Mongolian Meat & Vegetable Broth

Mongolian Meat & Vegetable Broth
Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine: Mongolian, Ancient
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
This recipe for ancient Mongolian meat and vegetable broth comes from "A Soup for the Qan," by Paul Buell & Eugene Anderson, via It is really simple to prepare, and the only ingredients that may be difficult to find would be the bean noodles and the Chinese yams, both which can be located in many Asian groceries.

This recipe is a modern adaptation of a traditional and ancient Mongolian dish. The people of the ancient Mongolian empire, the largest contiguous land empire in history, had a diet that was rather peculiar, even in their time, and continues to be widely misunderstood. For example, Mongolians would process and prepare borts (dried meat) for use in winter, made from the meat of cows, goats and camels. The common Mongolian diet was centered around meats as well as Tsagan-ide ("white food"), such as mutton, milk, rice, flour, and yogurt. Food was often cooked over a fire, fueled with dried animal dung as wood was scarce in the steppes where they dwelt, and to bake food they would place it on hot stones that had been heated in or near the fire. The extremely cold climate affected their choice of foods, which is why fatty dishes prevailed.
  • Small leg of lamb, in several pieces
    mongolian meat and vegetable broth
    Photograph by Richard Bowditch,
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and pureed in food processor
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup apricot kernels (also sold as Chinese almonds)
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese pickled cucumber, minced
  • 2 cups dried Chinese yams, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then sliced into matchsticks
  • 6 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup Shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • Bean noodles
  • 1 cup queso blanco, crumbled
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • salt and vinegar to taste
  1. For the broth, combine the lamb, cardamom and pureed chickpeas, and add water to cover in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a bare boil, then partially cover and simmer until meat is very tender, 1½ to 2 hours, skimming off any scum that rises to the top.
  3. When meat is tender, strain broth and set meat aside.
  4. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, shred or thinly slice the meat. Discard bones.
  5. Beat 3 of the eggs together with a fork in a small bowl. Oil a 12-inch skillet and place over medium-high heat. When it is hot, pour in the beaten eggs and cook without stirring until dry. Remove this flat omelet to a plate and repeat process with remaining 3 eggs.
  6. Allow omelets to cool, then slice into strips 3 inches long and ¼ wide.
  7. With a mortar and pestle, pulverize apricot kernels, then add water to make a paste. Heat this paste, along with the tahini, in a large wok or skillet on high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add pickled and fresh ginger and cucumber and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add yams, then carrots, then mushrooms, then meat.
  8. Fry until carrots and yams are cooked through, adding a bit of broth if necessary to avoid scorching.
  9. Bring broth to boil. Drop bean noodles and simmer until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add stir-fried ingredients and crumbled cheese and simmer until the ingredients are heated through and the cheese begins to melt. Stir in chopped onions, and season to taste with salt and vinegar.
© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America



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