In appearance typical Mongolian food looks very simple. Food from this country utilizes a variety of meats such as beef, goat, lamb, horse, camel, and even guinea pigs which are usually paired with rice, noodles, vegetables, or pasta. One of the Mongol traditions in winter is to eat hot, fresh food from the stove without serving.
Most Mongolian ingredients and cooking techniques originate from the nomadic lifestyle they still adhere to. But of course, it is different from the big cities and the capital city of Ulaanbaatar where the people are not like that. Want to get acquainted with food from Mongolia? Check out the following reviews.
It seems that dumplings are a food that can be found everywhere, including in Mongolia. Buuz is Mongolian steamed dumplings filled with meat such as mutton or beef. Usually, the meat is seasoned with salt, fresh herbs, garlic, and shallots.
The dumplings are made in large quantities and eaten all year round. But actually, buuz is the most popular dish during Tsagaan Sar, the Mongolian New Year celebration which usually takes place in February.
Buuz has a characteristic in the form of a small hole in the top and is often eaten by hand. Generally, dumplings are served with dipping sauce, fried bread, and salad. As a companion drink, vodka or tea is recommended.
If you visit Mongolia, you must try khorkhog. This Mongolian specialty is in the form of mutton or mutton cooked under pressure with hot stones over a fire. Khorkhogs are usually made from whole goats, so they are kept for special occasions or larger gatherings.
How to cook it is to heat the stone in the fireplace. Then the animal, sheep or goat, is killed by making an incision in the chest. Then the person will put their hand into the incision and pinch the aorta until the animal dies. This makes the process of dead animals faster.
One of the benefits of this method of slaughter is that the animal’s blood is not thrown away or falls to the ground. Then the new animal is slaughtered into pieces of meat. After that, the pieces of meat are added with vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and onions are put in a large milk barrel to be cooked together using a hot stone.
The metal container is tightly closed and placed over the heat to cook which takes about 45 minutes to cook. The result is a slice of very tender meat with a smokey taste from the hot stone. After that, the vegetables and meat are served on a tray. It was one of Genghis Khan’s favorite foods and also a favorite of both Mongolians and tourists.
Noodles can not be separated from the Asian nation. Mongolia also has a noodle dish called tsuivan. It is a fried noodle dish served with meat, which is usually mutton, and vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. This Mongolian food is believed to have come from China.
The taste of this noodle is unique thanks to the process of frying and steaming the meat in the same pan. Usually, the noodles are made from scratch, while the meat can be from mutton, horse, to tail fat. In nomadic style cooking, whatever ingredients you have will make for a great meal.
Tourists will have no trouble finding this food as it is one of the most consumed dishes in Mongolia. The noodle dish may look simple but it requires the whole family in the process of cooking it to produce the perfect tsuivan.
If in Indonesia there is such a thing as fried pastel, in Mongolia there is a fried dumpling called khuushur. This is another famous and popular type of dumpling in Mongolian cuisine after the buuz described earlier. Khuushur is filled with meat, garlic, onion, and pepper, and sometimes also stuffed with mashed potatoes.
These dumplings can be filled with beef or even camel meat, but 99% are mostly filled with good old mutton. When frying, use goat fat.
In every festival or major event held in Mongolia, khuusuur is very common. For example, when the Naadam Festival was big in July, street vendors at Ulaanbaatar Stadium lined up selling khuushuur.
Bantan is a traditional Mongolian soup that is often eaten as a hangover remedy, but not motion sickness. This is drunkenness after drinking. This Mongolian specialty is made from water, pieces of meat (usual lamb), chopped scallions, and wheat flour, which are made into dough crumbs. Although soup is usually garnished with chopped scallions, various herbs and spices are also commonly found in it. Bantan is often compared to Korean beef porridge because it has a thick, soft and creamy texture.
Mongolian-style barbecue has spread to the United States. But boodog, a style of barbecue that uses the body of a dead animal for cooking, is unique in Mongolia. Goats and guinea pigs are the most popular animals for barbecue.
Both of these animals are cooked by inserting a hot stone into the inside of the dead animal after previously separating the meat from the skin. These barbecues are often found in meadows or wherever outdoor activities take place. This is because boodog is usually served to a group of people on special occasions.
After the dish is finished cooking, Mongolians or tourists will rub the cooking stones between their hands if they wish. It is believed that this method can improve their health.
The dairy products the nomadic Mongolians make will depend on what animals they raise. Goats, sheep, cows, horses, camels, or yaks are the most commonly kept animals and all produce milk. The resulting milk is used in the manufacture of various other foods or beverages.
Dairy products are often eaten in winter. Aaruul is a typical Mongolian dish that is usually made in the summer when the ingredients are abundant, then eaten all year round.
Aaruul is a dry cheese made from cheese curds mixed with sugar, berries, and other wild plants. Usually, aaruul is made from goat, sheep, cow, or yak milk because horse and camel milk is made into a fermented drink such as airag. In making aaruul, the curd is pressed through a sieve and then sliced and dried outside in the sun.
Aaruul has a unique and strong taste. The taste depends on the spices used but is usually a combination of sweet and sour. When stored in storage, aaruul tends to become tough, so Mongolians smoke it more often than chew it. Sometimes aaruul is also dissolved in water to produce a nutritious drink like milk.
Bansh is another Mongolian dumpling. The difference is that these dumplings are tightly closed, then boiled in water, and given a little salt. Usually, the dough is made from flour, water, and salt. Meanwhile, the filling is made from ground beef or mutton, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.
When the dumpling floats to the top, it means the dumpling is done. These dumplings are more often served as a separate dish along with condiments, but can also be served in milk tea or soup.
- Chanasan Makh
Chanasan makh is one of the most common traditional Mongolian foods found in nomadic families. This typical Mongolian dish is simple but delicious. This dish is made by boiling meat, bones, and offal together in salted water and then letting it boil and simmer over low heat for several hours.
The meat that is cooked is generally mutton. Apart from meat, some vegetables and noodles are added to the pot. The way it is served is usually placed on a plate so that everyone can take what they want. The broth is served separately in a bowl and shared. The presentation is similar to khorkhog.
Nowadays, Mongolian families might as well add some vegetables and noodles to the pot. It is usually served by placing the meat (and vegetables if included) on a plate so everyone can get what they want, while the broth is served in separate bowls and shared, similar to khorkhog broth.
- Guriltai Shul
This is another Mongolian noodle dish. This noodle soup is made from meat. Usually, this dish uses a clear mutton broth and added vegetables. The noodles are of course handmade.
Guriltai shul has two main flavor profiles, namely the acidity of the yak milk curd and the umami of the meat. The goat meat used is a goat that is more than one year old. This soup is considered very nutritious, especially because of the use of vegetables, which are rare in Mongolia.
Like most Mongolian dishes, guriltal shul isn’t rich in spices, but this light soup still has a full flavor.
Mongolia, which is famous for Genghis Khan and its capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is very famous among travelers because of its uniqueness. This is also reflected in the food and the way it is cooked.
For those of you who like traveling and planning to visit Mongolia. Don’t forget to taste Mongolian specialties when you get there.