastries range from savory to sweet taste.

    They primarily use wheat flour and are not gluten-free.

    They often contain meat, like lamb and mutton, or beef.

    Commonly baked or deep-fried, these dishes have a crispy texture and are rich in flavor, shaped in forms ranging from triangular to round.

  • Charcuterie and Cheese Boards

    Turkmen charcuterie and cheese boards are rich in meats and dairy, with a focus on savory, salty, and sweet tastes.

    These dishes are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians, some are gluten-free.

    Emphasizing traditional Turkmen culinary methods such as smoking, frying, and fermenting, they are popular as appetizers or part of larger meals.

  • Desserts

    Turkmen desserts are creamy, with a subtle sweetness and sourness; some are typically served chilled.

    These desserts predominantly use dairy, making them unsuitable for vegans.

    However, some of them are vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free.

  • Dry Noodle Dishes

    Turkmen dry noodle dishes are made with hand-rolled wheat noodles and meat, typically lamb or beef.

    The preparation is simple, boiling the noodles and serving them with cooked meat, with minimal use of spices and herbs.

    These dishes are hearty and fulfilling, characterized by chewy noodles and tender meat.

  • Fried Dishes

    Turkmen fried dishes are mainly wheat-based and not gluten-free.

    They feature a crispy texture from frying in oil and often include meat like lamb or beef, making them unsuitable for vegetarian or vegan diets.

    The flavors are predominantly savory with minimal use of spices and herbs.

  • Grilled and Barbecued Dishes

    In Turkmen cuisine, grilled and barbecued dishes focus on meat, particularly lamb.

    They are marinated with spices, then slowly grilled for a smoky flavor and tender texture.

    The emphasis is on rich flavors and traditional cooking methods.

  • Noodle Soups

    Turkmen noodle soups feature wheat-based noodles, often hand-pulled or rolled.

    They usually contain meat like lamb and mutton, or beef.

    The broths are rich, with added spices, herbs, and vegetables such as carrots and onions.

  • Porridge

    Turkmen porridge is traditionally made from grains like sorghum, and wheat.

    These grains give the porridge a hearty texture and robust flavor.

    The cooking methods vary, with some porridges boiled to a soft consistency, while others are thicker.

  • Rice Dishes

    Turkmen rice dishes, primarily pilaf, typically use long-grain rice and include meats like lamb, beef, or chicken.

    They are gluten-free, often cooked by simmering or steaming, and are flavored with regional spices and herbs.

  • Snacks

    Snacks in Turkmen cuisine range from sweet to savory, with varied textures from crispy to soft.

    Common preparation methods include baking, slow cooking, and frying.

    Shapes are diverse, including triangular and round, with dairy frequently used.

    Most of them are suitable for vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

Ingredients and Preparation

Turkmen Dishes: Signature Culinary Delights

  • Most Popular Dishes

    Turkmen cuisine, with its rich and diverse flavors, is a true reflection of the country’s culinary heritage.

    These dishes are staples in Turkmen households for their unique taste and preparation methods.

  • National Dish

    Ichlekli, also known as Içlekli or Ishlekli, is recognized as the national dish of Turkmenistan.

    Traditionally, Ichlekli was baked by being buried in hot sand and embers, a technique that reflected the nomadic lifestyle of the Turkmen people.

  • Traditional Dishes

    Turkmen cuisine features hearty and savory flavors, focusing on meat (mainly lamb and beef) and wheat-based ingredients.

    The dishes often use moderate spices to enhance natural flavors and include various forms of wheat like bread, dumplings, and noodles.

    Traditional cooking methods such as boiling, baking, and frying.

  • Street Food Dishes

    Turkmen street food is characterized by its rich and hearty flavors.

    They predominantly feature lamb and other meats prepared using traditional methods like tandoor cooking.

    This imparts a unique smokiness and tenderness. Breads and pastries, often tandoor-baked, are also central to these dishes.

    Breads and pastries, often tandoor-baked, are also central to these dishes.

  • Exotic Dishes

    This concept in Turkmen cuisine involves using unique ingredients, cooking methods, and flavor combinations uncommon in other cuisines, offering a distinctive experience for those new to Turkmen food.

  • Fusion Dishes

    Turkmen fusion cuisine is a direct reflection of its diverse cultural influences, primarily drawing from Iran, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

Turkmen dishes are culinary creations made by the locals of Turkmenistan. Often, the dishes are associated with the semi-nomadic way of life of the population.

Turkmen Cuisine Traditional

In Turkmenistan, meat is a common part of a meal, with protein options typically including mutton and lamb, but are not limited to these. Camel, chicken, and gazelle also frequently grace the dining table.

Beef is less common, and horse meat is barely consumed in Turkmenistan since the animal has a great cultural connection with locals.

Ideally, these meat choices are boiled, grilled, or incorporated into stews. When served, many Turkmen specialties are compatible with various bread types, especially nan.

Apart from meat-based specialties, Turkmen locals also have steamed dumplings in the form of manti, usually available at marketplaces (bazaars) and restaurants.

Furthermore, Turkmenistan dishes involve few spices, with salt and black pepper being common picks. Additionally, cottonseed oil is heavily used in many dishes.

Interestingly, Ichlekli is widely considered the national dish of Turkmenistan by locals.

To fully comprehend Turkmen dishes, I’ll uncover the factors that affect Turkmen’s culinary options. Then, let’s get to know some of the cooking equipment used by the locals.

