Also known as kumis, Airag, also known as Kumis, is essentially fermented mare’s milk and is the national beverage of Mongolia.
A combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeast leads to the process of fermentation of the milk. Airag is useful in treating severe illnesses related to the heart, lungs, and stomach. It is rich in Vitamin C and D, which in turn helps build a stronger immune system.
Airag is only available during the summer months in Mongolia, starting from July until late September.
History & Cultural Significance
For Mongols, horses are the most important animals of all. It’s not just because they serve as an important means of transportation, but also because they’ve provide the natives with a vital source of nutrients in the form of Airag.
As far as its cultural significance is considered, Airag is served as the chief holy drink during numerous festivals. Usage of Airag in ceremonial blessings and offerings is something that practitioners have inherited from their parents. This has kept the custom thriving for thousands of years.
Mongolian Airag (Kumis) Recipe
- Mare’s milk
- Dried yeast
- The procedure starts with milking the horses.
- Next, the milk is to be filtered using a clean cloth. After properly filtered, shift the milk to a large open leather sack named Khukhuur.(Now, one can drink the raw milk too, but it is important to note that mare’s milk tends to have more lactose if compared to normal cow’s milk. Hence, fermentation of the milk is necessary. It will help convert the lactose into lactose acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide.)
- The fermentation of the milk is facilitated by churning it within
a cowhide sack known as an Arhad.
- Keep in mind to add dried yeast to the mare's milk as you pour
it into the bag.
- Make sure to churn up the milk up to 4000 times before you go
ahead with drinking it. This will help to enhance the taste of the Airag. The more the milk is being churned, the more flavorful it gets.
- Repeatedly stir the liquid for more than one to two days.
Stirring makes sure that the milk is fermented rightly, giving it the
refreshing taste that it has.
- Once done, pour the fermented milk into bowls and serve!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 34Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g