Uyghur Food Is the Chinese Food You Should Know About — Cooking in America

– Uyghur cuisine is a Muslim Chinese food. Uyghur people are a Muslim
ethnic minority in China. We'll be making hand-pulled
noodles, lamb kebabs, spices, and chiles. Let's go check it out. – So we are the Uyghur. We have more than 30
million population in the northwestern part of China, but still a lot of people,
they don't know us. So we eating the halal food, and then I want to introduce
my culture to the other people. It is the best way, I think. – At first glance, people
relate this to Chinese food, but it's its own entity. What's different in the ingredients? – You know we're the central, the ancient Silk Road? We have more than 5,000
years [of] culture there. All the spices. We learn from both sides,
Far East to the Far West.

It's a combination. We have noodles. Maybe some of them come from China. The kebab, samboza come
from the West, like in Iran or Arabic. You can see every country's
thing is in our food, actually. – Yeah, represented in that. (brass instruments) So all the noodles are made by hand? – [Pattar] Yeah, all the
noodles made by hand. – [Sheldon] Hand-stretched. So the dough, you make
this every day fresh? – [Pattar] Yeah, every day fresh. We have to make the oil on it
so it cannot stick together. (noodles flop) – That was so sick. That's a noodle right there. I love the chewiness of it. The texture is beautiful. – You try? – Okay, let's try. This is so cool. So pull here? – Yes, good. – Brush it? – Yes, yes. – And then pull. – Lift up like this.

(noodle flops) – Oh! I broke it. – [Pattar] That's okay it looks nice. – My noodles broke. – Pull there first. – Oh, okay. (noodles flop) (all laughing) Maybe a couple more years. You guys are amazing artists. So we saw the noodles, and now we're gonna put all that together. – It's called big plate chicken, in China we call it dapanji. – And it starts to go
back, the influence of the other side of the road? – Yeah. – Oil, cotton oil. – Cotton oil? Cottonseed oil, okay. – Sugar. – [Sheldon] Sugar? – [Akbar] Yeah. – So that's gonna caramelize
and make the color much more deep. Ah, look at the color immediately. – This is the most important part. It's the recipe from his father. – 22 ingredients in it. – 22 different ingredients, okay. Text me that later, okay? (all laugh) And then it's mixed with a
little bit of oil, or water? – A little bit water, and
garlic, a little ginger. – [Sheldon] Who came up with this recipe? – My father.

The recipe I ask him, maybe two months. – Oh he don't wanna give it? – Yeah, he don't give me. – Well thank you, dad. Dried chiles. Uyghur cuisine typically spicy? – Yeah, spicy. Very spicy. – [Sheldon] And then the peppers are just gonna brighten that up for some freshness? – [Akbar] Yes. – The tomato puree mixed with chile. Black vinegar. – [Akbar] Yeah, black vinegar. – I smell all the chiles,
and all the scallions, and the freshness goes in at the end. Dapanji. – Big plate chicken. – When people migrate to a spot, the first thing that they
want to remember back home is the food, so the restaurant is always the gathering place.

– Starting like, 1980s,
'90s, some of our people starts come, because they
wanna study, they wanna learn. For the school, they coming here. And we don't have that
much population here. In the whole Bay Area,
maybe two or three hundred. It's difficult to live
without your community here. But the good thing is after
we open the restaurant, they always keep coming. Thank god, every day I
can see my people here. – I'd move to Oakland just for this dish. – Come on in please. (both laugh) – There's a little bit thinner noodles. – Yeah, gotta try it. – And stir fried in again, spices. – We call it lengmen. – Look at that, the noodles. It's so amazing. There's nothing compared
to hand-pulled noodles, the texture of it. This is the kebab, lamb kebab that's been marinated in all those different spices.

– Yes, you have to marinate
it almost six hours, five, six hours. – And you said you get some
of your spices even from– – Yeah, from our area. – So tender, it's a great way
to introduce people into lamb. And these are your dumplings. – Yeah, similar, but it's our own. – Topped off with sesame seeds. It's flakey, yet chewy.

– Yeah. – That is amazing. But you can see the difference
of what side of the country it came form. The kebab is more Middle Eastern, the noodles are more Chinese. So when you bite into the samsa, it's directly in the middle. – In China, it's a big population there, and there's more than 50 other minority. We're one of them. I told them I'm from China, and they look in my face, and they don't believing. I say I'm Uyghur, they don't know. It's difficult to introduce yourself. In the Turkic system,
there's Uyghur, Khazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkish, many variety of the nations there.

We have a big land there. It's 20% of the China land, so I don't feel I'm a
minority there, actually. But when I moved to the
inner land of China, you can feel you're a real
minority there, actually. It's difficult now, and a hard time for
our people in the area. Here in the Bay Area, I am minority, but the
Bay Area is full of other nations here, so it's
nice for me actually. I like it. Everybody come from everywhere. Our major customers is
the Asian customers, Chinese mostly, because
they know of our food. But in the area, there's a
lot of Muslim community here, it's like Afghan, Pakistani.

There's Indian also. A lot of people, they start to know us. – Yeah, 5,000 years of
history right in your food. Thank you for sharing that. – Thank you, thank you very much. You're here, and we're
handling like this normally in my country. – Right on, thank you. – Thank you very much, Sheldon, and I hope to see you again. – [Sheldon] Right on. – [Man] See how it's jello? – [Sheldon] Yeah, yeah, yeah. All those hours of slow cooking..

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Uyghur Food Is the Chinese Food You Should Know About — Cooking in America

Today on Cooking in America, Sheldon is in Oakland at Sama Uyghur Cuisine trying out the Muslim Chinese hand-pulled noodles and skewers.

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