Monday, 23 November 2009

Mongolia - Tsuivan

If it's Mongolia, it's got to be mutton! I think my partner, Zhenya, was quite relieved this time round. After the panic-inducing hot spices of Lesothan Chakalaka and the . . . well, corned beef of Kiribati, he was quite into the idea of mutton and tells me that Tsuivan is very similar to a Kalmyk dish.

Tsuivan is a kind of mutton stew with thick flour noodles. As a sort of challenge, I decided to make the noodles myself from scratch, much easier than it sounds actually, as it's like frying chapati or pancake and then slicing it into long rectangular shapes. If you're interested in finding out how to do this, I found a really good website called

Once my noodles were made, I fried an onion, a carrot, a courgette and two garlic cloves. Then I added the mutton, browning it, before pouring in enough stock to fill the pot three quarters of the way up. I added some white cabbage on top and let it boil for about 15 minutes.

Once the vegetables had boiled and shrunk a bit, I added the noodles on top, then covered it for another 15 minutes reducing the heat. It's important not to uncover the pot at this stage, because the steam inside is used to cook the noodles, so they don't stick together in one big soggy lump :-)

I served it with fresh scallions (spring onions), see photo!

I wouldn't say mutton is my favourite meat, at least, I wouldn't like to eat it everyday. Like a lot of my learning about Mongolia, I was reminded of Central Asia. The taste of mutton brought me right back to Samarkand and all the traditional Uzbek plov I ate during my two years there.

Image credits

The Mongolian flag is from

Both photos were taken by me :-)
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