If it turns to be that you are travelling in Mongolia in February, don't give a miss to Tsagaan Sar, a must-see during your stay. Depending on the Lunar calendar, it will occur early in the month, and be held for 3 days, for which the country will stop working to enjoy at best this well respected celebration. Many would say it is herald of spring; let me confirm this saying, since there has been lately a mild spell of temperatures. However, don't delude yourself (so do I), you've better keep yourself warm though. Never trusting Mongolian weather!
Let's get back to the celebration, the main and exclusive dish cooked during the event is the well-known Buuz, which is the Mongolian dumpling. Cooked by thousands in every families, it will be served to the numerous visitors for several days. It might seem exagerated, yet be aware each family usually expects around 40 visitors a day. Therefore everyone has better to get ready a while ago. Then weeks before, every family prepare between 1000/3000 buuz, and store them either in the freezer or outside, since the temperatures reach at least -20C.
Make yourself ready to fest for 3 days and enjoy these little dumplings.
For the curious ones here comes the recipe:
Prepare the dough:
250 g of flour
1 pinch of salt
150 ml of lukewarm water
Mix together flour, salt and water in a big bowl until getting a dough. Let the dough rest for at least 15minutes.
Prepare the mixture:
300 g minced of Beef or Mutton
(optional: a pinch of cumin)
Mix all of them together and add some water to make the filling more juicy.
Please note that meat can be replaced either by vegetables or even seafood.
Now comes the difficult part:
1. Cut the dough into thick slices. Roll them out into little circle and flatten them with the palm of your hands. Stretch the dough into 7cm
2. Fill the pastry with a tea spoon of the mixture and pinch the edges with your fingers
3. Steam them for 15 minutes. After cooking, fan them with the lid or newspaper to give them a glossy look.
Usually they are served by itself, but you can set a tomato sauce or even with Soja sauce.
During Tsagaan Sar, it is most likely that you get to eat lots of thnem. In fact, for each family visited, you'll be offered freshly cooked buuz. No escape! Expect to eat 30 of them within the day... nothing to be afraid of :)
Finally, we wish you bon appetit SAIHAN HOOLLOOROI.
Horseback Mongolia is a Franco-Mongol travel agency based in Ulaanbaatar since 2006. Between discovery of the country from every angle (landscapes, culture, lifestyle, activities, ..), comfort and authenticity, we strive to complete your journey to the heart of our homeland. Security, quality support and comfort are our main concerns.