To Damira Inatullaeva and her Uzbek roots, cooking is not simply cooking, it is a way of socializing and sharing knowledge. So, we were excited when we were recently invited into her home to learn to make a very special dish. Damira is a retired cardiologist and her husband Sahib Aminov was a professor of Central Asian history at the University of Samarkand; they came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven years ago. Damira now teaches Uzbek cooking classes in her Brooklyn home as part of the League of Kitchens, and Sahib is her occasional assistant. One of the dishes her students love to learn is barak, a kind of dumpling that the couple makes together. Listen to our interview and cooking lesson, then gather your family and friends to make their barak recipe at your home.


ALT INFOFrancis Lam with Damira Inatullaeva and Sahib Aminov. Photo: Erika Romero


ALT INFOLeft: Damira Inatullaeva and Sahib Aminov in the kitchen of their Brooklyn home. Right: The younger couple in Uzbekistan. Photo: Erika Romero (left) Provided by Damira Inatullaeva (right)


ALT INFOUncooked barak dumplings (left) can be boiled (middle) or fried (right). See Damira's recipe for ingredients and instructrionsPhotos: League of Kitchens, Erika Romero


ALT INFODamira slices into a cake at the table of an amazing meal. Photo: Erika Romero

Francis Lam

Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table. He is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter. He graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America and has written for numerous publications. Lam lives with his family in New York City.