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'Mongolian Tale / Close to Eden' Mongolian Recipes & Photos


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  • Image © 2006 Celeste Heiter
The basic philosophy of Mongolian cuisine is meat, meat, meat...except in the summers, when it's dairy, dairy, and more dairy. The Mongolian lifestyle is nomadic, and life on the vast steppes of Mongolia is harsh and demanding. Family life centers around the yurt, a large, round tent supported by strong wooden poles, vented at the top, with a hearth in the center of the interior for warmth and food preparation.

This 'Mongolian Tale/Close to Eden' meal features a simple, rustic menu of Buuz Dumplings, Noodle Soup with Lamb, Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Mongolian Mixed Grill with Leeks and Pan-Roasted Vegetables, and a simple Apple Crumble for dessert.

Scallion Pancakes

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
Oil for deep frying

Mix the flour and water into a smooth ball of dough. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large flat disk. Scatter 1/2 cup of the chopped scallions over the surface of the dough, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup for topping. Roll the dough, jelly-roll style, into a long roll. Slice the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a disk about 1/8" thick.

Pour enough cooking oil into a frying pan to fill it about 1/2" deep, and heat to frying temperature. To test, a tiny pinch of dough dropped into the oil should sizzle and float. To fry the scallion flatbreads, slide them one at a time into the sizzling oil. Fry until slightly puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning once. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Divide the feta cheese and remaining chopped scallions into 12 equal portions and sprinkle over each flatbread. Toast in the oven at 400 degrees until cheese is lightly melted. Serve hot. Makes 12 servings

Mongolian Dumplings

2 cups flour
1 cup water

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
Soy sauce for dipping

Mix the flour, water and salt into a smooth ball of dough. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a long cylinder. Slice the dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into individual disks about 1/8" thick.

For fried dumplings, place about 1 tablespoon of meat in the center of the disk of dough. Fold in half and pinch the edges to seal. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

For steamed dumplings, place about 1 tablespoon of meat in the center of each disk of dough. Pinch the edges of the dough together to form tiny pleats, shaping the dumpling into a small purse that resembles a bulb of garlic. Place on a steamer rack in a large kettle filled with 1" of water. Cover and steam for about 20 minutes, until tender.

Serve hot with soy sauce for dipping. Makes 24 dumplings.

Rustic Noodle Soup


1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

Mix the flour and water into a smooth ball of dough. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large flat sheet about 1/8" thick. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the dough into 1" strips, and then into 1" squares. Set aside until soup broth is ready.

Soup Broth

1 teaspoon oil
1/2 pound lamb, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 pound beef, cut into 1/2" cubes
6 cups water
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
Handmade noodles

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large soup kettle and stir-fry the meat until lightly browned. Add onions and garlic and stir-fry until tender. Add water and bring to a boil. Add chili garlic paste and soy sauce, stirring to blend. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, until meat is tender. Add noodles a few at a time, stirring to separate. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until noodles are soft and tender. Ladle into individual serving bowls. Serves 4 to 6.

Mongolian Grill

1 pound beef, thinly sliced
1 pound lamb, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (shao xing)
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combine soy sauce, rice wine, chili garlic paste and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add meat and marinate for 1 hour (or overnight in the refrigerator). Heat an electric grill, stovetop grill pan or outdoor grill and cook meat until just done, being careful not to overcook. Serve immediately.

Grilled Leeks

2 large leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil

Remove the root end and green tops of the leeks with a sharp knife, leaving only the white and pale green section. Rinse thoroughly under running water to remove any mud or grit. Cut the leeks into 2" pieces. Skewer the leek pieces onto a bamboo skewer. For easier handling, cut each skewer in half with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors or garden shears. Brush with olive oil. Heat an electric grill, stovetop grill pan or outdoor grill and cook leeks until tender, turning to lightly brown on each side. Serve hot or cold.

Pan Roasted Vegetables

4 large baking potatoes
4 large carrots
1 large onion
1/4 cup rendered fat or bacon drippings
Salt & pepper to taste

Wash and trim all vegetables. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Place in a roasting pan and toss with rendered fat or drippings. (Olive oil may be substituted for fat, although it will not yield the same savory effect.) Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender, about 40 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to coat with fat and ensure even browning. Salt and pepper to taste.

Apple Crumble

Crumble: 1 1/3 flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Cut in the butter at a little at a time, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

3 medium apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1" x 1/2" slices
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the apples in a large bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar and stir gently to mix.

Grease a shallow 8" ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom and sprinkle the crumble mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until the topping is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Published on 1/22/06

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Comments [4]

About the use of soy sauce in Mongolia

Contributor: cheiter [29,318] 12/13/08

1 of 2 people found this comment helpful.

Although this may be true of some Mongolian people, many of the Mongolian recipes I discovered in my research call for soy sauce, as well as a significant number of recipes in my Mongolian cookbook. So it's probably inacurate to say that Mongolians never use soy sauce, and that all Mongolians hate the Chinese.

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Contributor: solchitlins [27] 11/25/08

1 of 1 people found this comment helpful.

Buuz, pronounced boats is pretty much the only thing found in the freezer section of the food store,
The only package I say in english read: Mutton, Camel Spine, salt, flour, water and other species, I prayed that was a misprint and ment spices.
The Mongolians put cubes of fat in all their food, they love it!
I ate my boats with holsin sauce, very tasty, but the Mongolians thought I was nasty for doing that.

Any questions on Mongolian cuisine email me:

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