How to make Boorsok – a tasty Kyrgyz snack
What is Boorsok?
Boorsok is a type of fried dough mixture that is popular in the cuisines of Central Asia eastwards to Mongolia. It is simple to make but there is a lot of variation in its preparation and design, leaving a lot of room for creativity for the adventuruous chefs among you.
How is Boorsok eaten?
If you ever find yourself dining at somebody’s house in Kyrgyzstan the chances are that the table will be overflowing with boorsok. Having an abundance of this tasty snack is a sign of generosity on the part of the host whilst its absence would be a source of shame. This is especially true during major celebrations where the boorsok are piled high and wide across the dastorkan (tablecloth).
They can be eaten as a dessert, when typically served with honey, jam, (powdered) sugar or butter, or as an accompaniment to the main meal. They can also be made sweet or savoury depending on the sugar and salt levels used in the cooking process. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for boorsok to be served with tea as a kind of dipping biscuit.
In Kyrgyzstan boorsok is traditionally cooked outside above a wood (or alternatively, dung) stove. In Tajikistan boortsog is often decorated by pressing the bottom of a strainer on the dough before it is fried, creating a distinctive criss-cross pattern. It is possible to bend and tie the unfried dough into decorative shapes. This practice is especially common in Mongolian pootshag, which additionally is fried together with mutton fat to give extra flavour. The dough for boorsok also undergoes changes as it moves across regional cuisines. Ranging from simple to sweeter and crispier varieties which use eggs and sugar.
Ingredients for Boorsok
– 1 big glass of milk
– 1-3 tablespoons of sugar
– 3 tablespoons of butter/margarine/oil
– 1 teaspoon of yeast
– pinch of salt
– 1 kg of flour (you will have to judge by eye in order to obtain the perfect consistency – watch the video)
– powdered sugar/jam/honey… to serve
– frying oil
– 1 pot
– 1 rolling pin
– Central Asian wavy cutter or any kind of knife
– a sieve with a handle or a large slotted spoon
How to make Boorsok
1) Heat up the milk in a pot. Be careful NOT to bring it to the boil.
2) Add the butter and let it melt.
3) Take the pot off the heat and add the sugar, salt and yeast.
4) Add the flour gradually, kneading at the same time. Use as much flour as you need for the dough to become firm and soft.
5) When the dough is ready (firm, homogeneous, soft and elastic), cover it with a cloth and leave it to settle for 15-20 min.
6) After 15-20 min pour lots of frying oil in a pot (enough for deep-frying) and heat it up. This will take some time.
7) In the meantime, put some flour onto the table/kneading board and the rolling pin. Roll the dough until it’s 4 mm thick.
8) Cut various shapes and remember they will grow during the frying process so don’t make them too big.
9) When the oil is heated (you can test it by putting a small amount of dough inside. If it sizzles it means it’s ready), place your boorsok shapes in the oil and let them fry until they become orange. Make sure you flip them to prevent burning.
10) When they are orange and crispy on both sides, remove them using a slotted spoon or a sieve and place them onto kitchen paper towel to absorb the rest of the oil.
11) Serve with (powdered) sugar, jam or honey OR with cream cheese for a savoury effect.