Mongolian Khorkhog Traditional Recipe

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Mongolian Khorkhog is perhaps the most exciting and unique of mongolian dishes, and one of the tastiest ones. Lamb meat is steam cooked with vegetables with the help of heated stones. Traditionally Mongolians would cook their Khorkhog, if preparing a large one, in a metal milk container. For our purposes here, you can use a large, deep and sturdy cooking pot with a tight fitting lid.

Mongolian Khorkhog Public Domain

Mongolian Khorkhog Traditional Recipe-

  • 4 lb. lamb meat
  • 2 lb. vegetables (potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, cabbage and parsnips work well)
  • 10 to 20 lb. cooking stones (I use lava rocks, they work great, but if you live near a river, go and gather some nicely rounded, smooth river stones, about the size of your fist – this is the more traditional kind of stone used)
  • water
  • caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Build a fire in a firepit or a fireplace, and heat up your stones until they are hot throughout. If you make a good fire that burns hot and steady, your stones should be well heated through in about one hour.
  2. While your stones are heating, wash your vegetables and chop them into large bite-sized chunks. You can either cut your lamb meat into large, boneless chunks also, or some people like to place whole lamb chops on the bone into the dish. Season meat and veggies with caraway, salt and pepper, to taste. Do not over-spice this dish. Stick to those three, if you want the real, traditional flavor.
  3. When the stones are ready, exercising extreme caution and proper implements, place a layer of the stones in the bottom of a large, heavy duty cooking pot. I use a pair of very large, long, and sturdy tongs to do this.
  4. Now add in a layer of meat, followed by a layer of veggies, then another layer of stones. Repeat this layering until the pot is full to the top, then pour in enough water to create steam for the duration of the cooking.
  5. Put the pot on the stove, adjust the heat to bring the water to a boil, then place the lid on the pot.
  6. Cooking time will vary, depending on your stones, what their composition is, hot well heate they are, your own stove, and the density and amount of the ingredients you have included. I suggest, for your first try, let it cook for a good hour before testing with a meat fork probe. Leave the lid on at all times, or the steam built up inside will escape and your cooking process will “loose its steam” (pun intende, lol).
  7. This cooking method, using layers of stones, is unique to Mongolia. It provides an even spread of heat in the steam-cooking, that produces a remarkably tender and tasty meal.
  8. Serve your Mongolian Khorkhog right away, while still nice and hot, but after the stones have cooled enough to be handled and set aside.

Note: For many more delicious, authentic and traditional recipes from Asian countries, click here.

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4 thoughts on “Mongolian Khorkhog Traditional Recipe

  1. I am an avid outdoors enthusiast, and I would like to try making this dish using entirely an open fire. Heat the stones, pack the pot (I have a huge cast iron one, with a lid) and then set the pot over the controlled fire. Think I could make that work? Wanna bet? LOL

    • Mark, if you are an accomplished campfire cook, by all means, I’m sure you can make Khorkhog completely from start to finish over an open fire. I mean, you have to assume the ancient Mongolians made it that way, right? Please do it, and come back to let us know how it turned out, okay?

  2. This recipe, and particularly the method used for cooking, is very interesting to me. I do have a good sized fireplace in the home, so I could heat the stones. Hmmm … I think I’m sold. Gotta try this one out.

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