Bantan

MONGOLIA

A hearty and comforting stew, straight from the steppes of Mongolia

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In my “Hangover Cures” series, I learned about a common hangover dish called bantan, from Khulan, who lives in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Bantan is a traditional Mongolian ‘flour soup’ that is made with flour, mutton, and green onions. This soup is the ultimate hangover food because it is rich yet not overly heavy, and it fills your body with warmth. 

Khulan describes the drinking culture in Mongolia, and we learn that their alcoholic beverages of choice are either beer or airag. In the countryside, airag is more popular, it is an alcoholic drink made with fermented mare or donkey milk. It is slightly sour, and it only has 2% alcohol. After drinking, there are two main hangover foods eaten in Mongolia: instant ramen and, of course, bantan.

Bantan, which translates to a mixture or something mushy,  is a soup with small bunches of flour that taste like mini dumplings. The mutton and bone-based broth give the bantan most of its deep flavor. It’s s a very nurturing dish, and it is also sometimes used as baby food. Most people also consider this dish one of the few authentic Mongolian dishes, so it is definitely worth trying!

I was a bit intimidated to make bantan since it was my first time making Mongolian food, but I think it turned out well! I was also excited to make my homemade stock from bones. My favorite part of this dish is all the tiny pieces of flour that I crumbled up and added to the soup. The little dough balls make this dish almost taste like porridge, but the dough is larger than rice grains. The green onion is also a must-have addition for bantan, as it adds a pop of freshness to the otherwise rich soup. Although I couldn’t find mutton in the US, I used beef, and it was still delicious. Bantan is a comforting soup perfect for coating your stomach and giving you the energy you need to overcome your hangover.    

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Ingredients
  

  • 200 g flour
  • 1 ½ l water
  • 200 g meat (mutton or beef) minced or cut in small pieces
  • 100 g spring onion chopped
  • spices (your choice)

Instructions
 

  • Prepare your soup base using whatever you like, stock, concentrate etc.
  • Put your desired amount of flour into a bowl. Place two or three ladles of soup into a cavity in the center of the flour.
  • Mix the liquid with a part of the flour and knead or grind the resulting mass into small lumps.
  • Put the lumps and the rest of the flour into the soup and boil everything for another while
  • The lumps will get a little smaller while boiling, but shouldn't disappear completely. This is different to the western convention, to keep soups and sauces completely free of lumps. Season to taste with salt, and add the spring onions and other spices. Serve wam.
Course: Breakfast, Dinner
Region: Asia
Keyword: Comfort food

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