Budaatai Khuurga (a.k.a. Mongolian fried rice)

Like all cuisines, Mongolian food is influenced by its surrounding neighbors to an extent. This is why you’ll find niislel salat, borscht, and piroshkis at most tsainii gazar (literally “tea place”, but more indicative of a small eatery) alongside more traditional Mongolian fare. You may have gleaned by now that Mongolian agriculture, although existent, is not one of their natural fortes*. Thus, rice was not a common food in Mongolia historically, but it has been incorporated into dishes today. Budaatai khuurga (pronounced: “boh-dah-tay hoar-rick”) is a perfect example of the inclusion of neighboring foods while keeping to traditional deliciousness.

To make budaatai khuurga, it’s best to use leftover rice, which holds its shape better than just cooked rice. You’ll also want meat (mutton is traditional, but beef would also work well [you can also use borts if you have any!]) and a variety of vegetables that have been cut in strips. It’s pretty common to have carrots, onions, bell peppers, or cabbage, but it’s really up to what you have on hand. I’ve also had it with egg, although that starts to veer into undugtei khuurga territory (very similar to the fried rice dish only without the rice, with lots of egg, and often with potatoes as well).

Back to the fried rice.

Using oil (or leftover animal fat), go ahead and cook the veggies (slowest cooking first, like carrots), then add the meat. Once everything is well cooked, add the rice (egg would be cooked before the rice if you’re using it), and add any seasonings that you like. For a more precise recipe, check out this website. I’m awful at writing recipes, and although that one might be a bit vague, you’ll still get a better idea of how to prepare budaatai khuurga than if I were to give you instructions. 😉

*Very much worth noting that the agriculture that does happen in Mongolia is a feat of technology because the land and seasons do not lend themselves willingly to cultivation. However, Mongolia produces wheat, fruit, and vegetables in spades. Mongolian potatoes are the best tasting ones I’ve ever eaten, tbh.

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