Spices of Uzbekistan

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If you decide to go on a tour to Uzbekistan, you definitely need to do two things: please your receptors with local cuisine and buy spices at home.

Local residents combine different types of seasonings so that the same dish in different parts of Uzbekistan can have completely different tastes. That is why tourists go to the country to spend a vacation and return with many spices and seasonings.

In the article we will tell you which spices are the most popular in Uzbekistan, where they are added, where to buy and how to store spices at home.

Locals use spices in any form: ground, whole, fried and fresh. It all depends on what kind of preparation is being held and the type of spices

What spices should be brought from Uzbekistan

Locals sell a lot of spices. We will consider the main ones that cannot be passed by.


One of the most popular spices is barberry. Due to the high content of vitamin C, its taste is slightly tart and sour. Barberry is used not only as a seasoning for many dishes, but also as a drink. Tea with barberry quenches thirst, invigorates, lowers blood sugar and strengthens the walls of blood vessels.

Barberry is added to almost all meat dishes, soups or marinades. Pilaf, lamb or kebab – barberry is an essential ingredient. Locals use not only the fruits of barberry, but also the leaves. They are added to salads, soups and rice with vegetables.

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Barberry goes well with other spices: turmeric, zira, cloves.


Zira or cumin is a spice that Uzbeks have used since ancient times. Seasoning enhances the taste of food, makes it a little sharper. It is added at the beginning of cooking.

Zira is used for cooking the main Uzbek dishes: pilaf, manti, soups, barbecue and marinade. Locals dry zira leaves and add them to green tea.

In addition to taste, zira has many useful qualities: it strengthens the immune system, normalizes the digestive system, improves blood circulation and increases appetite. Zira also helps with indigestion and is used as an antiseptic for wound healing.


Coriander – cilantro seeds. Coriander is used in different ways: for the preparation of honey, as spices for meat dishes, in preservation, they are added to baking, and the essential oil contained in the seeds is used in cosmetology. Cilantro leaves are also added to salads, soups and meat dishes.

Coriander is added to all popular Uzbek dishes: shurpa, pilaf, dolma and manta.

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Cilantro seeds have a healing effect. For example, coriander strengthens the heart muscle, normalizes intestinal function and kills microbes in the body.

Red pepper

Do you remember that the people of Uzbekistan love spicy food? So it is not surprising that they add red tart pepper in almost all dishes.

Pepper is added to food in any form: fresh, ground, dried. Locals use pepper even unripe, and all because green pepper is sharper than ripe. If you like hot peppers, we recommend buying green, small sizes (they say that size also affects sharpness: the smaller the sharper).

Locals add pepper to meat dishes, marinades, salads, sauces and vegetable dishes.

Paprika, which can also be brought home, is made from soft burning capsicum.

Anise and star anise

You do not think that anise and star anise are one seasoning? They are often confused because the plants are similar. They are really very similar in appearance, but they have a different smell.

Anise is an annual herb. Anise fruits are smaller than anise star fruits. Almost always, anise is added to dishes in ground form, the exception is the preparation of herbal tea.

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Star anise is used in dried form. It goes well with ginger, cloves and pepper. Yes, star anise is added in small quantities to meat dishes to avoid bitterness.


Sweet sesame with a nutty flavor. Ground sesame is added to meat and vegetable soups, sauces. Sesame oil is added to Uzbek pilaf, and whole grains are used in cooking and sweets (kozinaki, baklava, halva).

An interesting fact: when heated, the taste of sesame seeds intensifies and a bright nutty shade appears.


Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Imagine, to get a kilogram of saffron, you need about 200 thousand crocus flowers.

The taste of seasoning is unusual: a combination of metallic and honey flavor is felt. Add seasoning in a small amount to meat dishes, soups and pastries. Seasoning goes well with rice dishes: it gives them a golden hue and a spicy aroma.

Where to buy spices in Uzbekistan?

Buying spices in Uzbekistan is easy. The best place to buy is local markets. Locals sell spices by weight, in packages or make mixtures of different spices.

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A little tip: when buying spices, ask the seller for a recipe to surprise your loved ones with an unusual dish 🙂

How to store spices at home

It will be a shame if you bring spices home, and they quickly disappear. To prevent this from happening, store the spices in airtight containers in a dark, cool place.

So you can extend the shelf life of Uzbek spices. By the way, ground spices can be stored for up to six months, whole – no more than a year.

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