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Khorkhog - Хорхог

Mutton cooked with host stones in a container.

Khorkhog is probably the most exciting mongolian dishes, and one of the most tasty ones. The meat of a sheep (sometimes less) is cooked together with vegetables in a closed container, with the help of heated stones. For a large Khorkhog, a metal milk container is normally used. For smaller amounts, other containers serve just as well, in our case two normal cooking bowls put on top of each other.


0,5 - 1 p. Sheep Of course, only the meat of the sheep is used. Cut it into handy pieces together with the bones. Sometimes goat meat is also used.
3 - 6 kg Vegetables Carrots, white cabbage, onions, potatos, etc.
Everything washed and cut in large pieces.
10 - 20 p. Stones Smooth, round stones from a river, roughly fist sized.
3-5 dl Water


Heat the stones in the fire, until they are hot throughout. With a decent fire, that should take about an hour. The animal dung seen on the pictures as fuel has no influence on the final taste of the food. It is a ecologically very sustainable source of energy, which is used in most steppe or desert regions for this purpose.

Warning, the stones are very hot, and can cause serious injuries!
Place hot stones, meat, and spiced vegetables into the cooking container in layers. In the end, add sufficient water, which will fill the container with steam (without pressure!) during the full cooking time.

Now close the container and put everything back on the stove. The heat of the stones and the stove together results in a uniform cooking process. When the container can be locked, care needs to be taken that the pressure inside doesn't get too high. If in doubt, rather don't lock it.

It takes some experience to determine the correct cooking time and the necessary head depending on the equipment used. Ideally the container should not be opened during cooking. Experts will observe the emanating sounds and smells to figure out when the Khorkhog is finished.

When it is done, take the container from the stove and open it. Fire and fat have given the stones a glossy black color. Let them cool down as far as necessary, and hand them around to your guests. The mongolians believe that the heat and fat have beneficial or even healing effects, when you hold and rub the stone in your hands for a while.

The meat is normally eaten with the fingers. Use a knife to make cuts down to the bone, so that you can grab the slices with your teeth. For the vegetables, a fork is usually more practical.