“rich dough fried in small pieces.” This snack is found throughout Central Asia, where it is taken with tea or carried by travelers as a provision for the road. The Osmanli and Northeastern forms may be borrowings. The Tatars make this product coin-shaped, the Bashkirs bun-like, the Uzbeks ball-shaped. The Kazakhs, who as nomads have great use for road food, have the greatest variety of forms, round, square, oval, and triangular, and make leavened as well as unleavened versions. The fluctuation of the first vowel may reflect folk etymologies connecting this word with bogrug “bulge (in a milk sack, e.g.),” and bagïrsaq “entrails.” TZ: bursaq, “bread; a Tatar word.”
Borrowings: This word is widespread in the Mongolian languages. Khalkha: “rich dough fried in thick cakes; bread, pastry.” Ordos: “cake, bread.” Kalmyk: “thin bread fried in butter.” The Persian speakers of Afghanistan leaven the dough but do not allow it to rise, and roll the lumps of dough on a sieve to impress a pattern of indentations in them. This word has been adopted in western Siberia by Vogul and in Afghanistan by Yaghnobi.
Rationale for modification of redaction: So, fried bread. What can I say about this dish? It is so popular with some of my friends that I make it just as a treat from time to time. For the event we did the quick version of this and used oil rather than animal fat to fry it so that we could feed it to everyone who was not gluten intolerant or vegan (this has yeast in it).
Store-bought white, leavened bread mix
Amounts of ingredients are dependent on how much you are making.
- Follow the package directions for making your dough. Allow to rise.
- Put oil in skillet (enough to shallow fry) and bring to heat.
- Decide how large you want your flat bread to be. Break off a ball of dough and pat and stretch to make a fairly thin (1 cm) semi-round piece.
- Salt the bread top with sea salt.
- Put piece into oil and shallow fry until there are bubbles on the top side of the bread, flip and cook until golden. Temperature control is important. If the oil is too hot, the bread will burn before it cooks. If it is too low, the bread will soak up the oil making the bread oily and heavy. The oil needs to be hot but not smoking.
- Turn cooked bread out onto paper towel.
- Serve hot, warm, or cool.
- The first assumption is that they Mongolians in period ate bread at all. We know that wheat flour and other flours did come into the diet of the Mongols in period but it assumed to have been an expensive commodity amongst the nomadic population. Certainly it would have been something that they purchased in a town and that supply may have been traded in. Charles Perry’s article is about the Turkish use of grains as foods. At first, this might seem to be outside of the Mongol food plate. But it is well known that the Mongols happily borrowed from the Islamic regions, Chinese regions, and Russian regions within their food products. The fact that there is not one but several words within the Mongol language for fried bread is a good indication of the use of such products. Kalmyk is a closer product to what I make at home. For farther information on grain use in Yuan Dynasty Mongolia, I suggest having a look at Paul D Buell’s ‘A Soup for the Qan’. Within its pages you will also find Charles Perry’s ‘Grain Foods of the Early Turks’.
- As a second assumption, we used the description of or translation of several words to reconstruct a recipe. This process is fraught with problems. Both Master Drake and I extrapolated ‘rich dough fried in small pieces’ to mean a type of white, wheat bread dough fried in some sort of oil or animal fat. There is no reason to actually assume that it was a wheat based bread. We could have used millet or even rice as the main grain in the dough. The reason I selected wheat (and I suspect it might be the same for Master Drake) is that the description is ‘rich’. Wheat leans a richer, thicker bread than other grains; though ‘rich’ could very well have been used as a descriptor because the bread might have been heavy with animal fat or oil. The use of wheat was also a convenience for us as it is available in inexpensive commercial packs. I am thinking about revisiting my redaction and perhaps using a different grain, just to see what happens.
- This is one of those recipes to try at home first. It does take a bit of finesse to get the temperature right. Once you have made on successfully, the rest just follow.
- Cooking times and temperatures are very much like pancakes. They depend on the size of the piece being fried and the bread has a similar outcome for improper temperature.
- This truly is a popular dish. I have yet to have any bread left over at the end of a dinner or feast. Even when I make more than I think that I will need. It is very more-ish.
- Like with the meat cakes, I will be posting my first principal redaction later on this blog.