Mongolia, the “Land of Blue Sky” is the least populated country on the planet. Buuz, (бууз) strangely pronounced “boats” is essentially a steam dumpling filled with mutton, sheep meat, or beef. Mongolians have been preparing it for centuries and the recipe has remain unchanged.
Buuz is the main dish for Mongolia’s biggest holiday Tsagaan Sar (Lunar New Year), meaning white month, or white moon. Families literally make thousands of small boats called bansh (áàíø) and freeze them outside for when their guests arrive.The holiday lasts 3 days and consists of visiting many families’ homes in the surrounding area. Mongolians average eating several buuz per home visited. It can get pretty rough when visiting houses late in the holiday on a full stomach, because you are still expected to eat! Leftover Buuz from Tsaagan Sar are slowly finished off by the family throughout the rest of February and into March.
A Mongolia PCV recounts her favorite Buuz experience:
“During Tsagaan Sar I visited a neighboring Mongolian family. After going through the traditional Tsaagan Sar greetings, the father proceeded to challenge me to a buuz eating contest for local bragging rights. He’s a big guy, so odds weren’t quite in my favor. I had already ate 36 buuz over the previous two days of the holiday. But I thought (what’s a few more?) plus, I can never turn down a good food eating contest. So with the rest of the family as our judges, we proceeded to race to see who could stuff their face with the most buuz in 1 minute. After the minute was up, I was deemed champion, doubling the amount he ate and winning both street cred and a massive stomach ache.”
- Meat filling – Minced beef, sheep meat, or mutton
- Other spices (optional)
* The amount of ingredients used depends on desired number of servings, use best judgement.
- Dissolve pinch of salt in lukewarm water. Mix in flour and knead into dough. Leave dough to rest.
- Cut up meat into very fine pieces, making sure to leave in the fat.
- Chop onions and put into bowl with a pinch of salt. Add meat to marinate.
- Knead dough a bit, then roll it out into a long string of dough. Cut dough into 2 in. balls for buuz.
- Add a spoonful of meat/onion mixture to center of disc and begin pinching the ends shut moving in a circular pattern.
- Steam for about 20 min. Serve hot.