What Is Kesme?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn
Woman baking cookies
Woman baking cookies

Kesme is a type of noodle soup common to the nation of Kyrgyzstan, and is also well known in other nearby countries; this soup is made from noodles that are cut from a simple dough. The word kesme comes from the Kyrgyz verb “to cut,” referencing the cutting of the noodles that go into the soup. A variety of local ingredients give this dish authentic flavors.

The simple dough that is used for the dish includes only a few ingredients, flour and egg, with a bit of salt, and blended in water. The resulting dough is rolled and cut into thin strips. In other presentations, it may instead be cut into small squares. Also, some cooks use prepared phyllo dough for these kinds of soups, although the more traditionally authentic versions use simple homemade noodles.

When cooks make the noodles for kesme onsite, these thin strings of noodle may be used immediately or stored for future use. The dough should be allowed to dry somewhat before cutting, in order to make the cutting easier. Additional flour can help to deal with the dough if it is sticky.

One of the more common forms of this dish includes lamb. Cooks may simmer the meat and even the bones and fat of the lamb to form the base for this menu item. Mutton, or mature sheep, may also be used. Some cooks might use beef as an alternative.

In addition to meat, various other items are added to the soup to give it flavor and texture. Tomato paste is not uncommon for addition to the base of the soup. The flavorful bulb of the garlic plant is also commonly used. Other vegetables like onions and potatoes may also go into this kind of soup. Olive oil, which may help to blend the spices or other elements, or might act as a marinade for the meat before it goes into the soup.

All over the world, cooks trade recipes for this type of regional soup. Manufacturers also make certain kinds of soup that may be labeled kesme. One form of this dish is not entirely like another, and the trading of recipes helps to reveal the full range of options that are commonly utilized for this dish.

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