Today I am sharing a delicious and very popular Uzbek Noodle Soup recipe called Lagman. This dish boasts a blend of unique flavours and other familiar textures all rolled into one. I would say it’s like a cross between a hearty veg and pasta soup and a Chinese chow mein. It’s definitely one of our family favourites. Another great thing about soupy dishes like this is that it’s really easy to adapt and add more spices to suit your own taste & preference.
Traditionally, Lagman soup is thick in consistency and can easily be referred to as more of a light stew. The soupy part of the dish can look very similar to a Tagine when water is added.
How To Make Fried Lagman
There is another version of Lagman that is stir-fried like a chow mein and isn’t soupy at all. It is just as popular as the soup version and often garnished with an egg. The egg can be fried, or sometimes shredded as an omelette and sprinkled on top. The ingredients are usually the same and the meat is fried well until browned and cooked. The vegetables are added and stir-fried in with the spices, however, no water is added. The amount of salt and spices needed will not be as much in this case and the boiled noodles are stirred into the vegetable and beef mix when cooked.
How Is Lagman Served?
The Lagman sauce is poured generously over the freshly made and boiled noodles. Uzbek soups are usually garnished or served with fresh natural yoghurt or soured cream. A generous helping of greens such as freshly cut dill, parsley or green onions is often sprinkled on top.
How Are The Lagman Noodles Made?
Traditionally Lagman noodles are carefully rolled and then pulled out very long using oil. The process reminds me very much of the Moroccan Razizzah method, also known as Rizzat Alqaadi because when it is shaped it looks like a sheikh’s turban. But of course, they are 2 completely different things as the egg makes the noodles more firm when boiled whereas Razizzah is much softer in texture and fluffier when steamed!
Here is an amazing video by our favourite Uzbek Chef-Nishonov showing the step-by-step process of making the Lagman noodles from scratch the traditional way:
As amazingly fun as that looks to do, you do have to be brave and quite confident to try it out. Especially if you are a beginner and new to Uzbek cuisine.
Soooo, alternatively, if you are like me, and not too confident making your own noodles the traditional way, I have shared a video by Chinese Masterchef John Zhang showing an easier rolling pin method. I found it very useful and I still make my noodles like this today. I really love this easier way of making homemade noodles for Uzbek noodle soup. It can be enjoyed more often as a healthy everyday family meal.
Can I Use Store Bought Noodles For Lagman?
Realistically, we may find ourselves craving this dish and just not having the time to make the noodles from scratch. In this case, you can easily use a packet of Chinese-style egg noodles, spaghetti or linguine noodles, or our favourite substitute, tagliatelle noodles. All of which come out just as delicious. Here is our own video example of when my husband made Uzbek Lagman Soup using tagliatelle noodles:
In A Hurry? You Can Use A Pressure Cooker.
The red meat required in the original recipe can be either beef or lamb but beef is more popular. However, beef can take longer to cook even if it’s cut small. I have sometimes used a pressure cooker to solve my time limitations when in a rush. When you have stir-fried the meat with onion, add some water to it and put it to cook under pressure for about 20 mins. The pressure cooker will evaporate most of the water and you can stirfry in the vegetables after this. You will enjoy soft, succulent beef in half the time.
Being Moroccan myself and first attempting to cook Uzbek food was a joke, I found it extremely hard to withhold myself from adding olive oil and saffron to Uzbek dishes :). Don’t be afraid to make it your own but I would strongly urge you to try the original version first.
What If I Don’t Want To Add Meat To My Lagman?
If you don’t want to add the meat or don’t have any, you can use some meat stock or make it vegetarian with vegetable stock.
I have a habit of wanting to use meat or bone stock in any soupy dishes I cook, even when I use meat. However, because Lagman includes red meat as a primary ingredient, it is not used or needed. Actually, stock cubes are never used in traditional Uzbek cooking.
Lagman – Uzbek Noodle Soup
- Uzbek rolling pin (if you are making your own noodles)
- ¼ kilo Halal lean beef I cut mine in small strips, but I've seen it in this soup in all sizes.
- ½ cup Vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1-2 Onions diced small
- 2 Medium carrots diced into cubes
- 1 Sweet red bell pepper diced into squares
- 2 Large tomatoes peeled & diced
- 1-2 Medium potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
- 1 cup Long green radish red radish can be used too if green is not available (optional)
- 1 cup Green beans optional
- 2-3 Garlic cloves grated, crushed or minced
- 1½ tsp Cumin (ZEERA) crushed or whole
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed crushed
- ½ tsp Black pepper to taste
- 2 tsp Salt to taste
- ½ tsp Sweet paprika
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 ½ pints Water
- Fresh greens such as parsley, dill or spring onions washed & chopped for garnish
- 2 Large eggs
- ½ tsp Salt to taste
- However much needed of white flour to form a stiff dough
- Water if needed
- For the noodles a stiff dough is prepared from white flour, eggs, and salt; whisk the 2 eggs and add the salt before adding whatever amount is needed of flour to form a stiff dough, you may use some water after this if the dough becomes too stiff.
- Set the dough aside for 30-40 minutes under a plastic bag/clingfilm and top with a tea towel. The dough is then rolled out into a 1.5-2 mm thick sheet with a diameter of not less than 10-15 cm. This is overlapped into layers that are roughly between 4-5 cm wide & piled up using generous sprinkles of flour to prevent sticking & for easy and faster cutting. This was a very useful video for me when I first started:
- The noodles are then sliced as thinly as possible with a sharp knife from one side of the dough to the other. Then stir up gently with your fingers to detach and form the noodles before cooking them separately in boiling salt water. (This is usually done just before serving)
- Drain the noodles and distribute them into the serving bowls before spooning your beef and vegetable soup/stew on the top.
For The Soup
- For the soup, heat the oil in a large pan or Kazan if you have one, it should be very hot before adding the beef strips. Fry and constantly stir and turn until well browned on all sides.
- Add the onions, and spices and continue to stir-fry until the onion is well browned.
- Then add the tomatoes and leave to cook until the tomato is reduced into a saucy pulp.
- When the beef is almost cooked add the diced red bell pepper, potatoes, carrots and garlic, and stir-fry all the vegetables for a few minutes more.
- Add the boiling water and stir into the fried mixture. Lower the heat and leave to cook for a further 20-30 min or until the beef is tender.
- Serve the beef soup generously onto the distributed noodles and garnish with some freshly cut parsley or greens.