This time in "Cuisine of the World," we show you how to make "Khuushuur," a dish from Mongolian cuisine. We visited the Mongolian court cuisine restaurant, "Notaga" in Ikebukuro, together with Seigo Iwamatsu, who was previously posted to Ulan Bator for Marubeni.
Mr. Iwamatsu recalls the people of Mongolia as having been very warm toward him. "When I went on business trips by car, if I stopped off at a Ger* because I was getting tired from travelling long distances, the people would give me tea. For them it seems to be a natural thing to show generous hospitality to people even when they meet them for the first time."
One of Mr. Iwamatsu’s most cherished memories from Mongolia was the festival which is held there once a year. The "Nadaam" Mongolian Games are held over 3 days during the short Mongolian summer and include Mongolian sumo wrestling, horse racing and archery. When he went and actually saw it for himself, Mr. Iwamatsu was overwhelmed by the event. "In the Mongolian sumo wrestling, over 500 people start fighting in different parts of the competition area, and according to the rules at that time, some fights went on for over 5 hours." While the shops were closed due to the festival, Mr. Iwamatsu ate "Khuushuur" to keep himself going. "You can buy them in kiosks or from street food stalls. Even my kids, who are not keen on mutton or lamb, used to eat them a lot because they do not have any of the usual sharp taste or smell of mutton. I think they are a flavor that suits the palate of Japanese people," he told us.
* Ger: a traditional tent of the nomadic people
Step 1: Add the flour to the water and knead well. Once you finish kneading, make the dough into a round ball and leave it to rest for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: Cut up the onions finely. Chop the mutton roughly to make pieces of about the size of large chunks of mince.
It will taste better if you cut up the mutton that is used for the filling yourself, rather than using pre-prepared mince.
Step 3: Break the dough into smaller pieces, and roll them flat until they form circular pieces about 15cm in diameter. They should be thicker than the skins used when making Chinese "Jiaozi" dumplings.
Step 4: Add grated ginger and salt to the ingredients you cut up in Step 2 and mix together well.
Step 5: Put the filling ingredients onto the rolled-out dough of the base and fold it into a crescent moon shape, pressing the edges closed, as you do when making Chinese "Jiaozi" dumplings.
Step 6: Fry them in vegetable oil. They should be ready to eat after about 4 minutes, once they have risen up and the surface has turned a golden brown color.
It is best if you can use sheep fat as the oil that is used to fry up the "Khuushuur," as this will produce a more authentic flavor. Sheep fat is also healthy, as it is not fattening.
The temperature when frying should be about the same as that used when cooking Japanese "Tempura"(170-180℃). The cooking time is slightly longer than that when cooking "Tempura," at about 4 minutes.
"Khuushuur" is a food very close to the hearts of the Mongolian people, and loved by everyone, no matter their age, from children to old people. It can be eaten as a snack when you feel a little hungry, but it can also be used as a staple food. The filling is made from mutton, which is the meat from sheep which are over 2 years old. "Khuushuur" taste good when eaten as they are on their own, but they are also exceptionally delicious when eaten together with soy sauce. They are also sometimes served with garnishing of salad made with potatoes or with Mongolian-style pickled cucumber.
From: “Shareholder’s guide Marubeni,” Vol.103 (published in November 2007)