Mongolia is a breathtaking country in Central Asia. Completely landlocked, it has been home to nomadic cultures since time immemorial.
Mongolian cuisine is something very different from Western cuisine – and yet it has inspired so many dishes that you can find all around the world!
If you’re interested in learning more about Mongolian cuisine, then great news! We’ve compiled a list of the 25 best recipes – each of which will give you the taste of the steppe, or at least something inspired by it!
Buuz are absolutely delicious filled dough pockets, stuffed with meat and onion. They’re such a great food to make and eat, as not only are they extremely filling and hearty, with a great flavor, but they can be a lot of fun to cook too!
This is because there are a few different ways that you can fold and crimp the pastry – some requiring more skill and dexterity than others. There are a lot of fantastic and attractive ways that you can show off your pastry skills when making buuz!
If you’re a vegan, you might well feel a little left out with all of the meat based dishes on this list. Well, there are still some delicious recipes for those who don’t use animal products – such as this fantastic idea for seitan in a Mongolian beef inspired sauce!
You can make the seitan yourself (there’s a handy link to a way to make it in this recipe!), or you can use store bought to save yourself time and effort. Either way, it’s the delicious collection of spices and flavors that are the real stars of the show here!
Budaatai khuurga is a really traditional and great tasting Mongolian dish that’s made with shredded meat (usually lamb or beef) with delicious vegetables and rice.
Of course, as it’s a Mongolian food, you know that it’s probably going to be a hearty, filling dish – perfect for setting you up (or helping you recover from) a long, hard day!
A list of Mongolian foods wouldn’t be complete without a recipe for Mongolian beef – even if the dish called Mongolian beef isn’t actually Mongolian! You see (as the author of the recipe declares), despite the name, this dish likely doesn’t actually originate from Mongolia at all!
However, if you came here looking for a great recipe for Mongolian beef anyway, you’re in luck, because this one is amazing. It tastes fantastic, and whether it’s actually Mongolian or not, you’ll still love every mouthful!
Guriltal shul is a really delicious and hearty noodle soup made from either mutton or beef. So, sadly, not one for vegetarians or vegans – but omnivores will love how delicious and simple this meal is.
Aside from the meat, you’ll use potatoes and onions in this dish, as well as a turnip and a carrot. You don’t need to do much preparation either – simply cut your meat into strips, and dice your turnip, onions, and carrot. Fry your meat, cook your vegetables and noodles, and you’ve got a really simple meal that can feed up to four people!
This is another fantastic way to make yourself a sumptuous Mongolian beef meal at home! It’s actually really easy to make too, involving just a few ingredients and barely half an hour total to make from scratch!
You’ll need a pound of beef flank steak for this recipe, sliced around a quarter of an inch thick. You’ll flavor it with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and serve with green onions. It’s simple, takes little time to make, and tastes absolutely fantastic!
It’s probably safe to say that most cultures across the globe have a way of making some sort of pancake! Gambir is the Mongolian pancake.
This recipe will make a crepe-like pancake, that’s sweet enough to eat on its own, but can of course be topped or filled with anything delicious that you like!
You’ll find these to be so easy to make. You only need some flour and water to make the dough – and in fact, the author of the recipe mentions that gambir are often made to use leftover dough from other dishes.
Cookies are one of those delicious sweet treats that exist in some form or another in practically every place on the planet! Mongolia of course has its own famous butter cookies – although, just as the author of this recipe says, they’re more like fried dough than the sort of cookie that you might be used to.
They are absolutely amazing to eat, and go perfectly with Mongolian tea! You can make them with just flour, butter, water, sugar, and salt too – they’re so easy as well as being so delicious!
Fans of Mongolian beef absolutely love the flavor, of course. Well, what if you could have a very similar experience to Mongolian beef – but with chicken instead? That’s exactly what you’ll get with this amazing recipe!
It’s rich and decadent, and the best part – it’s one of the quickest recipes you’ll find anywhere! You’ll be in and out of the kitchen in just 15 minutes from start to finish – and you’ll only spend 5 minutes actually even cooking!
Dumplings are a seemingly universal food, so of course there’s a Mongolian style of dumpling! They’re called bansh, and like so much Mongolian food they’re a meat-eater’s delight. This recipe calls for a pound of either ground beef or lamb!
Of course, you won’t want to forget about the simple yet fantastic flavorings you’ll use in this recipe too – onion, garlic, caraway, curry powder, and the obligatory salt and pepper too. They’re simple enough to make, and this recipe will even show you how to make the perfect dough for these dumplings.
Khuushuur are amazing fried pockets of meat-filled dough, with a flavor and heartiness that comes straight from the steppe. They’re so simple to make, and quick too – but they’re also so filling!
This recipe will make 15 of these fantastic little pockets, and you’ll use a pound of ground beef to make them. Add one minced onion, one minced garlic clove, and some salt and pepper, and you’ve got everything you need for a simple yet tasty filling.
You’ll find the dough easy to make too – just slowly mix water into your flour until you get the right consistency!
Although this isn’t an authentic Mongolian dish, it’s still absolutely delicious! It’s actually, according to the author of this recipe, a Chinese-Australian dish that’s sold in so many Australian takeout joints.
It’s not simply a version of Mongolian beef with lamb substituted in, either – this is it’s very own recipe, with it’s very own set of flavors!
You’ll learn everything you need to know in this recipe, including making your own absolutely delicious marinade, sauce, and stir fry to accompany the delicious lamb!
A real, authentic Mongolian cooking tradition, khorkhog is a way of cooking meat and vegetables in a BBQ fashion – but one that comes from the needs of the inhabitants of the steppe.
