Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
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Kystybyi is an old traditional Bashkir dish made of dough with filling. It is a fried unleavened flatbread stuffed most often with mashed potatoes or millet porridge.
Where did the word «kystybyi» come from?
In Bashkir and Tatar languages this dish is called «kystybyi», in Udmurt language – «kystybei», in Chuvash language – «kyoskelai». The word «kystybyi» comes from the Turkic verb «kystyryrga», which means «to pinch», «to shove», «to insert». The filling seems to be pinched between the two halves of the dough, while the flatbreads remain open. Hence the figurative meaning of the word «kystybyi» arose. This is the name of a person, who sticks his nose in other people's affairs: «Do not interfere, you will be like a kystybyi»; «Do not be like a kystybyi».
The researcher of the Bashkir, Tatar and Chuvash languages Rifkat Gazizyanovich Ahmet'yanov cited the dialect form «kystybyi», reconstructing the protoform from the root kys- and the suffix -byi/-by.
The world's largest kystybyi with a diameter of 2 m 10 cm was cooked in 2011 in Bashkortostan and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

To cook a kystybyi of this size a special stove, a two-meter rolling pin and... 50 kg of coal were needed!

When did the first unleavened dough appear?

It is believed that people began to use grain for food about 10 thousand years ago BC. It is clear that they did not immediately begin to harvest grain and bake delicious bread. In the beginning people ate raw grains, then they began to fry them on a fire, afterwards they began to grind them into powder and mix with water, thereby obtaining a primitive dough. The first baking was done on hot stone slabs. This is how the first unleavened dough appeared. After going through a long historical process a person was able to develop many dishes, recipes and culinary wisdom, but dough products have forever won universal love and popularity.
Bashkir cuisine is considered hearty and delicious, simple and refined. Many people are surprised by its variety and rare combination of products. Bashkir national cuisine, like the cuisines of other peoples, has its own roots going back to the very depths of centuries. It is inextricably linked with the common cultural and everyday traditions of the Bashkir people, with their history, lifestyle and housekeeping.
The semi-nomadic lifestyle contributed to the formation of an original culture, traditions and cuisine of Bashkirs. Wintering in villages and living in a jailau (summer camps of semi-nomadic pastoralists) brought variety to the diet and cooking possibilities. Food made from unleavened dough was often present on the tables of Bashkirs. It was nutritious, and the cooking process did not require much time and expense. For this reason kystybyi still remains a cult dish, whether it's a family dinner or a celebration.
Initially kystybyi was cooked only with a filling of millet porridge. And only at the end of the XIX – beginning of the XX century, when potatoes were already a common product in Russia, it began to be cooked also from mashed potatoes, historians believe.

How to cook kystybyi?
Necessary ingredients for the dough
(for 16 servings):

• warm water or milk – 250 ml
• eggs – 1 piece
• butter – 70 g
• granulated sugar – 1 teaspoon
• salt – 1⁄2 teaspoon
• baking soda – 1⁄3 teaspoon
• flour – 400 g
• butter (for greasing flatbreads) – 150 g
Making the dough
Mix warm (this is important!) milk or water, granulated sugar, salt, egg and melted butter in a deep bowl.

Sift the flour in a separate bowl, then gradually add it to the egg-milk mixture and knead the dough until it stops sticking to the hands.

The dough is made.

Cover it with a towel and let rest for 20–30 minutes. After that it will be easy to work with it – the «rested» dough is obedient, is rolled out well.

Spread the dough on a lightly floured table, roll it up in the form of thick sausage and cut into 16 pieces.

Roll out each piece with a rolling pin into a thin flatbread.
Fry the flatbreads on both sides until golden brown in a hot dry frying pan, without oil.

Ready-made flatbreads are immediately folded in half as the cooled ones will break.

Then put the pre-prepared filling on the half of each hot flatbread in an even layer, fold the flatbread in half, covering with the second half.

Grease with melted butter on both sides.

The dish is done
Kystybyi is served on the table both hot and cold.

