We got home tonight and madam noted, “I’m bloody hungry, how long before dinner?” After some negotiation we agreed that I would knock something up and serve in 30 minutes. This was at the same time as cooking some cupcakes.
So, it was like a combination of Ready, Steady, Cook and Masterchef. An invention test in 30 minutes.
Out came the following ingredients (and it is sort of embarrassing using so few but also rather satisfying to manage it with what was in the pantry):
Four large sausages – this will work with long breakfast sausages as well – I had four organic beef sausage, gluten free in the fridge.
A 500 ml tetra pak of Campbell’s Velish – a thick vegetable soup. Really, any of the flavours could be used however I just used the plain vegetable.
Two onions and two cloves of garlic.
A packet of frozen mixed vegetables – one of the small packets is fine. Equally you could subsitute corn and peas.
OK – simple as. Chop the garlic. The onion was halved then cut in slices. Cut the sausages to bite sized chunks.
Take a skillet, slurp a little olive oil into it, and toss in the garlic. When you get that nice garlic smell coming off the pan, add the onion. As the onion starts to go translucent, add the sausages and brown them in the pan. When they are browned, add the Velish and bring up to just short of boiling (well, when you get the first bubbles).
When the soup is hot, add the frozen vegetable and simmer the whole lot for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
I also made some mashed potatoes (if you don’t know how to cook them, Google it 😆 ). Serve the stew with some mashed potatoes.
For a variation (and for a quick cheat), when adding the frozen vegetables, you could add a spoon or two of Keen’s Curry Powder (add to taste) and have a Curried Sausage Stew. In this case, serve with rice rather than potatoes.
The score for the invention test was 7/10 … although the cupcakes scored 9 😆
and cow poo, and yak poo. Living out on the Steppe, where there are no fences, are many horses, cows, yaks, sheep and goats. Now horses, cows and yaks in particular leave sizeable poos. Mongolia is generally a fairly dry country so these pads dry out very quickly and form a good source of fire fuel. When my favourite Mongolian family travels to the countryside and needs to make a fire to cook, fuel is collected. First thing collected is wood. The wood, however, must be laying on the ground to be used, otherwise it is left. Also collected is dried Poo. In the picture you can see Tseye, plastic bag in hand, collecting poo for the fire whilst the rest of us pitch tents (well, except Thomo who was taking the picture of course).
The poo works really well as a fuel, generating a lot of heat. A few twigs, some dried poo and a match and the fire is started. Add some river rocks in there, wait, then add the rocks to the pot along with meat, potatoes and carrots and hey presto, Khorkhog 🙂
I have to admit, before coming to Mongolia I really had no idea of the style of cooking and food used in Mongolia. I mean, I had eaten Mongolian Lamb at the local Chinese Restaurant, I had eaten Shabu Shabu at other places and of course, I had heard of Mongolian barbeque, barbequing on hot rocks. Well, I have to say that generally the Mongolians are a patient people so will wait for lambs to grow up and become sheep (mutton), I have never seen anything resembling Shabu Shabu and the only barbeque I have seen in Mongolia is at BDs Mongolian Barbeque Restaurant which is, of course, an American chain. As a barbeque is an outside meal in Australia (and one cooked traditionally by men), I decided to recount the local equivalent. This is Khorkhog (pronounced like “horhog”) and is where river stones are heated in a fire and then added to the cooking pot along with mutton meat, potatoes (OK, so this is only a 500 year old traditional Mongolian Meal as potatoes of course were not known in this part of the world until only a few hundred years ago) and carrots.
The food is layered with a little water, hot rocks and salt and built to the top of the pot. The pot itself ideally should be airtight (and yes, I am wondering how traditional an airtight pot can be). In the case of my favourite Mongolian Family, a pressure cooker is used. The handles of the cooker are wrapped in wet rags to protect them from the later flames and heat. So, place some rocks from the fire, then meat, potato, carrots and a little salt. Add some more rocks and repeat the food layer. Keep doing this until the pot is full. Put the top back on and then place the pot back in the fire. Leave for about 30 minutes to an hour (no real rush here).
When the stuff in the pot is cooked, remove from fire, open carefully and serve. The liquid is put into a cup and passed around as a sort of really rich soup. The meat, potatoes and carrots are just so tasty. Eat with some pickles and wash down with ones favourite libation. Heaven.