There’s nothing fancy here – mutton, vegetables, caraway, salt, and pepper. The way of cooking is obviously great for a nomadic lifestyle, as you’ll just need around 20 round and smooth stones to hold all of the heat – weight that you can leave behind when moving on!
Make sure not to use stones from near a riverbed or lake if cooking khorkhog, as water can often be absorbed into these stones. Even a small amount can make a stone explode when it’s put to the heat!
Although Mongolia might be a landlocked country with little use of seafood in its culinary output, there are still plenty of recipes out there that have taken the name of the country and applied them to fish dishes.
Most of them actually seem to have roots in neighboring China, such as this fantastic tasting recipe for delicious cooked shrimp, flavored with finger, garlic, soy sauce, and flakes of red pepper.
This cup of tea is going to be so different from pretty much any tea that you’ve ever tried before! The author of this recipe recommends that you forget about drinking tea, but expect something closer to a hot, milky cereal.
It might be an acquired taste for westerners, but as it’s so easy to make, it’s one you’ll have no trouble at least trying to acquire!
Now this is a really authentic Mongolian dish. The author says that it’s the Mongolian dish with the lowest fat content – but it’s still an extremely stout and hearty meal!
All you’ll need is flour, water, meat, an onion, and some salt and spices of your choice. This soup is actually meant to be served with lumps of flour, so don’t feel as if you have to stir them out entirely – they’re meant to be there.
This is one of the easiest desserts that you could make – the hardest part is cooking the rice! Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is add some milk and sugar to the rice, and heat it until it thickens up a bit.
Add your walnuts and raisins (with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste), and you’re done! It really is that easy, so why not try it out for yourself?
Kashk isn’t actually the Mongolian name for this – in Mongolia, it’s known as qurut, or khuruud. However, kashk is another common term for essentially the same thing!
Whatever you call it, this recipe will allow you to get something close to a traditional Central Asian yogurt, made in your own home. You’ll start with store bought yogurt to save a lot of time and effort- as making your own from scratch at home is quite a bit of a job!
Aside from yogurt, you’ll only need cold water and some kosher salt for this recipe – and just over 2 and a half hours to cook it, of course.
Airag is something that you’re actually unlikely to be able to make at home – it’s a traditional nomadic drink made from horse’s milk! However, those interested in Mongolian cuisine and culture will love to learn about how Airag is made.
It’s actually slightly alcoholic, due to the fermentation process! And, good news for those who are lactose intolerant – if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to try airag, you’ll be glad to know that the fermentation process destroys the lactose too!
Another dish that has its origins in the delicious flavor of Mongolian beef, these Mongolian green beans will be sure to delight! You’ll need fresh green beans for this, of course, as well as a host of delicious flavorings.
Soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper all combine to make a delicious sauce that adds the perfect flavor to go with your fresh green beans.
This is a traditional Mongolian way of making cheese that’s really different to most cheeses you’ll have tried before! This is because it’s actually a dried cheese – once it’s curdled, the heating process doesn’t actually stop until all of the liquid has evaporated!
This leaves you with a golden brown mass of light, sweet cheese. This is often eaten as a traditional snack!
Beshbarmak is also known as “five fingers”, due to the fact that it is traditionally eaten without utensils. It’s a Central Asian dish with nomadic origins – and one that’s popular all over Central Asia, not just Mongolia!
Traditionally, beshbarmak involves horse meat – but you can feel free to substitute any meat you prefer, of course.
Tsuivan is a really simple dish to make – especially with this recipe, which will teach you how to make this delicious meal of noodles, meat, and vegetables all in one single pot!
You’ll need to spend a bit of time making the noodles yourself – so if you’ve never made your own noodles before this recipe is perfect for you, as it’ll teach you exactly how.
This recipe will make enough to feed between 6 to 8 people – and they’ll all be very happy you made this for them!
If you’re already a fan of Mongolian beef, then you’re absolutely going to love this twist on the old classic. And if you’ve never tried it before, then why not start off by enjoying the classic flavor inside some delicious homemade crepes?
Of course, one of the most important parts of this recipe is the delicious spiced yogurt that you’ll make. It’s so simple – all you’ll need is 4 ounces of plain greek yogurt, to which you’ll mix in equal quantities of cumin and turmeric – about a spoon and a half full each. Delicious!
While these aren’t exactly an authentic Mongolian dish (shrimp not being the easiest food to come by on the landlocked steppe), they’re definitely reminiscent of many other delicious foods bearing the moniker Mongolian!
These deep fried shrimp and scallops are accompanied by a delicious set of flavorings. Fresh ginger, fresh garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine, and green onions – all of them combining together to make a fantastic and delicious taste that accompanies the scallop and shrimps to perfection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Of These Dishes Actually From Mongolia?
Actually, not all of them. A lot of them are, but most of the ones that use the word “Mongolian” in their name are actually Chinese dishes that perhaps took inspiration from Mongolian cuisine at some point.
However, a good many of these are really traditional Mongolian dishes, with origins in Central Asian nomadic tribes. You’ll find them eaten in Mongolia and all across Central Asia!
Why Are So Many Mongolian Dishes Meat-Based?
A lot of the history, culture, and tradition of this region of Central Asia is based in nomadism – which would have traditionally meant a greater focus on hunting than agriculture for sustenance.
Why Are These Recipes Often So Simple?
Well, if you were a Central Asian nomad, you could only carry so much weight, and would have had limited access to all but basic ingredients a lot of the time – which would of course influence their culinary traditions.
With so many deliciously meaty dishes on offer, you‘re sure to be completely full up soon! Of course, one great thing about Mongolian food is that it’s often perfect for cooking under the stars – something to think about on your next camping trip!
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