Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
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High five!

How to eat five fingers and get a gastronomic pleasure?
The only answer is to taste bishbarmak!
Most cattlemen from the ancient times adored
that dish. It was bishbarmak that became
a kind of symbol of the Bashkir
national cuisine.
What does the name mean?
Despite the fact that the name bishbarmak is quite widespread and is repeatedly found in ethnographic sources of the 18–19 centuries, it was used in Bashkir everyday life not everywhere. This term was fixed after the publications
of Russian and foreign travelers who watched how cattle breeders
ate this dish with their hands, that is, with five fingers.
In Bashkir «bish barmak» means «five fingers».
«Bishbarmak, the best Bashkir food, consists of finely chopped pieces of horse, cow or sheep meat and salma (homemade noodles). Salma is made from a stiff dough of wheat, barley or spelt flour, which is divided into pieces the size of a copper coin of 5 kopecks and cooked in the same cauldron with meat».
Ivan Lepyokhin
Russian scientist and encyclopedist, traveller,
naturalist, lexicographer, academician of
the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1771)
The German researcher Johann Gottlieb Georgi,
who got acquainted with the life of the Bashkirs
in 1776, described the festive dish bishbarmak
as one which was eaten with «five fingers».
How to cook bishbarmak

Traditionally, bishbarmak was prepared from good fat meat – mutton
or horsemeat, always on the bone. The bouillon was cooked rich,
from different types of meat for a saturated taste: horsemeat
and lamb (mutton), horsemeat, lamb (mutton) and beef,
or horsemeat, lamb and goose meat.
Pieces of meat were lowered into a cauldron with cold water and
brought to a boil. After removing the foam and covering with
a lid the meat was cooking on low heat for 2–2,5 hours.
The bouillon was salted about half an hour
before the dish was cooked.
At the very end of cooking the fattest part (in Bashkir – tozlok)
was poured from the bouillon (in Bashkir – hurpa) into a separate
bowl in order to pour over the noodles (in Bashkir – salma) later.
The cooked meat was taken out and, after cooling a little, cut into small,
even pieces, which were laid out on a platter; the rib part of the lamb was
served with the bone. In addition to meat together with bishbarmak
pieces of sliced fresh or dry horse guts turned fat inside – eseck,
horse sausage – kazy (kazylyk), and also the fat
taken from the scruff of the horse –
yal (kazy yal) were served.
The Bashkirs of the southern parts of the republic, who had
fat-tailed sheep, used to eat as a dish or served with
meat cooked mutton fat-tail – osa mayi.
While the meat was cooked, the noodles were prepared. Stiff
egg dough (in water, bouillon or milk) was kneaded, it was
kept a little, covered with a towel, and then rolled out.
The dried dough was cut into squares or rhombs.
Noodles were cooked in a small amount of bouillon or water,
taken out, flavored with bouillon fat or butter, then combined
with sliced meat and kazy and generously
poured with fat – tozlok.
Bouillon in which dough was cooked was not usually served to guests.
With the development of gardening bishbarmak started to be served
with potato, decorated with onion rings, dill and parsley.
However, many Bashkir families still prefer to cook
bishbarmak traditionally, without
vegetables (except onions).
How to eat bishbarmak?
A certain etiquette of treating meat has developed.
The most delicious parts of meat were considered to be brisket meat (tush ite), fat lower ribs (kabyrga) and upper part of legs (yanbash). The bone marrow of tubular bones (yelek mayi) was highly valued. Meat on bone (bai hoyak) was treated to the most respected elderly men or guests. They cut a piece of meat with
a knife and had to treat the nearest neighbors. It was also very important to treat everyone a piece of liver and heart. A sheep head was given to the oldest and most respectable person.
There was a certain sequence observed when treating with
bishbarmak. First, meat on the bone in a wooden bowl (tabak)
was served, at that each of those present was assigned their own «share» — olosh; on the edge of the dishes salt was poured in several places so that those who wished could dip the meat in it. Then a deep bowl with cooked noodles, pieces of meat and horse sausage was brought. An important component of the meal was bouillon (hurpa)
with diluted korot (a dairy product, made of sour milk) which was
served in small bowls after the meat treat. It was added ground
black pepper and finely chopped onions or green onions.
Recipe (for 4 servings)

So, you will need:

  • meat (lamb (mutton) or goose) – 0,5 kg
  • potatoes – 200 g
  • onion – 2
  • flour – 2/3 cup
  • egg – 1
  • water – 1 tablespoon
  • butter – 2 tablespoons
  • broth – 350 g
  • salt

Cut the rib part of a fat mutton into pieces for 70 g or goose – half of it – cut into two parts, boil in a small amount of water, adding salt and spices. Roll out the stiff unleavened dough into a layer with
a thickness of 0,2 mm, dry it a little, cut strips up to
3 cm wide and make rhombs from them.
Boil rhombs in the bouillon and
toss them in a colander.
Recipes on the cards
The recipe of bishbarmak was printed on the cards
There are options for serving of the ready dish:
Option 1

Peel the cooked unpeeled potatoes and cut
them into 1,5 cm thick circles. When serving, put
the cooked noodles, potatoes, meat pieces, onions, cut into rings or finely chopped green onions in
a plate and pour in bouillon.

Option 2

Put cooked rhombs from the dough into a deep
dish, put meat cut into 1x1 cm pieces, add the
finely chopped onion, ground black pepper and
mix. Separately serve bouillon with the korot.

Serve in a serving plate bishbarmak, bouillon with spices, korot.

1. Lepyokhin I. I. Continuation of the daily notes of the journey of the academic and doctor of medicine Ivan Lepyokhin along the different provinces of the Russian state in 1770. St. Petersburg, 1802 (in Russian).
2. Nazarov P. C. To the ethnography of the Bashkirs // Ethnographic review. 1890. Volume 1–2 (in Russian).
3. Georgi I. G. Description of all peoples in the Russian state and their everyday rituals, habits, clothing, dwellings, religion and other memorable objects. Part two. About the peoples of the Tatar tribe and other still undecided origin of the Northern Siberian. Published in Saint Petersburg at the Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1799 (in Russian).
4. Sommier S. About the Bashkirs. Notes of the Ural society of amateurs of natural science. Volume 3. Issue 1. Yekaterinburg, 1891–1892 (in Russian).
5. Nadergulov U. F. Livestock breeding vocabulary of the Bashkirs. Ufa, 2000 (in Russian).
6. Migranova E. V. The Bashkirs. Traditional food system: Historical and ethnographic research. Ufa: Kitap, 2012 (reissue – Ufa: Kitap, 2016) (in Russian).
7. Arslanova I. A. Traditional and modern Bashkir cuisine. 4th, revised and expanded edition. Ufa: individual enterprise of Yu. I. Polyakovsky, 2010 (in Russian).

Urazbika Khadieva, Alifa Alchinova, Zakiya Kadaeva, Gulsasak Saipanova, Nafisa Kadaeva, residents of the village of Makan of the Khaybullinsky district.


1906, 1907, 1912, 1952 – expeditions of S. I. Rudenko.
1960 – expeditions of S. N. Shitova, R. G. Gadelgareeva, G. Ya. Yamansarina.


Migranova E. V. The Bashkirs. Traditional food system: Historical and ethnographic research. Ufa: Kitap, 2012 (reissue – Ufa: Kitap, 2016) (in Russian).

Author (compiler): R. F. Gazizov, 2019