Kazakh foods — Kumis, Shubat, Kurt and Baursak

Kumis, Shubat, Kurt and Baursak: Kumis, fermented mares’ milk, is a popular drink with many Kazakhstanis. The fermentation process removes the lactose from the milk making it a good alternative to cows’ milk for the lactose intolerant. Kumis is readily available from supermarkets. Shubat is the camel’s milk equivalent to kumis and is made in the same way. Both Kumiss and Shubat are reputed to have wonderful health properties. They are slightly fizzy and sour and are a somewhat acquired taste. Kurt: a cheese made from dehydrated sour cream. It has to be softened before eating. Buarsak: these little balls of fried dough are endlessly popular with children. They are similar to a savoury oliebol or doughnut. For optimum flavour they can be cooked in animal fat but most of the offerings found in supermarkets are cooked in vegetable oil.