Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Steamed Booz

Apparently cooking and serving boiled lamb without spices is not a deeply rooted Tuvan-Mongolian tradition, and members of the two cultures occasionally part from old habits in favour of paprika, pepper, marjoram, etc. One Tuvan friend liked to cook with dried chili pepper flakes, not always easily found in the market of Kyzyl. Feel free to add salt, paprika, pepper or marjoram to the minced lamb as you desire; the traditional meat is unspiced.

The pattern of the pinched edges of booz and khoorshoor is a matter of competition and pride. Several delicate forms can be made by the fingers, the smaller and thinner is the better for booz. The edges should not be very thin for the khoorshoor, because it burns when frying.

  • Mix flour and a little water (salting permitted) to make dough.
  • Flatten the dough to a thickness of 2 or 3 mm. In college kitchens, use wine bottles to flatten the dough. (The bottles should be emptied beforehand.)
  • Cut the dough into discs, roughly 10-15 cm in diameter. A cup or glass is useful as a pooza cutter.
  • Fill the discs with minced lamb (with the fat).
  • Put the disc of dough in your palm, and form a ball in your hand by pinching the edges of the dough together; leave a little opening on top (important!).
  • Steam for about 20 minutes.

The meat boils in its own juice, keeping all vitamins, minerals, trace elements, etc. You eat it by hand, opening your mouth BIG!

You'll need from 5 to 15 balls per person. This is the famous booz (Mongolian name) or pooza (Tuvan name).

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