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THE MONGOLIAN NATIONAL COOKIE – BOORTSOG COOKIES

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According to Uta Beyer, intrepid traveler, photographer and eater, she has over her years of travel, rarely seen such a busy people as the Mongolian peasants. That is, busy making a living in the rather inhospitable steppe of their vast country. As a result, the people in Mongolia don’t have much time to spend with sophisticated recipes. Not to mention rare ingredients. Thus, the diet is dominated by meat – in the winter – and dairy products – in the summer.
Boortsog is a famous exception. It’s the traditional deep fried, sweet, butter cookie with its origin in Mongolia but which can be found all over Central-Asia, with similar names: bauirsak (Kazakh), boorsok (Kyrgyz), bog’irsoq (Uzbek), and busrok (Tajik). Continue reading

UZBEK PLOV

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(Uzbekistan meat and rice pilaf)

Plov is the king of Uzbek cuisine, served during a wedding feast, to celebrate the arrival of honorable guests, at the crowded major celebrations as well as within the family circle. Neither a friendly dinner nor funeral repast can do without plov. Dishes made of rice are known in almost in every country of the region, but the Uzbek plov, the recipe for which was created in ancient times, is claimed by locals to be a masterpiece of culinary art. There are many folk parables and legends about the healing and nourishing qualities of plov. Uzbek people believe that the very name for plov – “osh-polov” contain the first letters of the names of the dish basic ingredients: onion, carrot, meat, oil, salt, water and rice. – By Rustam Miszaev

Plov has always been the favorite dish in Uzbekistan. A few centuries ago plov was cooked within rich families almost every day. Well-to-do people ate it once a week – every Friday eve. For the poor people plov was an infrequent dish which was served only during big holidays.
In the Uzbek family, day to day food is cooked by woman, but it is the male who is reputed to possess the skills of making real festive plov. Continue reading

ROMANIAN CUISINE

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Romanian recipes bear the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture. The Turks brought meatballs (perișoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is mousaka, from the Austrians there is the șnițel, and the list could continue. The Romanians share many foods with the Balkan area (in which Turkey was the cultural vehicle), and Eastern Europe (including Moldova and Ukraine). Some others are original or can be traced to the Romans, as well as other ancient civilizations. The lack of written sources in Eastern Europe makes it impossible to determine today the exact origin for most of them.

One of the most common meals is the mămăligă, the precursor of polenta, served on its own or as an accompaniment. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine, but also beef is consumed and a good lamb or fish dish is never to be refused. Continue reading

OOS-EUROPA SE KLUITJIES

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As daar een gemeenskaplike gereg is wat in alle Skandenawiese lande en Oos Europa, vanaf die grense van Duitsland tot by die Ural gebergtes in die Noorde van Oos-Europa, raakgeloop sal word, dan is dit kluitjies. Hierdie kluitjies verteenwoordig trooskos wat gebore is uit armoede en skaarsheid van kos – die nodigheid om meer te maak van min en om so maniere te vind om ‘n maaltyd te maak van klein hoeveelhede vleis.
Dit word beweer dat die Poolse pierorgi tuis geskep is tydens ‘n 13de eeuse hongersnood. Hulle verteenwoordig die vindingrykheid van ‘n verhongerde nasie wat probeer om te oorleef. Dit het baie geslagte geneem vir hierdie nederige kluitjie om van ‘n arm mans gereg opgehef te word tot die geliefde Poolse stapelvoedsel wat dit vandag is.
Elke land het natuurlik sy eie weergawes en daar is kluitjies vir Kersfees en kluitjies vir Paasfees. Voorgereg kluitjies en nagereg kluitjies. Continue reading

SWEDISH HUSMANSKOST

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Swedish husmanskost denotes traditional Swedish dishes with local ingredients, the classical everyday Swedish cuisine.  The word husmanskost stems from husman, meaning ‘house owner’ (without associated land), and the term was originally used for most kinds of simple countryside food outside of towns.   Genuine Swedish husmanskost used predominantly local ingredients such as pork in all forms, fish, cereals, milk, potato, root vegetables, cabbage, onions, apples, berries etc.
Examples of Swedish husmanskost are pea soup (ärtsoppa), boiled and mashed carrots  fishballs (fiskbullar), meatballs (köttbullar) and the very popular potato dumplings (kroppkakor) filled with meat or other ingredients Continue reading

RASSTEGAI – THE RUSSIAN PIE

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When discussing Russian cuisine, it is inevitable that the conversation will turn to dishes such as Borscht with Smetana, a spicy sour soup with beet as main ingredient, served with sour cream, or Blini, ‘n thin Russian pancake, traditionally served with red caviar and Pierogie, that delicious dumpling filled with savoury or sweet fillings and cooked in boiling water.

However, one of the most popular dishes in Russia, is the famous Rasstegai.   Rasstegai was one of the most popular types of pies in Russian homes and inns during the tsarist times. Innkeepers in St. Petersburg and Moscow competed with each for the right to call their rasstegai the best.

Vladimir Gilyarovski wrote about the rasstegai in “Moscow and the Muscovites”, his encyclopedia of Russian life at the turn of 20th century: “This is a round, pie stuffed with minced fish and notochord [the nerve chord of a sturgeon] which takes up the whole plate, the middle is open and in there on a slice of sturgeon is a piece of burbot liver. A gravy for the pie was served for free in the boat…” Continue reading