Boortsog. The supposed hidden “gem” of Mongolian cuisine. After the salty milk tea, we had severe doubts…which is why we put off making it until last night at 11:00. It was late and I’d been working away at the computer. As they say, “Writers write! Always!….and at all hours if they ever want to see a paycheck. In the middle of losing motivation and comprehension, I realized we still needed to do laundry and we hadn’t cooked our first and last Mongolian dish. Suddenly, it seemed so urgent to finish these two tasks before Monday officially began.
We began by being baffled by the measurements. The recipe called for 1/5 kg flour, 250 g sugar, 500 g butter, and 950 ml of water. That rounds out to be roughly 11 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of butter (my heart is already racing), and 4 cups of water.
Sure. If we we’re cooking for a Mongolian army or the entire village, I could see that.
Since we didn’t plan of handing out free ratios of Mongolian Cookies on the street, we trimmed it down to 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 2/3 water and had a disagreement on the butter content.
2/3 cup of butter is more than slightly sickening to look. After all, we’re also deep frying them. I pleaded my case to my hubby who promptly turned his back and argued his case that we should follow the recipe and butter is not that bad….all while he stuffed full a 2/3 cup of butter.
That’s when I let out a small pity shriek as I looked down at the horror of 2/3 cup full of butter. After all, Mongols need beef on them to keep warm in the winter.
I am not a Mongolian. No thank you, Mr. Butter. My ass is just fine without your added warm luxury.
Upon seeing my through my insistence, we compromised on 1/3 cup of butter.
We boiled water in our super powerful microwave, added the butter, and mixed in the sugar. I
wouldn’t have added salt if you paid me forgot to add a pinch of salt.
We then added 4 cups of flour. The dough sucked it up instantly and begged for more. As we kneaded the dough, we added at least a cup or two more just to keep it from sticking to our hands. This dough’s thirst for flour was insatiable.
I should say my hubby did
all most of the kneading. After all, the recipe stated, “The kneading process is vital for boortsog and may require the strength and energy of a male or strong woman because the dough must be kneaded until absolutely no air remains in it.”
And he wanted to follow the recipe after all….the next recipe that calls for a “petite scrawny armed female with pizazz” I will step right up to the plate.
The recipe also demanded we knead the dough and let it rise 3 times…which seemed excessive. We did knead it and let it sit for 10 minutes at a time while we did laundry and heated up our little deep fryer.
The deep fryer is one of the only kitchen appliances we have in order to cook a customized top-secret wonton recipe my sisters and I made while in High School. They are heavenly and incredibly divine. I’d tell you all about it….but then I’d have to terminate you…and I don’t have time for that.
Starting to let sleep drift into us, we hurried the dough by beating it to death and then rolled it out. Boortsog is traditionally cut into small triangles. We used the top of a measuring cup as a cookie cutter and made ours into biscuit size to save on time. We do not have cookie cutters either or the storage capabilities. We’re waging a space-saving war on our tiny kitchen at all times.
Then, we cut air vents into each piece and threw them into our fryer 2 at a time.While it fried, the kitchen smelled exactly like Club crackers. Buttery dough filled the air. We couldn’t wait to try it. After throwing a few boiling hot pieces into the freezer, we spackled grape jelly on to one and took our first bite.
We were very surprised that it wasn’t awful. That in it of itself makes us feel as if it was a success. However, they weren’t good exactly either. The dough was very dense and tasteless despite the added sugar. As my hubby informed me as he grabbed a few for breakfast, “they hit his stomach like bricks.”
There you have it. A successful nearly edible yet failed dish. I think that’s as good as it gets for Mongolia and we’re very happy to be headed to China next.
You can find the recipe here…if you still want to.