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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).
Boortsog are made by cutting flattened dough into pieces. The dough contains flour, water or milk, sugar, butter, sometimes yoghurt and yeast. Mongolians don’t like salt much, but salt might be added. The shape can vary. Sometimes Boortsog is twisted and knotted. The dough is deep-fried golden brown. Mongolians may use left over mutton fat bullion for frying, but vegetable oil may be used as well.
Boortsog is the food that greets the visitor, that makes you feel home. It is offered in every yurt home when the traveler enters, together with tea or milk, and a silent, nirvanic countenance, that is hardly found anywhere in the West. A yurt is a portable, circular dwelling made of a lattice of flexible poles and covered in felt or other fabric. They are a sturdy, reliable type of tent. Yurts have been the primary style of home in Central Asia, particularly Mongolia, for thousands of years.
Yurts take between 30 minutes and 3 hours to set up or take down, and usually house between five and 15 people. They are usually a little over 2 meters (6 feet) high, with a slightly domed top rising another meter. A wood-burning iron stove sits in the middle of a traditional yurt, with a long chimney reaching up past the roof. Yurts also serve as overnight places for tired travelers and places to replenish your supplies.

Mongolian butter cookies called boortsog are really scrumptious treats, they are really more like fried dough than cookies. We enjoyed them straight from the fryer dipped in our Mongolian tea to end our meal. The leftovers were actually really good with tea the next day but you may not have any leftovers, they are that good hot! They can be served with honey, butter or even cheese. Another quick and easy recipe, thanks Mongolia!
PREP TIME 45 mins
COOK TIME 10 mins
TOTAL TIME 55 mins
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Mongolian
Serves: 16 cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup warm water
  • +/-½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for frying (can be mutton fat but vegetable oil is also used)

Desolve the sugar and salt into the warm water
In a bowl, mix together the flour, water mixture, and butter and knead extensively to a tough, dense dough, add flour or water as necessary.
Let rest for about 30 minutes and knead again to remove any air bubbles. Roll out the dough to about ½ inch thickness and cut into rectangles about 2 x4. Cut a slit in the middle and pull one end through making sort of a knot shape. Heat up you oil in a frying pan and deep fry until golden brown on each side. Remove and serve warm with Mongolian tea.
Source and photo:


  1. Alhoewel die bestanddele nie dieselfde is nie en dit nie in stroop gedoop word nie, is hier nogal ‘n interessante ooreenkoms met ons Suid-Afrikaanse koeksisters.


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