Nokhurli Motal

Ark of taste
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This cheese is the most representative of the Turkmen tribe of the Nokhurli, a native sedentary population which is one of the oldest of southern Turkmenistan, concentrated in villages located in the central and southwestern part of the Kopet Dag mountain range (Turkmen side). According to Soviet ethnographers, who studied the Nokhurli, this community has lived stably in the territory for around a thousand years, unlike other tribes which changed over to a more sedentary form of life more recently (250-300 years ago). A sedentary lifestyle and isolation influenced the lifestyle of the Nokhurli and their traditional cuisine.
Peinir – motal is a cheese that is still made in the villages from a mixture of sheep and goat milk. It is produced between the end of the winter and beginning of spring.
The fresh milk is filtered through cheesecloth into containers of around 20 liters, and then rennet (gor) is added. The ratio of gor to milk is around 1 to 40. It is covered and left to sit for hours. The milk starts to thicken and the curd is then again mixed in highly resistant cloth bags, which are then tied and twisted to squeeze out the excess whey. They are then put on large flat stones. Boards are put on the bags and other smaller flat stones on top. The remaining whey is completely squeezed out by the weight of the stones and the contents of the bags hardens. After 2 hours the stones are removed and the peinir is removed from the bags and cut immediately into square pieces weighing 0.8 – 1.5 kilograms.

The cheese, snow-white and gelatinous, is almost tasteless and is eaten for breakfast. Since peinir cannot be preserved for long, it is considered to be a true delicacy to offer to important guests. Peinir which is not eaten quickly is then salted and put in containers with brine for 2-3 days.

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Milk and milk products

Indigenous community:Nokhurli community
Nominated by:Azat Orazov