Meat, Dough, and More Meat: Food in Mongolia

How is the food prepared?:

I learned to make buuz one of my first weekends in Mongolia. First, you have to cut up the meat and fat into small cubes. Then, add salt, pepper, and chopped onions and mix together. Next, take the dough, roll it flat, and make little circles. Put a spoonful of meat in each circle. Once the meat is on the dough circle, you can pinch it up so the dough is wrapped around the meat. Once all of your dumplings are assembled, place them on a tray and put them in the oven with water, where the steam will cook them.

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?:

Mongolia is a nation of herders, or people who raise animals for their job. These people are nomadic, meaning they move from place to place with their animals. Because of this, Mongolians tend to eat a lot of meat, flour, and dairy, and this is without a lot of spices or different vegetables to make the meals more interesting. This lack of seasoning is not surprising when you consider the geography of Mongolia: it would be hard to carry jars of spices on horseback across the Mongolian plains! Most Mongolian food has lots of meat, noodles or dough, and some vegetables like carrots or potatoes. These things are easy to find, do not go bad quickly, and can be prepared in many different ways like frying, baking, or steaming. Buuz is connected to the local environment because it does not require many ingredients, is easy for a nomadic family, to prepare, and uses meat and flour: two of the most readily-available food sources in Mongolia. These dumplings are very filling, which means that they will make you feel nice and warm in a cold Mongolian winter!