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Urum - Өрөм

"White butter", clotted cream.

The milk of yaks (or in the Gobi camels) is best, because it contains more fat. The first few pictures show the production of Urum from yak milk.


Heat the milk on the stove, just below boiling. In regular intervals, lift a ladle full into the air, and let it splash back into the pot, to create foam. This "scooping" (самрах) is necessary because the shallow wok-like Mongolian pan makes normal stirring ineffective, but it also has the quality of a ritual.

Once there is enough foam, let the milk cool down slowly. Now it needs to rest overnight. In the morning, a skin of about 1 cm clotted cream has formed, which is taken off. Stored dry and cool (in a wooden vat or a sheep's stomach), Urum will stay palatable for a full winter season.

Cattle milk contains less fat, so the skin will be thinner. The following images show the resulting smaller amount of Urum.


Urum is often offered to visitors as a snack, or added to mongolian milk tea. Of course it can also be used on a slice of bread instead of butter, even though bread is not a traditional mongolian food. And last but not least it can be further processed to create Khailmag (Caramel pudding)

By products

The remaining skimmed milk gets used for various other products, primarily beverages such as Tarag (Yoghurt), Isgelen Tarag (Kefir) and Mongol Arkhi (milk liquor).