HORSE MILK??? See The Tribe In Mongolia Who Drink Fermented Horse Milk- Strange Indeed • illuminaija
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HORSE MILK??? See The Tribe In Mongolia Who Drink Fermented Horse Milk- Strange Indeed

   
   

HORSE MILK??? See The Tribe In Mongolia Who Drink Fermented Horse Milk- Strange Indeed

Airag, also spelled ayrag, the Mongolian word for fermented horse milk, an alcoholic spirit; see kumis, the Turkic name under which it is more widely known throughout Central Asia

Glass of fermented horse milk, anyone? In Mongolia, this isn’t an unusual offer at all. They make a kind of beer called airag by taking a mare’s milk and letting it ferment into a fizzy, sour and slightly alcoholic liquid. It’s traditionally served chilled in a bowl-shaped cup; dregs are supposed to be poured back into the main container.

Airag is the traditional national beverage of Mongolia. The most important animal of the Mongols is the horse. Horses don’t only serve as riding animals, the mare’s milk also has a special status.

HORSE MILK??? See The Tribe In Mongolia Who Drink Fermented Horse Milk- Strange Indeed

Preparation

   
   

The milk is filtered through a cloth, and poured into a large open leather sack (Khukhuur), which is usually suspended next to the entrance of the yurt. Alternatively, a vat from larch wood (Gan), or in modern times plastic, can be used. Within this container, the milk gets stirred with a wooden masher (buluur).

The stirring needs to be repeated regularly over one or two days. Traditionally, anyone entering or leaving the yurt would do a few strokes. The fermentation process is caused by a combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeast, similar to Kefir. The stirring makes sure that all parts of the milk are fermented equally.

Use

Airag refreshens and sparkles softly on the tongue. It contains a small amount of carbon dioxide, and up to 2% of alcohol. The taste is slightly sour, but quite agreeable after getting used to it. The exact taste depends both of the characteristics of the pastures and the exact method of production. The beverage is a rich source of vitamins and minerals for the nomads.

Hospitality mandates to present a bowl of airag to each visitor. A Mongolian will normally empty it, but it is also acceptable to just take a sip and return the bowl. To reject the offer right away would be gravely impolite.

Similar to Isgelen Tarag (Kefir), it is possible, but not as common, to distill Airag into Mongol Arkhi (milk liquor).

Health Questions

Mare’s milk is usually not consumed raw, because it tends to have a strong laxative effect (that effect can also be applied for medical treatment). Instead, it almost always gets fermented into Airag.

Fermentation destroys the lactose in milk, converting it into lactic acid, ethanol, and carbon dioxide. This makes Airag acceptable for lactose intolerant people, which includes many Mongolians. Without fermentation, mare’s milk contains significantly more lactose than milk from cows or yaks.

Mongolians have been preparing and drinking Airag for hundreds of years. Aside from Mongolia, countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kalmykia and ethnic group Bashkirs also prepare Airag. Generally, equestrian nomads use this traditional drink.

HORSE MILK??? See The Tribe In Mongolia Who Drink Fermented Horse Milk- Strange Indeed

   
   

This beverage is widely used in Mongolia and the best Airag is made in Bulgan, Uvurkhangai, Tuv and Dundgovi provinces. There are 0.3 to 0.4 milligrams of A vitamin, 95-100 milligrams of C vitamin and 100 to 200 milligrams of ascorbic acid (water soluble vitamin C), 0.65 to 1.05 milligrams of E vitamin  in one liter of Airag. It is very rich in vitamin D and B type vitamin. Compared to cow’s milk, Airag is rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, cobalt and copper.

Airag keeps stomach pH acid levels in check and kills harmful bacteria, bacilli, stafilokok and also prevents the increase  of viruses of tuberculosis and typhoid etc.  The reason, this fermented beverage has so many health benefits, is the result of useful bacteria that is causing the fermentation process and high amount of milk acid. 

   
   

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