November 22, 2012

Cho'chura: Uyghur Style Dumplings with Soup

The Women in the Tash Family make the Chuchura Dumplings  Kashgar, Xinjiang Province, China

Prepare a flavorful lamb broth, and stir in diced, seeded tomatoes. In a separate pot, simmer chuchura, Uyghur "soup dumplings," for two or three minutes until the wrappers become slightly translucent. Drain, and transfer the dumplings to the soup.

Cook the dumplings in the soup for another 10 minutes, to absorb flavor from the broth. Garnish with freshly-chopped cilantro, and serve hot. Chuchura are similar to tortellini or wontons, but are filled with lamb or mutton, minced onions and a dash of cumin.

Steam manti, another type of Uyghur dumpling, in an oiled bamboo steamer for 25 minutes. Manti are wrapped in thin wheat dough similar to wonton wrappers, and can have a variety of fillings. Mutton and lamb are the most common, but pumpkin and other fillings can be used. Serve hot, with a chili-based dipping sauce or vinegar.

Use the oiled bamboo steamer for Hoshang dumplings, as well. These are similar to Chinese pork buns, with a thicker and chewier pastry, but are filled with mutton and onions. After steaming, they are pan-fried to a crisp and golden surface on each side.

Simmer Uyghur "potstickers" in an open pan with just enough water to cover them, for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain any remaining water, and pan-fry until the dumplings are golden brown on bottom, about two to three minutes. Serve with hot dipping sauce or vinegar. Uyghur potstickers are similar to Chinese jaozi or Japanese gyoza, but with lamb or mutton filling.  
recipe courtesy of

Tamlik  thats Delicious in Uyghur 

November 15, 2012

Meatless Days

Egg Vendor Old Souk, Aleppo, Syria

Whenever I am traveling for long periods of time, I always eat eggs, especially as I try to avoid meat.  For several days, I will go with a vegetarian diet but, I can't give up my eggs. Usually, I prefer to eat omelets, and the best I've tasted were made a few miles from Sogmartan, in the Upper Mesopotamian plains, just north of the border of Syria, in Southern Turkey. After walking for the entire day, I came upon a remote farm house where my guide asked for some food and what came  were delicious eggs fried in sheep's fat, served in the cast iron pan they were cooked - simply divine!

Red Eggs Kabul, Afghanistan

Egg Maze Old City SanliUrfa, Turkey

November 8, 2012

All the Tea in China..........!

The Drink Dujour through-out the entire Silk Road is TEA. From the fertile tea plantation on the Black Sea in Trabzon, to the Tea Houses in Xi'an, China tea is the ubiquitous libation morning, noon, and night.  Up to twenty glasses a day!

Here are a few of my favorite tea drinking spots
 Bedouin Tea in front of the Monastery Petra, Jordan
Green Tea overlooking the Oasis Turpan, Xinjian Province, China

 Final Pour Green Tea  100 year old Tea House, Xi"an, China
Tea Plantation overlooking the Black Sea Trabzon, Turkey

Bedouin Spiced Tea in Tent  Desert near Palmyra, Syria

 Black Tea with Teachers and village Elders  Dewan, Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan
Black Tea in ancient Cave Harran, Southern Turkey 

November 2, 2012

Remembering Aleppo

 Armenian Quarter in the Old City Aleppo

My laptop was on New York time and so I arrived a day early at Beit Wakil, once an upscale family home and now a small Boutique Hotel in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. The frazzled young girl at the reception could barely cope with my presence and began ringing a bell at an alarming clang. From somewhere deep inside the walls I heard  baritone sounds that seemed to be getting closer… "No Problem I will fix" the burly man was saying as he scurried down the steps in a long Arabian Thobe, the casual robe that Middle Eastern men where in the intense heat. "Hello, I'm Habib, the manager and we will take care of your room.  Find her a room", he says to the receptionist as he takes my arm and leads me down a stone hall to the inner courtyard. "Have you eaten, don't eat because I am taking you for dinner. Aleppo has the best food in the Middle East. i promise you what ever you don't like we won't charge you!"
That night we sang all the songs from Fiddler on the Roof as Habib filled glass after glass of Arak the sweet, anise drink of Syria. The more he drank the more he began to look like Zero Mostel's Tevye

                                                              Courtyard of the Beit Wail


November 1, 2012

Destruction of Biblical Proportions


Women Entering the Umayyad Mosque Old City, Damascus, Syria
Christ Statue  Christian Quarter, Damascus

How we do some things
connects us all.
A response of historic numbers
to a focused mission.
Hands getting it done
in a grand job for Peace
A car bomb in Bab Touma
sets off a storm of Destruction in the Old City of Damascus.
Where Muslims, Christians and Jews
lived in quarters side by side behind walls three men high.
The warning rises on the Four Winds.
Driving a storm of epic proportions.
As the deluge of violence in Syria
spreads throughout the Middle East.
War planes thunder over Damascus
ensuring its destruction,
sadly the prediction delivers true.
A passionate echo from the ancient Prophet Isaiah his words
knitted on the back of a sweater in Aleppo:
Marla Mossman New York, 2012

  There will Come A Time  Old Souk,  Aleppo, Syria 
Ram in home of two Sisters  Jewish Quarter  Old City, Damascus, Syria

Mt. Ararat

Marla Mossman

My photo
One woman traveling alone, in search of her religious and cultural heritage.