If you’ve seen any of our previous articles, you probably know we’re big fans of Uzbek food and all other Central Asian cuisines and in this post, we’ll share one delicious Uzbek dish that’s very popular across Central Asia and in other former Soviet countries. Dimlama, also known as dumlama, basma, or damlyama is a hearty, delicious stew that anyone can make at home in less than 2 hours and this dimlama recipe will show you how.
But first things first…
What is Dimlama?
Dimlama is a Turkic stew that consists of a combination of potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, peppers, cumin, cabbage, and lamb, veal, or beef. You can, of course, make a vegetarian version of it without using any meat, but the taste just isn’t the same. Dimlama is a traditional Uzbek dish that’s especially popular during the annual harvest time (spring and summer) when you can find an abundance of vegetables in Uzbekistan and most other countries in the region.
All ingredients are cut into large pieces and placed in layers in a way that they can cook in their own juices. The dimlama recipe takes around 1.5-2 hours to prepare and the final result is a hearty stew served on a large plate and eaten with a spoon.
In all languages that belong to the Turkic language group, the word dimdama (or its variations dimlama, dymadama, demdeme, etc.) translate to the verb boil. This is an exact description of this stew. The dish first appears in Central Asia at the territory of today’s Uzbekistan in the Middle Ages. As you may or may not know, all Central Asian cuisines heavily rely on underground vegetables (because not a lot of vegetables can grow above ground in the Central Asian steppes) which traditionally don’t grow in this region throughout the year.
However, during harvest, there’s an abundance of vegetables and throughout history, people have come up with ways of using this abundance in vegetables in preparing a lot of hearty, delicious stews. Dimlama is one of them.
Today, the dimlama recipe is popular across Central Asia and in some former Soviet Republics too. You can find it in different countries under different names, such as dumlama and basma. However, the name isn’t the main difference between dimlama and basma (the two most popular varieties. Basma refers to a version of this stew in which all ingredients are placed in a cold kazan and are afterward steamed. Dimlama, on the other hand, refers to a stew in which the meat and the onions are fried before steaming.
The most important thing when preparing a dimlama is the layering. Dimlama is a one-pot dish (prepared in utensils with thick walls like a kazan, deep pan with a lid, or Soviet multicooker known as multivarka) but there’s a special technique in preparing it. The first layer should consist of fried onions and meat (before you start boiling), and all other vegetables should be layered atop the lamb/beef/veal without stirring the pot. The final layer should consist of cabbage as this makes the flavor more savory. From here on, it’s simple; after you arrange the layers, just let the stew boil for 1.5-2 hours. You don’t have to stir throughout the process.
The recipe is versatile and you can always replace some vegetables with others, add more vegetables in the meat, or even make a vegetarian version of dimlama without any meat. But whatever you add, this stew is so savory that even if you don’t like some of the vegetables, you’ll eat everything because all ingredients will be soaked in a delicious, mouth-watering juice.
Traditionally, dimlama is served in a large bowl with a big spoon and eaten with different kinds of bread (tandy Nan, lepyoshka, or patyr Nan). However, if you don’t have any traditional Uzbek bread prepared, you can eat it with any kind of bread. Since I’m not from Uzbekistan, I love combining dimlama with Laghman noodles. I know this may raise some eyebrows in Uzbekistan, but I find it really tasty! As for the garnishing, you can use parsley, dill, or fresh cilantro.
- 1 Kg Chopped Lamb/Beef/Veal
- 3 Large Onions (Chopped)
- 5 Large Potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 5 Peeled Tomatoes
- 3 Bell Peppers
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Turnip (or Eggplant)
- 1 Beet
- 1 Small Cabbage
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 1-1.5 Tablespoons Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Chopped Parsley
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Cilantro
- 1 Teaspoon Corriander
1. Heat up your pan (medium heat) and add some oil/butter.
2. Add one-third of the onions in the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Place one-half of the meat over the fried onions.
4. Add another third of the onions on top of the meat and add some salt and black pepper.
5. Add the carrots followed by tomato pieces on top.
6. Place turnip pieces as the next layer and add some more salt, pepper, and cumin seeds.
7. Add bell peppers and sliced beet as the next layer to change the color of the stew.
8. Take the remaining pieces of meat and onions and form the next layer.
9. Add a layer of potatoes, and garlic cloves.
10. Place a layer of cabbage on top of the mix (this is the last layer).
11. Add some more salt, cumin seeds, black pepper, and coriander and cover the stew with a lid.
12. Keep checking the stew every 15-20 minutes. If there’s no boiling sound, keep adding some more water.
13. 10-15 Minutes before the 2-hour mark, add the bay leaves.
13. After roughly 2 hours of cooking, the stew should be ready. Sprinkle some parsley and fresh cilantro for garnish and enjoy your meal!
Serving Size:200 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 914mgCarbohydrates: 14gNet Carbohydrates: 14gFiber: 4gSugar: 6.5gProtein: 2.85g
A Few Things You Might Need For This Recipe
Are you a fan of Uzbek cuisine? Did you like our dimlama recipe? Would you try to make it at home? If you did and found this recipe helpful (or not), don’t forget to leave us a rating.
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