Additionally, it’s important to discover the customs and culture when dining in Turkmenistan and some short questions with their answers relating to the country’s dishes.

Are you ready to get to know more about Turkmen dishes? Interact with the images of the dish to know more information about it, or use the filter to get ideas that satisfy your curiosity.

34 Most Popular Turkmen Dishes with Filters

#1 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Pilaf

Pilaf
  • Fusion
  • National
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Pilaf is a rice dish (or wheat) popular in many countries around the world, combining grains with various broths, spices, meat, and vegetables.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Rice

Cooking Method: Stir-frying, steaming, or boiling

Course: Main course

Mealtime: Lunch, dinner

#2 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Beshbarmak

Beshbarmak
  • National
  • Traditional

Beshbarmak is a Central Asian dish consisting of boiled and chopped meat and onions on a bed of egg noodles.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Flour, lamb or horse meat, and chyk (onions cooked in meat broth)

Cooking Method: Boiling

Course: Main Course

Mealtime: Dinner

#3 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Laghman

Laghman
  • Traditional

Laghman features pulled noodles served in a flavorful broth with vegetables and meat.

Country’s Region: Northwest China

Main Ingredients:

Noodles, beef or lamb

Cooking Method: Boiling

Course: Main course

Mealtime: Lunch, dinner

#4 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Samsa

Samsa
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Samsa is a baked savory pastry with different fillings that is a favorite street food in Central Asia.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

All-purpose flour, mince meat (commonly lamb)

Cooking Method: Baking

Course: Appetizer

Mealtime: Anytime

#5 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Chorba

Chorba
  • Fusion
  • Traditional

Chorba is an extensive collection of rich soups or stews in many Asian, African, and European countries.

Country’s Region: Unspecified

Main Ingredients:

Water or broth, meat, legumes, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Cooking Method: Stewing or simmering

Course: Main Course, Soup, Appetizer

Mealtime: Lunch, Dinner

#6 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Kuurdak

Kuurdak
  • Traditional

Kuurdak is a Central Asian and Mongolian meat dish.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Meat (lamb or beef), onions, potatoes (optional), vegetable oil or animal fat

Cooking Method: Stewing

Course: Main Course, Appetizer

Mealtime: Lunch, Dinner

#7 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Tandyr Nan

Tandyr Nan
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Tandyr nan is a Central Asian bread often patterned with a chekich stamp.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Wheat flour, water, salt, yeast

Cooking Method: Baking

Course: Side dish

Mealtime: Anytime

#8 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Shelpek

Shelpek
  • Traditional

Shelpek is a Central Asian flatbread that is especially important for Muslim communities.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

All-purpose flour, milk, butter

Cooking Method: Pan-frying

Course: Dessert

Mealtime: Anytime

#9 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Boortsog

Boortsog
  • Street Food
  • Traditional

Boortsog is a traditional fried dough dessert from Mongolia and Central Asia, often likened to doughnuts.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Flour, yeast, milk, butter, salted water, and sugar

Cooking Method: Deep-frying

Course: Dessert

Mealtime: Anytime

#10 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Yarma

Yarma
  • Traditional

Smooth and creamy yarma for a simple meal.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Cracked wheat, mutton, lamb fat or vegetable oil, and onions

Cooking Method: Simmering

Course: Main Course

Mealtime: Lunch, Dinner

#11 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Naryn

Naryn
  • Exotic
  • Traditional

Naryn is an intriguing mix of noodles and meat, all served in a hearty bowl in Central Asia.

Country’s Region: Nationwide

Main Ingredients:

Meat (lamb or horse), noodles

Cooking Method: Boiling or steaming

Course: Main course

Mealtime: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

#12 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Qazı

Qazı
  • Traditional

Qazı is a dish that is like a sausage with horse meat as the filling encased by an intestine.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Horse meat

Cooking Method: Smoking, drying, boiling

Course: Appetizer

Mealtime: Anytime

#13 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Chekdirme

Chekdirme
  • Traditional

Chekdirme is a stew combination of Turkmenistan that traditionally uses rice, meat, and tomato broth.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Rice, meat (usually mutton or lamb), tomato paste or tomato

Cooking Method: Pan-frying and boiling

Course: Main course

Mealtime: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

#14 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Kaymak

Kaymak
  • Traditional

Kaymak is a Turkish-style clotted cream with a rich, slightly tangy taste and creamy texture.

Country’s Region: Unspecified

Main Ingredients:

Milk (from water buffalo, cows, sheep, or goats)

Cooking Method: Boiling and simmering

Course: Dessert

Mealtime: Breakfast (Traditional)

#15 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Nauryz Kozhe

Nauryz Kozhe
  • Traditional

Nauryz kozhe is a Kazakh and Kyrgyz festive soup (or drink), blending milk, horse meat, grains, and kashk.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Meat (often horse), milk, kashk (a dairy product), salt, grain (typically barley or rice)

Cooking Method: Boiling

Course: Main Course

Mealtime: Anytime

#16 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Samanu

Samanu
  • Traditional

Samanu is a sweet paste from germinated wheat and wheat flour, traditionally prepared for Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

Country’s Region: Nationwide Origin

Main Ingredients:

Germinated wheat (wheat sprouts)

Cooking Method: Slow cooking

Course: Dessert

Mealtime: Anytime

#17 in Turkmenistan Flag of Turkmenistan

Dumpling Soup

Dumpling Soup