Enjoy your meal!
The most common filling is mashed potatoes:
• Boil the potatoes in salted water until ready.
• Cut onions into small cubes and saute them in melted butter until soft. Saute over low heat so that the onion is not overcooked, but is soft and slightly golden in color.
• Drain the water from the boiled potatoes, add the sauteed onion with butter, hot milk, salt and ground black pepper to taste, knead it all in mashed potatoes.
• At the end break one raw egg into hot mashed potatoes and immediately knead it again. A raw egg will give mashed potatoes a beautiful yellowish color and fluffiness.
• You can add dill, parsley, lettuce to mashed potatoes.

Filling of rice or millet porridge:

• cereal – 200 g
• water – 500 ml
• milk – 500 ml
• salt – 1 teaspoon
• granulated sugar – 1 1⁄2 teaspoon
• butter – 100 g

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the cereal, put it over high heat, let it boil. When the cereal absorbs all the water, reduce the heat to a minimum, pour in hot milk, mix, add salt and

sugar to taste.

Cook the porridge over low heat for 25–30 minutes. Add butter 5 minutes before porridge is done. As soon as the porridge is cooked turn off the fire, close the lid tightly and leave to rest for another 20 minutes.

Filling of rice with raisins

Take the seedless raisins. Sort it out, rinse it several times with hot boiled water. Cook rice porridge on water, then add some milk. Add the raisins, butter and mix everything well.

Filling of carrot with raisins

Peeled carrots are passed through a grater. Add milk, butter, salt to taste and cook until ready. Add the pre-prepared raisins 5 minutes before filling is done and mix well.

Filling of pumpkin

Cook peeled and cut into small pieces pumpkin in milk or water. Add salt and sugar to taste. You can add millet or rice cereal.

Filling of red or white cottage cheese

Add sugar and sour cream to the cottage cheese to taste and mix well. The mass must be thick, otherwise it will leak out.

Filling of hemp flour

Pound the dried hemp grains and sift through a sieve. To the sifted hemp flour add mashed potatoes (at the rate of 1 part of mashed potatoes to 2 parts of hemp flour), cream, butter and mix everything until a viscous mass is obtained. Put this mass in an even layer on half of the flatbread and cover it with the other half. Grease the kystybyi with butter, put it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. It is served hot.

Filling of poppy

The poppy is sifted and soaked in hot water. Throw the swollen poppy on a sieve and, after letting the water drain, crush it in a mortar. Then add a little sour cream and granulated sugar. The obtained mass is spread in folded in half flatbread and greased with butter.

Cooking kystybyi

Members of the club of women elders «Auliya» from the village of Umetbayevo of the Baimaksky district
share the secrets of cooking kystybyi
By the way...

There is such a definition – if people have their own national cuisine, then it is the nation, if not – it is just a part of some nation. Bashkir cuisine is not only original and rich, but also very useful from the point of view of modern nutrition science. The people carefully keep the secrets of national dishes, passing them from generation to generation.

Guzeliya Valerikovna Gainetdinova
(Kiginsky district of the Republic
of Bashkortostan):

– In our district kystybyi is cooked using kefir. In this way it gets a slight sourness, which harmonizes well with sweet potatoes in the filling. Properly selected spices also play an important role.
By the way, you can experiment with the filling, add your favorite vegetables, mushrooms and even meat along with potatoes.
But today I made kystybyi with millet porridge, as my family loves. To do this take 1 cup of kefir, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking soda and flour. Mix all this well, knead until the dough stops sticking to hands.
Then roll out the dough into thin flatbreads, bake in a hot dry frying pan on both sides until golden brown.
Put the filling on the half of each flatbread in an even layer, fold the flatbread in half, covering the filling with the second half.
The flatbreads are greased with melted butter and served hot to the table.

Enjoy your meal!

Aigul Raisovna Yenikeyeva (city of Davlekanovo of the Republic of Bashkortostan:
– Eggs should not be added to the dough for kystybyi as this makes the dough stiff. Take flour, 1 cup of kefir, salt to taste, baking soda and knead the dough. Then bake the flatbreads in a hot frying pan, without oil. Put pre-prepared filling on the finished flatbreads and grease them with butter on both sides. This time I used mashed potatoes for the filling.

Enjoy your meal!

Zaituna Akhmetvaleyevna Kaigulova
(city of Murmansk):

– My mother taught us how to cook kystybyi in early childhood. I'm still bake it. Having moved to Severomorsk to my daughter, I really miss my native Bashkortostan. Therefore I constantly cook our Bashkir dish. Let my grandson and granddaughter not forget their origin.
And today I taught my sister's daughter Liliya Ul'yabayeva, who lives in Murmansk, how to cook kystybyi. In this way we prepared to meet our son-in-law, who serves in the Navy.
For the dough take melted butter, a little warm water, salt to taste and baking soda. The rolled flatbreads are baked in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Put mashed potatoes on one half of the flatbread and grease it with butter on both sides.
By the way, I also cook kystybyi from pancakes. For the filling I usually use mashed potatoes, it turns out delicious too.

Enjoy your meal!

This is how we cook kystybyi…

Svetlana Fargatovna Khasanova

(city of Sterlitamak):

We cooked kystybyi together with my mother, Farida Iskhakova Satybalova, who lives in the city of Ishimbai, and my daughter Aisulpan, she is 16 years old.

For the dough take flour (700–800 g), milk (250 ml), eggs (3 pieces). Add eggs, a little salt and flour to the milk. Knead the dough. It turns out elastic and obedient. Roll out the dough so that it turns out very thin. Cut out the circles of the desired size. We took a saucer with a diameter of 18 cm. Put round thin blanks on a plate and do not forget to sprinkle flour between them so that they do not stick together (I forgot about flour, and the last 5 pieces stuck together tightly, do not repeat my mistake). Grease the finished flatbreads with melted butter on top.

The blanks are fried in a dry frying pan, without adding any oil. If the flatbreads are covered with bubbles and golden dots appear on them, then they are done!

Then spread the filling of mashed potatoes on one half of the flatbread. Fold each flatbread in half and grease the top with butter.

Cover the finished flatbreads with a towel, let them

soak in butter for half an hour.

Enjoy your meal!

Kystybyi in a modern style

In Ufa, the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, the first national fast food restaurant «Aibat hallyar» has opened, where kystybyi is cooked with various fillings. This is a new and modern format of Bashkir cuisine. The main menu includes kystybyi with more than 20 types of fillings: meat, chicken, fish, vegetable, etc.
The Republic of Tatarstan has also combined Tatar traditions and family values with a modern concept by creating a fast food restaurant «Kystybyi tatar-food».

Kystybyi in folk art and the works of poets and writers

Ditties about kystybyi

Female ensemble of accordion players «Akhirattar» («Girlfriends») from the

village of Yaratovo (Baimaksky district of the Republic of Bashkortostan)

Festive feast

I put the cookbook
Right in front of me,
I'm preparing a rich treat
For my mother's holiday.

I've cooked meat broth,
And when the potatoes are done
I'll cut the noodles
That made from egg dough.

I've chopped goose meat and potatoes
Into little cubes,
I've kneaded the dough on butter
And baked pies with minced meat.

I've mashed boiled potatoes,
Added hot milk and butter,
If you put this filling in a unleavened flatbread
It will turn out kystybyi.

After cooling the millet porridge
And having added milk, flour and yeast,
I've baked pancakes –
It is finger-licking good.

At first having kneaded dough on eggs,
And then having dipped it in boiling oil,
I've cooked boortsog,
Let's taste it!

The table is groaning with treats –
How big I've grown!
Mom will be very happy
That she has such a skilled daughter.

Alfiya Asadullina, poetess


1. Arslanova I. A. (2012). Traditsionnaya i sovremennaya bashkirskaya kukhnya [Traditional and modern Bashkir cuisine]. Ufa: Kitap, 256 p. (in Russian).
2. Shitova S. N., Gadelgareyeva R. G. (1979). Zlaki v povsednevnoi, prazdnichnoi i obryadovoi pishche bashkir v kontse XIX – nachale XX v. [Cereals in everyday, festive and ritual food of the Bashkirs in the late XIX – early XX century]. In: R. G. Kuzeyev, N. V. Bikbulatov (eds.). Khozyaistvo i kul'tura bashkir v XIX – nachale XX v. [Economy and culture of the Bashkirs in the XIX – early XX century]. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 78–125 (in Russian).

Photos: personal archive of the author; Internet sources.

Video: author – Liliya Takayeva, editing – Arslan Nadyrshin.

Author (compiler): L.R. Takayeva, 2021