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TASTE OF MONGOLIA; AN EXEMPLARY MELTING POT OF CUISINE

LifestyleTASTE OF MONGOLIA; AN EXEMPLARY MELTING POT OF CUISINE

Mongolia is a land of vast, unspoiled wilderness, for a long term known as the ‘end of the earth’. A country where 30% of the population live in nomadic tribes, from the mountains of the north to the Gobi Desert’s “Singing Sands” in the south. Mongolian foods are simple and full of variety of meat that includes mutton, beef, camel, horse, sheep even marmot. There is some Mongolian cuisine accompanied including meat with vegetables, noodles, rice’s and pasta. People mainly eat sheep and goat meat but not much beef, camel, pork and horse meat.

Mongolian people consume a lot of milk tea, wild fruit juice and home-made alcohol drinks. A variety of dairy products are bread and butter for breakfast and snacks throughout the day. For breakfast and lunch, locals always have pastry and fried bread. Mongolian cuisine predominantly consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. The most common rural dish is cooked mutton. In the city, steamed dumplings filled with meat—”buuz”— are popular.

Mongolian cuisine can be found in China’s Mongol Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia and in other northern Chinese provinces, as far east as Beijing. Mongolian cuisine is mainly derived from the traditions of ethnic Mongols. It is a blend of their nomadic diet and influences from northern China and Russia. Mongolian cuisine is characterized by a variety of meat, including beef, mutton, deer, ostrich almost all kinds of meat on the grasslands, mixing with Mongolian characteristics of seasoning spices, the unique cooking method makes beef more unique in flavor. Shamanistic Mongols worship the good 55 heavens once a year by worshipping a sacred mountain or an Ovoo. During the ceremony of Ovoo worship, shamans offer fire and food to the spirits of the mountains and of the waters. Once a year shamans perform a special ritual to abuse the bad heavens.

Here are a few popular recipes from the cuisine of Mongolia for us to relish:

Recipe-1] Mongolian Bansh – Dumplings

Ingredients:

Flour – 250 gms

Water – 150 ml approx.

Ground meat or lamb -500 gms

Onions- 2 small chopped

Garlic cloves- fine chopped-2-3 pieces

Salt to taste

Pepper powder to taste

Curry powder -1 to 2 tsp

Method:

  1. Add the meat, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to a bowl.
  2. The goal of the mixture is to create a smooth paste. Add just enough water to make the mixture smooth.

3.Add enough water to the flour until it becomes malleable. Knead for several minutes until the dough is pliable.

  1. Shape the dough into a bread loaf shape. When done, rest the dough for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls and roll each out until round (you can also use a round cutter to make perfect circles).

To prepare the dumplings:

  1. Get one round of dough and add 1 teaspoon or a dollop of the filling into the centre of the dough.
  2. Fold the circle in half and press the edges together.
  3. When pressing the edges, try to make it form like braids.
  4. Repeat the process for the rest of the dough.
  5. To cook the dumplings, boil water on a deep pan or pot with a pinch or two of salt.
  6. Once the water has boiled, put the Bansh carefully on the boiling water.
  7. Let the Bansh sink to the bottom of the pan and boil them for 10 minutes.
  8. You will know when the Bansh is ready when they all rise to the surface.
  9. Serve it hot with any sauce of your preference or add some vegetables on the side.

Recipe-2] Mongolian Style Tsuvian – Stir Fried Noodles

Ingredients:

For the home-made noodles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

1 cup water

Vegetable oil for rolling and cooking

For the stir frying of the noodles:

 onion peeled and thinly sliced-1 no

 Mutton or chicken- 250gms, cut into strips

Salt and pepper to taste

 carrots cut into matchsticks- 2 no

potato peeled and cut into matchsticks-1 no

 green cabbage thinly sliced-1 cup

cloves garlic peeled and minced- 2-3 no

water or stock-1 cup

spring green onions thinly sliced- 2-3 no

Method

To make the noodles:

