Introduction: Mongolian Cuisine
Mongolian cuisine is known for its hearty and meat-based dishes, such as buuz (steamed dumplings), khuushuur (fried meat pies), and khorkhog (barbequed lamb). However, when it comes to desserts, Mongolian cuisine is not as well-known. Despite this, Mongolian desserts do exist, and they are delicious!
Mongolian Desserts: An Overview
Mongolian desserts are simple and usually made with readily available ingredients, such as flour, sugar, dairy, and fruits. They are not as sweet as Western desserts and often incorporate savory elements. Traditionally, Mongolian desserts were eaten on special occasions, such as weddings, festivals, and religious ceremonies. Nowadays, Mongolian desserts are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike in restaurants, cafes, and at home.
Popular Ingredients in Mongolian Desserts
Mongolian desserts often incorporate dairy products, such as milk, cream, butter, and yogurt. Flour, both wheat, and rice, is also a common ingredient and is used to make doughs, cakes, and pastries. Fruits, such as apples, berries, and grapes, are used in jams, jellies, and fruit compotes. Nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, are used in cakes and pastries to add texture and flavor. Other ingredients include honey, sugar, eggs, and spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
Top 3 Mongolian Desserts You Must Try
- Boortsog: Boortsog is a fried pastry that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is made with flour, butter, sugar, and milk. Boortsog is often served as a snack with tea or coffee.
- Tsagaan Sar Khuushuur: Tsagaan Sar Khuushuur is a meat pie that is traditionally served during the Lunar New Year celebration. It is made with minced lamb or beef, onions, and spices. The pie is fried until crispy and served hot.
- Mongolian Yogurt: Mongolian yogurt, also known as tarag, is a thick, tangy yogurt that is similar to Greek yogurt. It is made from cow’s milk and is often served with honey or jam as a dessert or snack.
Traditional Mongolian Sweet Treats
In addition to the above desserts, Mongolian cuisine has several sweet treats that are unique to the country. These include:
- Aaruul: Aaruul is a dried curd snack that is made by drying fermented milk curds. It is slightly sour and has a chewy texture. Aaruul is often eaten as a snack or used in cooking.
- Bortsok: Bortsok is a sweet fried pastry that is similar to boortsog but is made with sugar and flavored with anise or caraway seeds.
- Guriltai Shul: Guriltai Shul is a sweet rice porridge that is made with milk, sugar, rice, and raisins. It is often served as a dessert or breakfast dish.
Modern Twists on Mongolian Desserts
As Mongolia becomes more connected to the global food scene, modern twists on traditional Mongolian desserts are emerging. For example, some restaurants are experimenting with fusion desserts that combine Mongolian flavors with Western or Asian ingredients. Other chefs are experimenting with different techniques and presentations, such as incorporating molecular gastronomy or creating dessert platters that showcase a variety of Mongolian sweets. Despite these innovations, traditional Mongolian desserts remain popular and are a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage.