Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mongolian Food Recipes

Buuz - Mongolian Steamed Meat Dumplings. Photo taken during Tsagaan Sar this year. There are a few websites with recipes on how to make Mongolian dishes: the authentic Mongolian food, not the grill-buffet fiction you get at "Mongolian" restaurants outside of Mongolia.

One has to hand it to the copywriters employed to do the marketing copy for these restaurants. Below is an excerpt from a well-known US-based "Mongolian BBQ" restaurant's website:

Centuries ago in the province of Mongolia, the Mighty Khan's hunting parties would camp on the banks of the great river Khan-Balik. After days devoted entirely to hunting, they would gather in droves to celebrate their successes. Communing in banquet style pavilions, the Mongols would prepare slivers of meat and vegetables by slicing them with their razor sharp swords. They would then cook their food by searing it on their overturned shields that were heated by a blazing fire. The Kublai Khan and his fiercest warriors would sit high above the hordes, and enjoy the same food prepared for him on a large, roaring hot griddle.

Now stop to imagine this scene: Mongol warriors, covered in battle dust and blood, slicing meat and vegetables with their bloodied swords and to add even more delicious human blood'n'sweat flavour to their meals, they proceed to cook their dinner on their overturned shields, thus rendering their shields unusable. Perhaps drinking the barbecue-juice as it drips through the arrow-holes in their shields. All of this in a "banquet-style pavilion".

What kind of disgusting, inappropriate people do they think Mongols were? On a second thought, I take my first statement back. There's nothing to hand to the copywriter of this particular blurb except a grease-covered, soot-blackened overturned shield to the face. Who in the right mind and proper taste would have an appetite for a buffet with this image in mind? And what do they mean by 'in the "province" of Mongolia'? It was the second-largest land empire in the history of the world, they call it a "province"? Not the mention the fact that "The Mighty Khan" sounds something out of the Jungle Book or a Disney cartoon.

I realize that Mongolian food itself is packed with free-range, strong and fatty meat, which most foreigners can't digest very well. Our milk gives them diarrhea, because it's simply boiled after it comes from the pasture, leaving the delicious creamy taste in. Hard to compare that to the watered down carton milk one gets in supermarkets of developed countries.

Rambled on for a bit. Go here if you want to get some recipes to Mongolian dishes