The International Women’s Club (IWC) had dedicated the month of June to Mongolia, which was organized by members of the IWC and Mrs. Marta Lhasuren, wife of the Ambassador. We were treated to some fantastic cultural events highlighting national costumes, a film screening of “The Weeping Camel” and a hot pot or Khorkhog cooking demonstration, which I had the privilege to attend.
Being that the weather is supposed to be summer, the event was held in the garden, which had a full size yurt. The interior was gorgeous, with bright colors and energetic patterns.
Details of the yurt’s door… love the pattern.
Because I was coming to Sofia from Kyustendil, I arrived late because didn’t make the 8:30am bus, so I got on the 9:15 and managed to make it to the embassy by 11:30, but I missed the actual demonstration of putting the Khorkhog together. Thankfully Yuko was snapping away and was able to provide me with my missing images.
Khorkhog is a fascinating dish that is only prepared by men, so we were told. It is not available in many restaurants and is reserved for special occasions and special guests. To prepare the dish, you need to place 20 stones in a hot fire for 2 hours.
Putting the stones in the jug.
Once the stones are hot, you layer the rocks and meat, which is cut in to pieces. The traditional meat for this meal is lamb, but you could use goat. To the meat and stones you add spices, wine and other aromatics to infuse the meat.
Adding the meat.
In order to contain the steam, they put a blanket on top of the pot and a log to keep the heat inside. The steam that is created from the stone is what cooks the meat. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to cook the meat.
When the meat is finished, it is removed from the pot and served and can eat with you hands if you so desire.
Removing the stones and meat.
The stones from the pot turn black from meat’s fat and are still quite hot after being removed.
I was instructed to take the picture quickly… ouch!
Our lunch was set up under a tent on the lawn and served with salad and roasted vegetables.
We enjoyed wine, friends and conversation. Our gracious host gave a lovely toast telling us how much she enjoyed sharing Mongolian culture with the lovely IWC ladies and would be happy to host another month in the future, which I am sure everyone looks forward to with pleasure.
Thank you again IWC and Mrs. Lhasuren, we look forward to next year and discovering more of Mongolia’s cultural treasures.