Updated: 2017-11-28 Print
The characteristics of Ordos cuisine are reflected in Mongolian cuisine. The diet of the Mongolian people is rather rough. Mutton, milk, wild vegetables and pasta are the raw ingredients of the main dishes. The cuisine emphasizes the full-bodied flavor of the foodstuffs.
Yangbeizi 羊背子 (yangbeizi)
Yangbeizi (mutton chunks cooked in a special way), is usually served on three occasions in Inner Mongolia: in banquets, as a gift, or as a tribute. Sheep with big tails and medium-weight and lambs under one year old are used.
Yangbeizi banquets are grand and exciting events. Before the meal, the host greets the guests, then a junior or attendant, with a silver Mongolian knife, cuts a few pieces of mutton from the head of the sheep and offers it to the leaders or elders. After sacrifices to gods or ancestors have been made, the sheep's head is removed and the meat on its back is cut in a certain manner, and then the banquet begins.
The cooking process is as follows: slaughter the sheep, remove the wool, gut and hooves, and divide the sheep into seven chunks - the skull, chest, back, waist, tail, legs, and limbs. After being cooked, the parts are placed together to form the shape of a whole sheep.
Hand-grabbed cooked mutton 手抓羊肉 (shouzhuayangrou)
Hand-grabbed cooked mutton, one of the most popular foods for Inner Mongolian people, derives its name from the habit of eating with the hands.
The cooking process is very simple: cut the mutton into chunks, boil them in cold water, skim off the fat from the soup, add seasoning to taste, and then boil until they are nearly well-done.
Mutton quality depends on the quality of the pasture. Sheep fed with thymes, for example, are usually fresh, tender and savory.
Stir-fried millet 蒙古炒米 (mengguchaomi)
Stir-fried millet, or "Horisenbada" in Mongolian, is a favorite food among the people of Inner Mongolia. It is made from boiled, fried and crushed millet. Depending on slightly different cooking methods, it can be divided into crispy stir-fried millet and hard stir-fried millet.
The natives usually eat the stir-fried millet with Mongolian milk tea. They pour the aromatic tea into the millet, and drain the tea until the millet is soft, then mix it with butter and brown sugar. The combination of sweet and sour flavors is a fantastic experience for the palette.
Mongolian milk tea 蒙古奶茶 (menggunaicha)
"Better a day without food than a day without tea." Mongolian milk tea, or Suuteitsai in Mongolian, is an important part of Inner Mongolian people's daily cuisine, and is drunk every morning.
Inner Mongolian natives usually mix milk tea with some stir-fried millet. After drinking the tea for a while, they cut small pieces of cooked lamb or beef boiled the day before and soak them in the tea.
Mongolian milk tea tastes clean and leaves no mutton aftertaste. When boiling milk tea, crumble the tea first, and boil it for a while. Then, filter out the tea stalks and add fresh milk and an appropriate amount of salt. Boil again for a moment until it turns shallow brown.
The tea helps relieve fatigue, improves appetite and digestion, lowers blood pressure and prevents arteriosclerosis.