“grain fried in butter,” from qagurmaq, “to fry.” This word has survived in scattered locations, with some shifting of meaning (“rice porridge with carrots and raisins” as well as the original sense in modern Uighur, “fried wheat bread” in Turkmen). In Osmanli it applies to fried maize, lentils etc. In the northern Caucasus it is said to mean popcorn. DL: qawurmac, “dish of wheat fried in butter”; qogurmac, “fried wheat.” KI: qawurmac, “fried grain.”
Borrowings: apparently none. (The widely borrowed word qawurma is not a grain food but a dish of fried meat: e.g., Urdu korma.)
“grain boiled with milk.” The Chuvash word pata, as well as the form in which the word was borrowed in Mongol (buda’an) and Jürchen (puh-tu-kuai), suggest that butqa was originally pronounced something like butaqa. In the Northeastern Group, butqa means meal boiled with milk; in the Southwest and Mid- Central languages it is a rice porridge, and in the Central Northwest languages a porridge or puree. If the Yakut word butugas is from this root (perhaps with the addition of a suffix -c which is otherwise only seen in the common food-name suffix -mac), this word may antedate the knowledge of grain. Butugas is a Yakut soup. It is made from thickened yogurt enriched with ground roots, pine needles and animal bones (which lactic acid eventually disintegrates). The thickened and then frozen yogurt is called tar (appropriately enough) and the butugas is made from it. TZ: butqa, “rice cooked with milk.”
Borrowings: The original meaning of buda’an in Mongolian is said to have been “thickened soup”; modern Khalkha Mongolian knows the meanings “groats, millet groats, grain, porridge.” The Tuva (Northeast) have adopted the Mongol form of the word with this meaning. The Ordos Mongols of China use budaa to mean “noodles.” The book MA records words in fourteenth century Western Mongolian as well as Turkish, and apparently the Western Mongols were using the expression eckäksän budaan, “sliced budaan,” for noodles. The modern Buriat Mongols use budaa for “groats,” budaan for “barley.” This word was borrowed by Manchu-Tungus languages at an early date. The Jürchens, who ruled North China as the Jin Dynasty, used puh-tu-kuai for “rice.” In Manchu buda means “porridge, boiled dishes in general, mealtime” and in the languages of the Manchu-Tungus family spoken on Sakhalin Island and the lower Amur it means “millet” or “groats.”
Rationale for redaction: We have several sources of documented evidence in period that the Mongol/Chinese ate rice. I currently lack an actual reference stating explicitly how they made the dish. As we wanted to have at least one carbohydrate that people were familiar with, we went with rice.
Ingredients: (I have downsized this recipe for 10)
5 cups basmati rice
10 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
5 cardamom pods – cracked
5 cloves – cracked
- Rinse and drain rice.
- In pan, bring water to boil.
- Add rice, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.
- Bring back to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 18 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot.
- The primary assumptions of this dish come from the use of a description/translation of a word rather than an actual recipe. As a recreation dish, Master Drake wanted to imbue the rice with a flavour of its own that would complement and add a layer of taste to the meal.
- We both assume that, though there are no rice recipes in the sources that Master Drake and I have access to, rice was eaten. We have multiple documented sources in period which list rice as a food source (see A Soup for the Qan and Rice Culture for reference to rice being a cultivated crop). I believe that these types of recipes are often left out of cookbooks of the period because cooking rice would have been an assumed knowledge.
- We also assumed that cooking rice would have been done similarly to today. But we do have account based documentation that rice was also boiled in milk, animal water (broth), and fried in butter.
- The spices were in common use in Mongolian cooking of the time and thus, if they did spice their rice, these might have been used.
- So I have to be completely honest here. I have removed one of the ingredients from this recipe as served at the feast. Master Drake included rosewater as a flavouring to the rice (Rosewater to taste). This was one area where he and I disagreed greatly and had several conversations about. Ultimately, it was his feast and this is my blog. So I have included his assumptions and my reservations below.
- Master Drake’s Assumption: Rosewater could have been used by the Mongols. We know that the Mongols borrowed heavily from the Turks at the time and that the Turks used rosewater in some of their dishes (especially their sweet dishes).
- My reservations:
- I have yet to find any documentation of the use of rosewater in Mongolian food during the Yuan Dynasty.
- I also have yet to find any documentation of rosewater used in plain/spice rice dishes in Turkey during the Yuan Dynasty. This does not mean that there were not such dishes as I have done very little research into this topic at this time – but from my quick tour of rice in Turkey at the time, I found nothing similar.
- My preference is to leave rosewater out of my dishes at this time. The reason is twofold. Firstly, I have no documentation that it was actually used. Just because other dishes or flavours were brought over into the Mongol palate, does not necessarily dictate that rosewater would have been brought over as well. Bringing me to the second part of my reasoning: It could very well be that the Mongol palate is closer to mine and they might not have liked the flavour of rosewater. Looking through modern cookbooks from the region, rosewater does not seem to be a core ingredient.