Something that Mongolians like to eat a lot is meat. Mostly sheep, cow and goat but also common meat here is camel and horse. A little background story on meat, when we first arrive here I went shopping with some friends, who knew the language more than I did. As I was at a butcher, I asked for a roast of beef. My friend translated, helped me order in kilos and I paid and walked away. As I walked away, my friend was stopped by the butcher and said something. They had given me horse meat. Having already paid and being worn out from the shopping already I decided to make the best of it and take it home. I made a slow cooked stew- and it actually ended up alright, but I have made sure to never again knowingly buy anything except beef. So, all that to say, meat is very important to the locals, both for livelihood and for eating. I read an article once that said livestock in Mongolia outnumber humans 15:1. It may have changed since then, but still meat is the staple food. After meat, is “white foods” which are a variety of curds, cheese, fermented curds and yogurt. Upon my observation I would say the next most important aspect of the diet is flour product. Whether it’s bread, noodles or used for wrapping meat in for cooking.
Now that some of you may have lost your appetite (which I hope you haven’t), let me preface my recipe by saying, it tastes good, my kids eat it, and it’s flavorful. Think “fried taco without the fixings” and you’ve almost got it.
I make my recipe for this a bit different than what would be found in this land, so if you were to make this recipe and then visit, it would probably look the same, but taste different. In the traditional writing it is written as хуушуур, which sounds like huushuur with a strong ‘kh’ at the beginning.
1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 TBSP Soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black ground pepper
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
Mix the spices with the meat and set aside.
Next, in a separate bowl mix
2 cups Flour
1/2-1 cup water
Dash of salt
Place flour in the bowl, Gradually add water and blend until all flour is incorporated. You want to make a soft dough that is pliable in your hands, but not sticky.
Then form the dough into a ball and roll into a long tube shape. Cut into about 15-16 smaller balls.
Next begin heating a large pan with oil about 1-2 inches deep. Try to use a lighter oil like Soybean, Canola or vegetable oil.
On a flat clean surface begin rolling out each ball of dough into a very thin circle. If you start with the outside edges and roll out a little at a time it usually works well. Each circle should end up a little bigger than the palm of a hand.
Next spoon a small amount of meat mixture into the dough. Don’t put too much or it won’t be able to close right.
Fold in half to make a half circle and tightly pinch the edges to seal. You want to make a good seal so the meat will not seep out when cooking. You can use water on you fingers to help. I fold them over a little bit to create a good seal.
Place a few at a time in the hot oil. (Watch for splatters of hot oil as the meat cooks, make sure your kitchen is also well ventilated, those tips are from experience.)
Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. (if it’s browning faster than that turn down the heat). Drain on paper towels.
In our home we usually serve them with Salsa but, I’ve seen them eaten with kimchee or soy sauce or other sauces of choice. Enjoy!