Milk is sacred in Mongolia. It is sprinkled on horses and the wheels of vehicles, trains and even aero planes to bless the journey and the traveler. Along with wheat, meat and, more recently, vegetables, milk and milk products are staple foods.

Over the years Mongolian nomads have developed a number of unique dairy products, which are made by traditional ways include different types of yoghurt, cottage cheese, dried curds and fermented dairy products.

Generally, dairy products are prepared to eat during spring and summer months to last over long winter. In rural areas nomadic families prepared, and still prepare, traditionally conserved dairy products for the customary winter diet of meat and milk. During the short summer, people, both rural and urban, they consume up to ten liters of milk daily in the form of airag – a mildly alcoholic drink fermented from mare’s milk; and hoormog – made from camel milk. As well as being pleasant drinks, airag and hoormog are natural functional foods that restore the body after the long winter diet of meat and milk-based foods. There are over 500 different dairy products and regional variations. Mongolians hate to waste any animal products and they use a sheep’s stomach for storing some kind of dairy products especially cream, tsagaan tos, shar tos for long winter.

Airag

(Kumis)

Mare`s milk is stirred 3000-5000 times to ready airag. Local people milk mare in every 2 hours from 8 am. There is an old legend about the gods who decided to make a drink that would replace all other nourishment needed by man. They worked on it for a long time and finally the drink was ready. They called it airag or kumis. For the Mongols, kumis is a symbol of hospitality and friendly feelings. This old song will probably teach you how to make kumis.
Catch a mare in the prairie And then milk her in the dairy Until your bucket’s full of milk, Thick snow-white mare’s milk Now your work is very easy, But long enough to keep you busy You select a good big skin And pour the mare’s milk in Leave the skin, now swollen fat, On the ground lying flat, Whip the milk with an elm beater And add a good culture to ferment it We love kumis as it gives us health, We’re poor and it’s our only wealth, This drink has no equal, we are told, And it’s dearer than silver and gold.

Tarag

(Thin yoghurt)

Boiled milk is heated until warm, then mixed with a starter and stirred well, after which it is poured into a container and left to ferment in a warm condition. If the surrounding air is cool, the container of fermenting yoghurt is left covered. The starter generally consists of filtered yoghurt, but in some locations, and particularly when making the first yoghurt of the season, various other substances can be used – including powdered aaruul, milk curds, or fermented plants such as rhubarb. Yoghurt is made from the milk of cows, sheep or goats. It formed an important part of the summer diet, being consumed primarily in the evening.
To make dried curds, around 10 liter of yoghurt is boiled for 10-20 minutes and poured out into another pot. It is cooled for 3-4 hours. Then poured out into a proper bag to decant and sour curd is put by heavy thing for 10-12 hours. After that, it is sliced by thread thinly and put on the plank on the Ger. Also, sugar and fruit can be added.

Khailmag

  To make khailmag, white butter is melted on the fireplace in a pot, added a little flour and stirred well.10 minutes later, it should be simmered. Then, separated yellow butter or shar tos is put in a special pot. Put sugar into it to add taste. After cooled, it will become ready to serve.

Distilled milk vodka

To make distilled milk vodka, fermented yoghurt is put into a pot that is 16-18 liters on the fireplace. Before making a fire, you will prepare the utensils for distilling. Then fill the pot with water and continue making fire. As soon as water in the pot is heated, change the water with a cold one twice. After this process, get the distilled spirit. On distilling, 1-5 liters of vodka is produced.

Aaruul (dry curds)

 Aaruul is produced by cutting drained Aarts with a string, then setting them to dry in the sun. In order to increase the flavor, texture and fat content of the Aaruul, extra milk can be added to the tsagaa before it is boiled and filtered. The aaruul can also be sweetened with sugar and fruit. So-called Khorkhoi (worm) Aaruul is produced by pressing the milk curds through the holes of a wide-eyed sieve; Bazmal (grabbed) Aaruul is molded in the palm of the hand.

Urum (clotted cream)

  Clotted cream is widely produced throughout Mongolia. It is produced by bringing cow, sheep or goat milk to a boil, while continuously ladling up the liquid and pouring it back into the pot, causing the cream to separate from the milk and develop into froth. The pot is then set aside in a cool place until this foam solidifies, whereupon the pot is again heated slightly over a low fire; the clotted cream is then scraped away from the edges of the pot, folded and removed. It can either be eaten fresh or placed on a board and dried or frozen; the cream may also be gathered and stored in a special container.