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Mongolia – Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Mongolian Cuisine History Edit

The Mongolian cuisine is not one of the cuisines that is known world wide, and more than that, it has a bad reputation, because of the low number of ingredients that are used.

Most of the Mongolian dishes are based on mutton, yak milk and even horse milk. The mutton is either boiled, filled with various ingredients, stewed, cooked with oil and flour or prepared with noodles. It represents the national dish of Mongolia, but it is rarely appreciated by the tourists, because of its smell. Most of those who have visited Mongolia criticize the odor of this food for many weeks, after the visit has ended. However, this food helps the roaming Mongols to survive the cold climate of their country, during the winters. It contains fat and proteins, which are essential for this fact. In Mongolia, spices are used in low quantities and sometimes, the dishes may lack the condiments.

Besides yak and horse milk, there are other Mongolian beverages that are important. The dried milk curd is sometimes served along with mutton based dishes. The milk is also used to prepare the two best known Mongolian alcoholic drinks. Nermalike, is similar to vodka and it is extracted from yoghurt. Airag is prepared from horse milk, through fermentation. Also, non-alcoholic drinks are consumed in this country. The most important beverage of this kind is suutei tsai. This is a tea made from hot water, butter, rice, high quantities of salt, yak milk and tea. The Mongolians believe that this drink helps the digestion and they consume it before the meals.

In addition to the mutton dishes, one can choose foods based on horsemeat, which has a greater popularity in the Western parts of the country. Marmot is also consumed and the games that were organized in order to catch these animals have a long history. The vegetables are rarely used in the Mongolian dishes. The greens cannot be cropped, due to the cruel climatic conditions.

The Guanz are the places located in the main cities where foods are served. Here, the workers can eat foods at low prices. The Mongolians eat the most food at breakfast and at lunch. The dishes that are served at these meals are in the most cases the traditional foods.

Cuisines of Mongolia Edit

Map of Mongolia

Map of Mongolia- Click to enlarge

The Mongolian cuisine is overall characterized by simplicity. This fact was determined by the low number of the ingredients that are used when preparing Mongolian dishes. Also, the small variety of the ingredients is a consequence of the climatic conditions of the country. Because of the hard and long winters, Mongolians cannot crop many vegetables and their meals are mostly based on meats - mutton, marmot and horsemeat predominate.

The Mongolian cuisines does not differ much from one region to another, across the country. However, the dishes that are prepared in the Inner Mongolia are believed to be better than those who are cooked in the Northern part of the country.

Buuz is a traditional style of folded dumplings, shaped in hot oil.

Preparation Methods for Mongolian Cooking Edit

The Mongolian cooking methods did not develop very much, in time. Of course, at the beginning, Mongolians even used to consume raw meat. The next stage of the Mongolian cuisine presented warriors that fried the meat and the greens on their shields which were placed over the fire. This is a fact that nowadays does not apply on the Mongolian cuisine anymore. The preparation techniques that are utilized in Mongolia recently are though rudimentary. Many ingredients are either boiled, steamed or cooked under pressure. Meat is sometimes cut in slices and put on skewers. Other times. it is grilled.

However, one of the cooking techniques that prevailed through centuries is rock cooking. Stones are placed inside animals in order to prepare them faster and to maximize the temperature. Another way refers to placing hot stones in hermetic metal bowls that contain the meat. It must be appreciated that the Mongolians tried to diversify their cuisine by using more techniques while the number of the ingredients is very small.

Special Equipment for Mongolian Cooking Edit

Mongolians, besides having special preparation manners, also have special cooking tools. Most of them are used for preparing the meat dishes. Some are not typical to Mongolia, but have been inherited from the other Asian countries. As evidence stands the wok. Also, long knives that might be similar to swords are used in the Mongolian cuisine.

However, here are a few kitchen utensils you might want to use:

  • Skewers
  • Wok

The so called "Mongolian Hot Pot" is almost completely unknown in Mongolia today, even though some sources think it was originally invented in the area.

Mongolian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Mongolia is a poor country, when referring to the food festivals and traditions. The most important event that takes places in this country is named Tsagaan Sar, which is organized in order to celebrate the lunar new year. Many times the Mongolians have disagreed the fact that they, and furthermore, their traditions might have Chinese roots. This event is a good occasion for the Mongolians to show the national dishes. There are also rituals that are related to this festival. For example, in the third day of this event, a shamanistic sacrifice takes place. The festival is believed to be connected to both shamanism and lamaism.

People in Mongolian Food Edit

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More Mongolian information Edit

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