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the water and mix to combine and form a dough.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough well until smooth and elastic. If too sticky to handle, add a little more flour. If too crumbly, add a little water. Cover with an inverted bowl or wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Divide the rested dough into 4 equal pieces. Cover three of the pieces and place one on a lightly floured surface. Roll the piece of dough into a thin sheet, making sure the bottom does not stick to the surface.
  4. Grease the top of the sheet with about 1 tablespoon of oil- making sure all parts are covered. Loosely roll the sheet up, long side to long side. Using a sharp knife, quickly cut the roll into strips about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) wide. Gently shake the strips loose with your fingers to separate and place on a greased baking sheet or other surface. Repeat with remaining dough.

To prepare the Tsuvian- stir fried noodles:

  1. Place a large pan over medium heat and drizzle with about a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add the sliced onions and cook, stirring often, until softened.
  2. Stir in the meat, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides. Add the carrots, potatoes, cabbage if using, and garlic. Cook until starting to soften.
  3. Pour the water into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and arrange the sliced noodles around the top, leaving a hole in the center. Drizzle the tops of the noodles evenly with about 1 tablespoon oil. Cover tightly with a lid and steam the noodles until cooked through, about 15 minutes. If the water has evaporated before the noodles are finished cooking, pour in a little more water.
  4. Once cooked, remove the lid and gently fan the noodles using a paper fan, the pot lid, or even a cutting board to help dry out the top layer. Use a fork to gently fluff and separate the noodles, then lightly toss all the ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately topped with the green onions

Recipe-3] Mongolian Style Lamb Stir Fry

Ingredients:

For the marination:

Boneless shoulder of lamb- 400 gms, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Chinese soy sauce- 1-2 tsp

Garlic-2 tsp minced

Chinese wine-2-3 tsp or red wine- 45 ml

Cornflour- ½ cup

Baking powder-1/4 tsp

Oil- 2-3 tbsp.

Apply all the above to the shredded lamb, keep aside.

For the stir fry sauce to go with the lamb:

Oil- 2-3 tbsp.

Garlic- 2-3 tsp chopped

Onion- 1 small chopped

Slit red chilies-2-3 no

Spring onions- 2-3 sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Soy sauce- 2-3 tsp

Red chili sauce- 2-3 tsp

Hot garlic sauce-2-3 tsp

Water/stock as needed

Cornflour and water solution for thickening- 2-3 tbsp.

Star anise-2-3 no

White vinegar-1 tsp

Method:

  1. Prepare the lamb as instructed above and apply the marination on the same and keep aside for 20-25 mins.
  2. To start with the cooking process for the lamb stir fry, choose a thick bottomed pan or skillet and heat up the oil, add in the star anise and chilies, onions, garlic and saute for a few seconds.
  3. Add in the marinated lamb and give it a nice stir, add in some wine if desired. Add in some stock or water and allow the lamb to cook for a few mins. Now add in the seasonings, sauces and give it all a nice mix.
  4. Allow the lamb to cook up well to the desired cooking stage and thicken up the sauce a little using cornflour and water solution. Dish out the stir fried lamb and garnish with fresh spring onions their greens and some sliced celery etc and serve it hot with steamed rice.

 

Recipe-4] Gambir- Mongolian Style Fried Pancakes

Ingredients:

Refined flour- 250 gms

Salt- 1 pinch

Water- 150 ml approx.

Grain white sugar- 4-5 tsp

Oil/ fat for frying as needed

Method:

  1. Knead pliable dough with water and flour. Leave it aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 3-4 parts, to process individually, Roll one part into a thin sheet.
  3. Drizzle drops of oil or melted butter on it, Sprinkle a little sugar over the surface.
  4. Wrap up the sheet into a long roll and press it into a compact heap, so that the oil and sugar can equally be distributed, Flatten it again with the rolling pin. Make parallel cuts near the center with a knife.

5.Heat oil and fry on both sides over medium heat, Repeat with other dough portions.

Recipe-5] FISH CURRY MONGOLIAN STYLE

Ingredients:

Fleshy variety of fish of your choice- 500-750 gms, cubes

For the curry:

Oil- 3-4 tbsp.

Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp

Fenugreek seeds- ½ tsp

Onion- 1 small chopped

Ginger- 1 tsp, chopped

Garlic- 1 tsp, chopped

Onion-1 small, chopped

Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp

Chili powder-1/2 tsp

Coriander powder-1 tsp

Salt to taste

Tomatoes- 1 cup puree

Red chili paste-1-2 tsp

Seafood/ fish stock- 2-3 cups

Tamarind pulp-1/2 cup

Coconut cream- 1 and a half cup

Coriander leaves- 2-3 tbsp. chopped

Lime juice- 2 tsp

Fried red chilies- 2-3 garnish.

Method:

  1. Prepare the fish and keep aside. Apply a little salt on the fish cubes and allow to chill and rest for 20 mins.
  2. To start the cooking process, heat oil in a pan add in the seeds allow them to crackle for a few seconds. Add in the garlic, ginger, onions and saute them until light pink in color, add little stock or water during the process as needed.
  3. Now add in the tomato puree or chopped tomatoes, salt and powdered spices and allow them all to blend well, cook the masala mixture on a low flame for 3-4 mins, add little stock.
  4. Add in the fish pieces and lightly coat them with the masala and add ½ cup fish stock, simmer cover and cook fish for 2-3 mins.
  5. Now add in the coconut cream/milk and stir in well to get a nice creamy texture for the curry, simmer for another 2-3 mins. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  6. Serve the fish curry piping hot garnished with fried red chilies and add in a splash of lime juice and enjoy it with steamed white rice.

Recipe-6] MONGOLIAN FRIED RICE

Ingredients:

Boiled white rice- 2 cups

Oil- 2 tbsp.

Butter- 1 tsp

White sesame seeds- 2 tsp

Ginger-1 tsp chopped

Garlic-1 tsp chopped

Spring onions- 3-4 chopped

Spring onion greens-1/2 cup chopped

Red chili paste-1/2 cup cooked

Red chili sauce-2-3 tsp

Tomato ketchup-1-2 tsp

Soy sauce-1-2 tsp

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Water/stock-1/2 cup

Boiled shredded chicken-1 cup

Beansprouts- 1 cup

Sliced mushrooms- 1 cup

Broccoli/ zucchini/ Babycorn/ beans-1 cup assorted, blanched

White vinegar-1-2 tsp

Fried red chilies- 2-3 for garnish

Eggs- 2-3 no

Method:

  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the rice recipe
  2. Boil the rice, allow to cool completely.
  3. To start cooking, heat oil in a wok or pan add in the white sesame seeds, the garlic, ginger, onions and saute.
  4. Add in the veggies of your choice, salt, pepper, little stock and allow to cook for 2-3 mins.
  5. Add in the chili paste, sauces and mix well. Cook the mixture for 2-3 mins. Add in the chicken and boiled rice and give it all a nice stir.
  6. Finally check for seasonings, adjust as needed, add in the egg in the form of scrambled eggs/ double fried egg shredded and placed on top or also can be like a half fry egg which can be placed while serving.

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BRIEF ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. KAVIRAJ KHIALANI – CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF IS A MUMBAI-BASED FOOD & HOSPITALITY CONSULTANT. HE HAS WORKED WITH ESTEEMED BRANDS LIKE THE TAJ GROUP OF HOTELS, KUWAIT AIRWAYS AND MANY MORE. BESIDES HAVING SPECIALISED IN OVER 33 PLUS INTERNATIONAL CUISINES CHEF KAVIRAJ IS A RENOWNED NAME IN THE WORLD OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. HE HAS ALSO BEEN FEATURED ON STAR PLUS & COLORS TELEVISION. AN AWARDEE OF THE BHARAT VIDYA RATAN AWARD, BEST CHEF ASIA AWARD AND MANY MORE ACCOLADES MAKE HIM ONE OF THE ICONIC NAMES IN THE CULINARY WORLD.

 

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