How to cook Besh Barmak

How to cook Besh Barmak

K-3 volunteer, Tracy Riggan shares her recipe for Besh Barmak that she learned while serving in the village of Kyzyl-Kiya (Osh Region) from 1999 to 2001.



  • 2-3 pounds lamb roast
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot (or any vegetables you have around)
  • 1-gallon water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 2 onions, thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 sprig of dill, chopped
  • 1 sprig of parsley, chopped


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 lb flour
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • Dash of salt


To make the broth, heat a large pot filled with water and the meat on high heat. When it starts to boil, lower the heat.

Blanch the meat for about 30-60 minutes, then drain through a strainer. Rinse the meat well. Return to the pot and cover with fresh water and return to a boil.

Add 1 halved tomato, 1 halved onion, onion skin, and any other vegetables you have lying around that will make the broth tasty. (I added carrots and potatoes and the stems from the dill and parsley).

Skim off any of the foam, cover, and let simmer for about 1-2 hours.

While that is boiling, make the dough and let it rest. Sift the flour, mix the eggs and water together. Add a dash of salt and oil to the water and mix thoroughly with your hand. Add a bit of flour and mix. Then add the rest of the sifted flour and mix until incorporated. It will be sticky. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until soft and not sticky. Put under a bowl to keep air out and leave to rest.

Thinly slice 2 onions in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. As the broth boils, periodically skim the fat from the top of the broth and add over the onions.

When the meat is completely tender, turn off the heat and remove the meat from the pot. Let it cool. Then shred the lamb with two forks or cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Cut off any fat pieces and shred them finely and add to the sliced onions.

Separate the broth into 2 portions - Set enough broth aside for 3/4 cups of broth, and to this portion, add the bay leaves and season with salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then simmer until ready to serve. Serve this broth in individual bowls per person garnished with chopped dill and parsley.

To the other portion of broth, add enough water as necessary to boil the noodles. Add salt as necessary. Bring to a boil.

Portion the dough into a few sections and knead each a bit. Roll out each portion of dough into super-thin sheets. Cut into roughly 2”x3” strips- perfection not required.

Quickly drip the noodles one by one o to the noodle broth and boil for approximately 5 minutes or to your taste — drain and place on a large serving plate.

Return the meat and vegetables to the broth to reheat. And top the noodles with the lamb and vegetables. Garnish with dill and parsley if desired.

Serve immediately.

Leftovers? Fry them up in a bit of oil. Crispy noodles!

Video of how to make Besh Barmak

Need more information? Here is a video where Tracy demonstrates step by step exactly how to make Besh Barmak Chak to perfection!

Tracy Riggan

Tracy Riggan

During her two years of teaching middle and high school English at School#1 in Kyzyl-Kiya, Tracy worked to draw community attention to environmental issues. Following Peace Corps, Tracy remained in Kyzyl-Kiya, working for a foreign company making significant investments in the region, welcoming customers to the region with Kyrgyz hospitality, and helping ex-pat employees navigate the local culture. Tracy returned to the US in 1999 and now works in Business Development with IPC, a not for profit trade association for the electronics industry.

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