This dish presents a verbal tongue twister for a foreigner when
trying to pronounce its name. It is a delicate stuffed flatbread
folded in the form of a soft half-moon. It is an old recipe that
comes from the forests, fields and archaeological burial mounds of
the mid-Volga region. Unleavened flatbreads are baked on a dry pan,
greased with melted butter and then stuffed with millet porridge or
Try it at the Tatar
Echpochmak, or “triangle,” is
both the alpha and omega of Tatar cuisine. This is the first food
you should try to get acquainted with in the region. It is a very
simple pastry at first glance: yeast, dough, meat, onion, cubed
potatoes all formed into pyramid shape and baked in the oven.
It is an art to get the dough just right so that the triangles have
a crunchy crust despite the juicy stuffing inside. Old Tatar women
will tell you that an Echpochmak must be cooked with love and this
is why you shouldn’t eat them in a restaurant.
A classic Echpochmak is heavy weighted, aromatic and hot and stays
warm inside for several hours. The triangles are stuffed with
different kinds of meat, the best combinations being beef and duck
as well as mutton and goose. When the pastries are almost ready, a
drop of thick broth and a piece of butter are added through a
special hole on the top to enhance the flavour of the stuffing.
Where can you eat these? Ideally with a Tatar family. Alternatively
you may book a table at
The House of Tatar
Culinary Art. Their Echpochmaks are as close to what an old
Tatar woman would cook at home.
Kazylyk is a very thinly sliced air-dried horse sausage prepared
with meat, salt, pepper, and then a two month period of aging in a
cool place. Tatars inherited this recipe from the Golden Horde
(Mongolians), Eurasia’s most restless people, who came to the Volga
region in the 13th century.
Where to eat: it is hard to mess up a Kazylyk, so order it in any
restaurant, food store or market place.
Kaklagan kaz (air-dried goose)
If Kazan had a gastronomic
coat of arms, it would feature an air-dried goose against a
background with a golden triangle of Echpochmak. Kaklagan kaz is as
symbolic to Tatarstan as Jamon is to Spain. The best places to get
the type of goose used for this dish is from the villages of
Imenkovo or Kulbash.
The most important factor in raising a tasty goose is the diet.
Geese should be fed millet, barley and sugar beets. The process of
drying is an ancient one, and while simple, it demands time and
patience. The goose is gutted, rubbed with salt, wrapped in wax
paper and hung for 3–4 months in a cool place where there is no
direct sun or wind. During that time the goose absorbs aromas and
healthy fats. The colour of the meat becomes dark red, similar to
the colour of Spanish ham and the taste becomes refined with a sweet
and salty taste to it.
Where can you try this food? In restaurants or at a market place. It
is also worth going to the new
shopping centre where farmers sell their homemade products.
Zur-belish with goose
Belish is a small pastry. Zur-belish is a large pie. Combine
zur-belish with goose and you ahve a true feast. This kind of pie is
usually prepared only for family celebrations and very special
A round and well baked closed pastry the size and form of a giant
soup bowl spreads the heat around while being baked in the oven.
Belishes are made of unfermented dough, because regular yeast dough
won’t survive the intense heat required for its preparation. Goose
meat, with giblets, potatoes and onions are stewed inside the
Little spice is used in Tatar cuisine. This is due to historical
habits borrowed from the nomads using a policy of “zero kilometre
food”: this is when food is cooked only from products that can be
sourced in the closest neighbourhood to the kitchen. Sounds like the
'Slow Food' movement of old!!
Where can you eat this dish? At a local home or at a food fair in
Kazan. Check the calendar of events at
gokazan.ru to see
what’s on offer.
BakhetleTatarstan was once a transit centre of cultures, knowledge
and the recipes from the east, west, north and south. Kazan was a
major stop on the Great Highway, one of the major tea trade route
stretching from China to Europe. Therefore, it is unsurprising that
tea drinking in Kazan is not just a tradition, but also takes on
philosophical elements, such as how to drink, with whom, and most
importantly, with what.
One of the most delicious and complex Tatar deserts is Talkysh
Kaleve. This Turkish recipe was brought to Kazan in the 19th century
by the Tatar Borkhan, an ancestor of the Saifullin family. In the
1990s Niyaz Saifullin started producing Talkysh Kaleve on a mass
scale, a sugary empire that has no competitors because of the
complexity of the process.
Two experienced masters stretch the honey and sugar candy mixture
and transform it into white fragile threads until this hot mass
turns into a web of threads. The web is powdered with a mixture of
melted butter and flour so that the threads don't stick to each
other and immediately form miniature cones while the mixture still
has the right temperature. This is a work of art for discriminating
Where can you eat this? At Tatar restaurants or the chain store