All posts filed under: Mongolia

Western Mongolia. Photo by tiarescott.

Monday Meal Review: Mongolia

THE SCENE This week my brain is stuck on Mongolian nomads. I am obsessed. While I sip my hot, salty tea I think of their fierce loyalty in brutal winters. While I nibble the tangy carrot slaw, I imagine how hard it must be to move five times a year – so often that you cannot keep a veggie patch. So often that even a basic carrot salad would be a major treat, normally reserved for city folk. I take so much for granted. But what really hit home is how these nomads (who live so many places) are never homeless. Never alone. When something (good or bad) happens in their lives, nomads from other Gers (the portable homes they live in) show up to help. They come out of nowhere, from miles away. From over the hills. Through the vast emptiness. And they chip in to help however they can. While it can seem like each family unit is isolated in nothing but a giant expanse of blue sky and crusty grass, nothing could be farther than …

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Mongolian Carrot Salad

In Mongolia, the seemingly endless parade of meat, meat, and more meat, is only occasionally interrupted by vegetables. And, even then, relief doesn’t come with a garden salad, but rather some combination of root vegetables. This is because there really isn’t a whole lot of good farmland in the giant, cold, central Asian country – only the hardiest specimens make it. In the big city, versions of this simple carrot salad can be found, either dressed in a vinaigrette (as I have done) or in a mayonnaise/sour cream based dressing. So head to the market with me, and let’s stove top travel over to Mongolia! (Can you find the carrots in this picture?) Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 1 lb carrots, grated or julienned (on a mandolin is easiest) 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water For the dressing: 1 large clove of garlic, grated 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar salt & pepper, to taste (be sure to use plenty of salt to bring out the flavors) Method: After picking up some …

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Mongolian Millet & Green Milk Tea | Suutei Tsai

  If tea time in your home means sweet, sugary cups of deliciousness, think again. This week we’re sipping on salty, milky green tea cooked with buttery toasted millet. This is one of the more elaborate versions of Suutei Tsai – a famous Mongolian drink enjoyed out on the cold steppes. Each sip tastes of milk and salt and cereal – but the drink also has a remarkable drying effect in the mouth, thanks to a healthy dose of naturally astringent green tea. This is absolutely the strangest tea I have ever sipped. But Suutei Tsai is also delightful – it just begs to be sipped under the starlight on a frosty winter evening. Or perhaps on a chilly spring day, while watching wild horses gallop through the horizon. Everything written about Suutei Tsai claims that westerners have trouble enjoying this drink. I find, however, that if you go into it expecting hot, milky cereal you’ll be alright. In other words, don’t expect sweet tea. Just forget about sugar entirely. And pass the salt. httpv:// …

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Menu: Mongolia

Don’t look for bad things in the good that you do. { Mongolian Proverb } I know what some of you are thinking right this very moment: “Mongolia… what on earth is she going to make from Mongolia that I’d like?”  I know because that’s what my very own Mr. Picky said moments before I presented this simple menu. Cooking him meat would have been too easy. He’d automatically love it. Instead, I went with a vegan carrot salad (what!) and an amazing salty green tea. I wanted to give him something to really think about. I want to make sure this Adventure stays a challenge for his picky sensibilities (although, as usual, both recipes are easy to make and don’t require super strange ingredients). What sounds good to you?* Mongolian Carrot Salad [Recipe] Thinly sliced carrots and raisins, tossed with a simple, garlicky vinaigrette. This would be fantastic on the side of any grilled meat. Mongolian Millet & Green Milk Tea (Suutei Tsai) [Recipe] Buttery toasted millet cooked in milky, salty green tea.  A note …

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Monastery in Mongolia. Photo by Bouette.

About the food in Mongolia

After the hot, sweaty day I had yesterday, a little stove top travel to the central Asian country called Mongolia is a welcome retreat. Even though the Gobi desert sprawls through southern Mongolia, she is best known for her long, cold winters (especially in the the mountainous north and on the dry, grassy steppes, where temperatures can dip way into – 40 F). Very little grows in dry, chilly Mongolia, but that’s okay. Instead, people rely on an intensely meaty diet. And for good reason – 30% of Mongolia’s population breed livestock (the same number who live a nomadic life). With a lifestyle constantly on the go, the food has to fit in when it can. There’s no slowing down. Nomads move about 5 times a year, generally with the changing seasons. Just about any meat is fair game – the fattier, the better. After all, a diet rich in fat helps keep the body warm in freezing temperatures. Andrew Zimmern pointed out tons of grisly, fatty meats enjoyed in all manner of brothy soups, …

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