Interesting new foods – dried milk products – Cypriot Trahana and Mongolian Aaruul

IMG_1179Traveling through Mongolia my sister and I came across many a market stand selling – dried milk products (I am quoting the guide on this one, she has since I was in Mongolia decamped to Idaho or was it Ohio – somewhere where potatoes grow, or maybe it’s corn or wheat, but for sure farming country. She married an American, and as she cannot use her university degree on ancient Mongolian in the US she is now taking a business degree). In general, and beyond our guide’s extreme example above,   the Mongolians are a nomadic people, they depend on their livestock for sustenance and often times when you visit a Yurt you can see the milk products drying on the roof the yurt – the finished product is called Aaruul . It’s not a good place to be a vegan or a vegetarian traveler. Now, naturally, although I have many photos of Yurts and camels,  of sheep, and women milking Mongolian horses, as well as photos of jeeps fjording rivers and children riding yaks and of course also pictures of dried milk products being sold at market in Mongolia, or of them being dried on yurts…. but I don’t have them handy…..So I must resort to someone elses pictures. According  to the link above, Aaruul is eaten as a snack as is, it’s healthy and chewy and a great source of calcium, I never tried it….. I haven’t come across this type of food since my Mongolia trip so was interested when I encountered the above product during a visit to a market in Cyprus – the above is called trahana, it is made from crushed wheat mixed with soured milk and dried in the sun. You enjoy Trahana as a soup – to use it you mix a piece with boiling water or vegetable or chicken stock, add some thyme and or fennel, and serve as a soup, while I am not an un-adventurous eater, but the enthusiastic purveyor of this Cypriot delicacy couldn’t convince me to buy a 1 kg bag to take home with me.  I suspect, strongly in fact, that it is an acquired taste. However, If you want to make this at home check out this blog by a Canadian lawyer, who after practicing law in the UK, decided to move to the place her family hails from and take up food blogging at Aphrodite’s kitchen.

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2 thoughts on “Interesting new foods – dried milk products – Cypriot Trahana and Mongolian Aaruul

    • Hi Bilguun – it seems you were offended by my describing the Mongolian horse as a pony. In fact I have ridden on them and am aware of their power. Secondly, I guess you don’t know about horse size categorisations, which is what led to my describing them as a pony. Typically the differentiation between horses and ponies is made based on their size – the official definition of a pony is an equine that measures less than 14.2 hands (147 cm) at the withers. Horses are 14.2 or taller. According to a discussion with a friend, who is a horse trainer, however, horse genes and pony genes are different and thus in pure breds can be differentiated genetically, regardless of height, which is why the Prezwalski horse is called a horse although it is in fact tiny. I have adapted the description of pony to horse, based on this input. However, strength has nothing to do with it and I don’t believe that the one is better than the other, they are just different. Best regards Poli

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