Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mongolian Cuisine

(above) My approximation of a Mongolian meal with frozen dumplings made in Atlanta, looseleaf jasmine tea from China, dumpling sauce from Taiwan, Japanese tea cup, grape tomatoes from the Bi-Lo, and plate from Pier 1.

My Mongolian meal was inspired by a photo from the book Material World by Peter Menzel. The photo, taken inside a gher (round tent, like a yurt) of a Mongalian family dinner consisting of Mongolian mom made dumplings and cherry tomatoes. Mine were not homemade but purchased at the local Asian grocery store, in the frozen food case. It should be noted that if you go to your local Asian grocery store and it appears that they do not have any frozen dumplings, you should ask. At the one closest to my house, the store is rather small and some frozen items are kept in freezers that do not have glass, so you probably wouldn't know they are there.

These Asian dumplings are ridiculously easy to make because all you have to do is add the dumplings to boiling water. When they float to the top, they are done.
I recommend dipping them in dumpling sauce which can also be found at your local Asian grocery in a small bottle, near the soy sauce section.

In Mongolia, boiled dumplings are known as "bansh." A typical ingredient in Mongolia would be mutton, as the diet of that country consists of lots of meat and not a lot of vegetables. Mine are vegetable, leek, and pork flavor, with the pork flavor being barely discernible. I've had better flavors in the past and this one will probably not be purchased again.

I personally have never been to Mongolia although I did once have a long discussion with a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent two years there. What I remember most from that conversation is that the typical Mongolian greeting is translated as "How is your body?" What a bummer to live in that country where I would spend most of my day saying "Still sagging, thanks. How's yours?"

Mongolian cuisine myths: Mongolian barbecue restaurants, fun though they may be, are not actually Mongolian. They are actually more similar to a Japanese style of cooking. Mongolian beef served in Western restaurants also has nothing to do with Mongolia.

I found this link to a site with lots of mongolian recipes:


JD at I Do Things said...

And now I need to go out and eat Chinese food, because that's the closest thing around here to Mongolian.

Those dumplings look fantastic. We have a huge Asian grocery store nearby; I'm going to have to check it out.

JD at I Do Things

Book Calendar said...

I really like dumplings with the light sweet soy sauce.

How has your graphic novel reading bean. Just stopping in to say hello.

DineometerDeb said...

Thanks for stopping by JD and Book.

I have slacked off on graphic novel reading. Couldn't make it through the highly touted City of Glass. Didn't get it.

scartoonist said...

When I was in my twenties, I lived in Chicago and had a job that required frequent travel. Although I almost always was supplied with free food and lodging by my hosts, I still got a per diem pay supplement.

I knew I would probably never live in a big city again, so I decided to take advantage of the varied restaurants and ate every possible food I could find, using the extra money. I think I miss Greek Town the most, with its cavernous dining rooms and taramosalata.

Your blog reminds me of those days. There are some fine restaurants in the small cities near here (upstate NY) but not Turkish or Nepalese or Argentine.

Very nice!

Ben *

Odosko said...

Hi all commentators! I am from Mongolia. If you wish to try real Mongolian food you must go to Mongolia. The restaurants in overseas, outside of Mongolia, that are name like "Mongolian Barbeque" or "Mongolian Hot Pot" are not real Mongolian food or cooking and therefore it is misleading and deceptive. Indead, barbeque is originated from Mongolia. It is just a stirred fried meat seasoned with salt and herb that are available in Mongolia. But these overseas restaurants add some other oriental ingredients, such as spices, sauces that are not Mongolian and call it Mongolian barbeque. Hot Pot is Chinese or Japanese style cooking and the cooking technique or tools are not known to any Mongolian.

DineometerDeb said...

This is so cool Odosko that you stopped by!!! I would LOVE to visit Mongolia and try the cuisine. But, unfortunately I can't afford alot of overseas travel right now so I live vicareously by attempting to recreate the country's dishes.

Thanks for stopping by!