Uzbek Community and Meats and Eats on Ditmas
- jonkyo Dec 8, 2012 12:01 PM
I was reading the FT the other day, and an editorial concerning Central Asia, brought me back to Brooklyn, due to mention of Uzbekistan. I immediately recalled my discovery of an Uzbek community on or around Ditmas Street between MacDonald and Ocean. These shops and cafes are wedged between the usual Mexican venues and Chinese take outs.
An Uzbekistan Butcher Shop sits almost across from the Polish Deli Krakus Foods at 304 Ditmas Avenue, Brooklyn.
Take note that at Krakus Foods has, for only for 99 cents usd, 16 oz. cans of Imported Russian Baltic Beer. They are sold singly and arre easily purchased, after deliberating due to the selection on offer from the pantheon of brew styles, all from the Baltica Brewery.
The butcher shop, is halal, and one can sample the meats that Muslim people from Uzbekistan eat. The quality that comes from hahal raising and butchering techniques or practices, is exception, I have found.
For about 4 dollars I purchased several testicles of the bull...or was it of goat or lamb....., after my asking what they were, had the response of "They are good, how many pounds do you want?". Lack of English vocabulary never stops the best of retailers. I actually knew what they were, and was inquiring, hoping to get some preparation ideas. Testicles of the lamb do feature quite widely in Uzbek cuisine. It is a soft tissue ideal for saucy dishes, as well as stews. I have never had them skewered, but in Riga once, at a Russian owned venue, they were prepared minced or mushed, and formed into patties, with spices mixed in, and cooked, in what was a more elaborate preparation than I created.
The preparation of this meat, with spices added to the fry or saute or what became a bit of a stew, in the home, made for an exception meal.
Spices are best purchased in and around the MacDonald and Church, where there are also some great halal butchers, who carve the animals, such as goat, from whole, so the organs and the the cuts of meat are very fresh. You can see them carving them up. Most are Muslims from Hindi. I have never ventured to any of the eating establishments in the MacDonald and Church area, for curries and dishes to eat with roti and naan are best prepared at Haandi (113 Lexington Avenue) and especially Lahori Kabab (124 Lexington Avenue). Thus said, for spices and meats, and other items, Brooklyn is perhaps the best of destinations.
For the Uzbek Butcher, since halal you will find Goat and Beef as well as the organ meats of the animals, cut to order and so fresh. Such items are tail, feet, kidney, liver, tongue, testicles, large cuts or narrow cuts, the neck and head, and the stomach as well as the digestive track, intestine, that is. Uzbek cooking methods can be found on line, or ask the gentlemen in the shop the best way they would prepare any item you might have questions about.
Another trip to Brooklyn would be needed to taste prepared Uzbek food at some shops just east of the Uzbekistan Halal Butcher, conveniently located across from the spot for purchases of 99 cent 16 ounce cans of Baltic Beer, the polish shop and deli with head cheese, pork items, and klobasa, Krakus Foods, 204 Ditmas.
The butcher and other staff could point you in the direction for such spots for eating a bit of Uzbekistan restaurant , if you asked politely for Uzbek cuisine, and they would so appreciate a purchase of the fresh cut meats.
That is a question that is a good one, but I am unable to answer that. I have a very vague idea about the cooking in Central Asia, and can only tell that there are influences that come from Ottoman or Turkey, in preparations and perhaps in what is eaten. Geography I am sure places a role. Riga love their sprats and so do I, and that is a geographically based item. Central Asia maybe devoid of sprats.
Come to think of it, I spoke with someone from that region, Turkmenistan, and stated they share much similarity with Persians, such as language, and foods. He is a taxi driver in NYC, last I spoke to him.
I would suggest heading to the butcher and asking them, or discovering a bit of what cooking in the Uzbek region is like, and you might be able to answer the question.