My favourite Mongolian Family cooked lunch for me today. Meat, potatoes, the usual. There was, however, the addition of something special – warmed Camel’s Milk.
I will freely admit that I have never drunk camel’s milk before. It was OK. It was a different taste to start with (actually, it was a different taste to finish with as well but by the end of the mug I was getting used to the flavour). It had a flavour similar to Airag (the fermented mare’s milk drunk in vast quantities over the summer). However it was smoother and had a creamier flavour than the horse’s milk.
Puujee was telling me (through Tseye – his english and my Mongolian are of a similar standard) that when he was young there was maybe 700,000 camels or so making it pretty easy to get the milk. Now there are many less, maybe around 250,000. The milk is therefore harder to come by. The reason for the drop in the camel herd size seems to be less care for the animals and folks stealing camels for food.
Perhaps we shall get some camel milk again – I’d certainly drink it a second time.