Celebrating Muslim Diversity: Recipes from Uyghur Muslims


Celebrating Muslim Diversity: Recipes from Uyghur Muslims


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Uyghur Muslims are a Turkic ethnic group who live predominantly in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, although historically they have lived across the regions of Central Asia. Identifying as Muslim with their own distinct culture, language, traditions, and food, Uyghur Muslims have come under heavy persecution from Chinese authorities, who view them as extremists and separatists.

Despite the horrendous human rights abuses from Chinese authorities, the Uyghur community have remained steadfast in their commitment to both spread awareness about their plight as well as keep hold of their ancient and unique culture and traditions. So in the spirit of solidarity, here are three favorite recipes:

Polu: A traditional Uyghur rice dish found throughout Central Asia, with a mix of lamb, carrots, and spices 


  • 2 Tbsp of oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 small pieces of ginger (peeled)
  • 1 pound of lamb ribs (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 Tsp of salt
  • 2 onions (cut and chopped)
  • 1 pound of carrots (peeled and either sliced or chopped, depending on preference)
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 Tsp of sugar
  • 1 Tsp of cumin powder
  • 5 dried chilli peppers
  • 1 Tsp of Sichuan peppercorn


  • Heat oil in a large wok or large frying pan
  • Add in garlic and ginger, fry until fragrant
  • Add in lamb ribs one at a time and add in 1 Tsp of salt. Stir and cook until the ribs turn golden brown, around 3 minutes
  • Add in the onion and mix well
  • Add in the carrots, cook for around 3 minutes
  • Add three cups of water and wait for entire mixture to boil
  • Once boiling, add in the sugar, cumin powder, chilli peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns
  • Turn to a low heat and cover the pan
  • Cook mixture for around 1 hour and 30 minutes, keeping it at a low simmer
  • Add another 1 Tsp of salt half way through, and add more water if necessary
  • Once the lamb is cooked through, make room in the middle of the wok to pour the rice in (make sure there is still enough water to cover the rice completely)
  • Cover the entire mixture with both the lamb and rice again and cook for around 5 minutes while keeping it on medium heat
  • Once at a boil for 5 minutes, leave the heat to a simmer and let it cook for around another 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through
  • Once ready and there is no more water in the rice, serve hot and enjoy!

Dapanji: A popular spicy hot chicken dish that literally translates to “a big plate of chicken”


  • 1.5 pounds of chicken (skinned and cut into small pieces)
  • 4 potatoes (peeled and cut into medium sized pieces)
  • 2 green bell peppers (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp of Chinese fermented black bean sauce (doubanjiang)
  • 2 Tbsp of chilli-garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 Tsp of soy sauce
  • Handful of dried chilli
  • 5 pieces of star anise
  • Handful of Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar


  • Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan, and once hot add in a small sprinkle of sugar and mix well
  • Add in the chicken and fry until golden brown
  • Next add in the onion and cook until soft and brown (around 5 minutes)
  • Once chicken and onions are cooked through, add in the black bean sauce, chili-garlic sauce, and tomato paste. Make sure everything is mixed in well
  • Add in the salt, dried chillies, and Sichuan peppercorns
  • Add in potatoes, soy sauce, and star anise together
  • Once everything is mixed, pour enough water over mixture to have everything covered
  • Bring to a boil, and once at a boil, bring down the heat again to medium. Let this cook for around 25 minutes
  • Finally, at the end add in the bell peppers and let them cook for just a few minutes
  • Serve once water has been cooked out and add additional sauces to taste. Serve with either noodles or flatbread and enjoy!

Laghman: A common Uyghur noodle dish that includes handmade noodles from dough balls that are soaked in a traditional meat broth


  • Fresh laghman noodles
  • 1/2 pound of meat (lamb or beef, cut into small pieces)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Chinese celery
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp of chili-garlic paste
  • Salt to flavor
  • 1 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 Tsp of black vinegar
  • Assortment of fresh vegetables (peeled and cut into small pieces)


  • Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan, and once hot add in the meat
  • Cook meat until tender and browned, and add in the black vinegar
  • Mix in tomato paste and chili-garlic sauce, stirring well
  • Add in your assorted vegetables, making sure to mix everything well together
  • Add in enough water to cover the entire mixture, and let boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Once at a simmer, add in the soy sauce, salt, and garlic
  • Cook until everything has been flavored, but leave some of the broth with the meat and spice flavors to pour over your noodles. Pour the entire meat, broth, and vegetable mixture over your fresh laghman noodles and enjoy!

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