Mongolian recipe to celebrate snow leopard blog birthday

October 31, 2009
Bayara. Photo from Panthera website.

Bayara. Photo from Panthera website.

 Here’s the next recipe to celebrate the snow leopard blog’s first birthday. I’m covering a recipe from each of the 12 snow leopard range countries. I haven’t been to Mongolia so I recently asked Bayarjargal (Bayara) Agvaantseren the Executive Director and founder of the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation (SLCF) in Mongolia for a suggested recipe. I’ve wanted to blog about Bayara anyway as she recently won the $25,000 Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for the Next Generation in Wild Cat Conservation. The prize goes to “a special individual who has already made a significant contribution to conserving wild cats.” 

SLE rug from mongolia. Photo by Sibylle.

SLE rug from Mongolia. Photo by Sibylle.

I’m a big fan of Bayara’s as she is the one who started the community-based conservation program now known as Snow Leopard Enterprises (SLE) in Mongolia. SLE supports the semi-nomadic herders in Mongolia, helping them increase their income through handicraft production in exchange for their tolerance of snow leopards. I’ve blogged about the beautiful crafts these people make before and indeed have a number of their rugs hanging on my study wall. They are sold here through the Snow Leopard Trust website. I’ll give another plug – they make wonderful Christmas presents and it’s definitely that time of year to to think about presents. 

Bayara began her career in snow leopard conservation as a member with Tom McCarthy’s (from the Snow Leopard Trust) snow leopard research team. She worked as a translator with herders and helps to understand human-snow leopard conflicts. She’s also been key in formulating Mongolia’s National Snow Leopard Policy and most recently played a key role in initiating the first ever long-term ecological study of snow leopards in South Gobi, Mongolia. 

See more about the prize on the Panthera website.

Mongolian steamed Buuz. Photo from Mongolfood website.

Mongolian steamed Buuz. Photo from Mongolfood website.

Bayara’s recipe is for Buuz – which is dough filled with traditionally lamb in Mongolia, but can be filled with chicken, beef or vegetables and then steamed. While I haven’t ever made them with lamb (not one of my favourites I must say) I have made them with chicken – absolutely delicious. The secret is all in the steaming method and making sure they don’t stick to the steamer which for some reason mine do all the time. Bayara suggests this recipe here.

 I’ve created a page for all the Snow Leopard blog birthday recipes together – see it here.

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Snow leopard blog birthday recipes

October 5, 2009
Doma (r) making Tibetan Khapsey. Photo by Sibylle.

Doma (r) making Tibetan Khapsey. Photo by Sibylle.

To celebrate the first birthday of the “Saving Snow Leopards” blog I’m going to post a recipe from each of the 12 snow leopard countries in central Asia during the next month. The first one here is one of my favorites – Tibetan Khapseys. They are traditionally made and eaten for Losar – Tibetan New Year. A couple of years ago I spent Losar in Kathmandu with my dear friend Doma who spent days making these lovingly for her family and friends. They were absolutely delicious! 

Tibetan Khapsey shapes. Photo by Sibylle.

Tibetan Khapsey shapes. Photo by Sibylle.

You’ll see from the photos that Doma shapes her Khapseys beautifully, and it takes her ages. I have given the method for making them much more quickly but you can copy her shape if you like.

 

 

Ingredients
1 kg white flour / 2 g salt /Vegetable fat to fry -ghee or vegetable oil / sugar

 

Golden brown Khapsey after being fried. Photo by Sibylle.

Golden brown Khapsey after being fried. Photo by Sibylle.

Method
Knead flour with the salt and enough water to make a thick dough. Roll the dough into medium sized balls.
Heat vegetable fat or oil in a deep pot or wok until it steams. Flatten out each of the balls until they are long and slim, about 10 cm long and give each a twist just as you dip gently into the oil. Keep them submerged in the oil and fry until the edges are toasted. Strain the oil and keep separated, preferably on the kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil. When still hot sprinkle lightly with sugar. Khapseys keep for months in airtight containers.