“Nauryz kozhe” - traditional dish of the Nauryz holiday
Generously served food is one of the main elements of celebrating Nauryz. It symbolizes prosperity and well-being. According to a common belief, the way you spend the holiday shows how you are going to spend the entire next year. That is why the dining tables are often filled with a variety of home-cooked traditional food. The main dish at the festive table is “Nauryz kozhe.” There are different variations of cooking the traditional meal, but it should always have seven ingredients, indicating seven vital forces. Water is added as a symbol of the human life. Meat symbolizes strength. The meal is usually cooked from dried horse meat prepared in advance in winter.
AINAGUL KALIYEVA, CHEF:
- Chefs in the north add horse meat, kazy-karta, zhal-zhaya. The elderly people say that they prefer adding horse meat because it is cold in the north and horse meat and horse fat makes them feel full and energetic.
Grains are the inherent ingredients of the “Nauryz kozhe”. Milk is also added. Grains denote happiness and milk symbolizes fortune. Dried salty cheese balls called ‘kurt’ are also essential in the “kozhe.” Salt symbolizes rich flavor and there is a Kazakh folk wisdom: “salt gives tastefulness to the food; wise words give brightness to the thought.”
AINAGUL KALIYEVA, CHEF:
- This “kozhe” is ready. Our grandparents told us that our ancestors used to drink one cup of “kozhe” early morning before going to fields and pastures and they remained full whole day. This wonderful meal is good for health.
It is considered that the components of “Nauryz kozhe” symbolize wisdom, health, abundance, the heaven’s protection. According to ancient beliefs, you need to eat this meal in seven houses and you should serve it to your guests as well. In the past women visited their neighbors with their own dishware to fill them with “kozhe” and pour it into their own pot. It symbolizes unity. According to the tradition, guests are always offered a full cup and they should empty it.
- - This meal gives us strength. Strength is very important. That is why I think that “Nauryz kozhe” is the best meal for one’s health.
- - Kozhe contains broth, kurt, meat and grains. All its ingredients are good for the health.
- - “Nauryz kozhe” is our national food that our ancestors had cooked for centuries.