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October, 31, 2017

Instruction: How to correctly Cook and Eat pozas (a kind of steamed dumplings)

“Pozas” or Buryatian “buuzas” are a traditional dish that should be tasted by everyone coming to Lake Baikal. And although this dish has already spread far beyond the Baikal region, it is prepared by all proper rules only on the coast of the lake.

Dough

The dough of a poza is almost the most important part of the dish. It should be elastic and thin, but at the same time withstand the weight of meat and juice and not to be torn during the process of use. Despite such an important role, the dough is cooked quite simply and contains only four ingredients: wheat flour, water, eggs and salt. At the same time, cooks note that you should put a good amount of eggs in dough, since they give the needed elasticity and keep a poza intact.

Filling

A classic poza is filled with the combination of minced meat:  pork and beef in equal parts. You should choose fresh meat from proven vendors, because the taste depends on the quality. An important part of the cooked buuza is juice, there should be from at least one and a half to two tablespoons of it. The juice is provided by onions that are also added to the filling. Experienced cooks also have high requirements to onions: farm and home-grown onions are preferred; they should be fairly solid and fragrant. Salt and pepper are also added to minced meat, in accordance with the cook’s taste.

Cooking process

When the dough and filling are ready, they are combined. The ideal proportion is 30 grams of dough and 50 grams of meat.

The prepared dough is rolled into a flat cake, minced meat is put into its middle, then the dough is pasted up. There is a belief that a buuza must have 33 tucks. Earlier Buryat families even chose a daughter-in-law by this skill:  if a girl made 33 tucks, then she was considered an excellent lady of the house. However, as the cooks say, the number of tucks, in fact, does not affect the taste of the dish in any way.

Before you put a buuza to be boiled in the poza pot or a steam pot, it must be oiled so that the dough does not stick to the bottom of the pot. If you do not like oil, then a poza can be put on a piece of carrot, a cabbage leaf or even a special silicone plate.

Cook pozas for 15-20 minutes. Newly made buuzas take less time, and those that already have stood in the refrigerator for some time should be steam-cooked for 20 minutes.

How to eat them in a proper way

The pozas are traditionally eaten with hands: first you should gently bite it, drink the juice and then finish the rest. It is strictly forbidden to cut buuzas with a knife and pierce them with a fork: all the juice will be simply drained from the dish. It has recently become trendy to pour the juice on a spoon, so that not to burn your mouth with it.

Another modern habit is to eat pozas with soy sauce, mustard or sour cream. But true gourmets like buuzas for their special juice contained inside, and various additives do not allow to taste the juice properly, but they may hide a poor-quality dish where the amount of meat or onions is reduced or even extra oil is added.

Flash facts about pozas

- “Buuza” is always written with double “u” letter. “Buza” with one “u” is a low-alcohol thick and sweet drink made of millet, buckwheat or barley.

- The Buryat word “to buuz” means “to have fun while eating buuzas”.

- A buuza does not differ from a poza. “Poza” is simply the Russian name for the Buryat dish.

- Buuzas can be made either of chopped meat (cut with a knife) or minced meat. The taste does not significantly change.

- You can find buuzas of black color in Irkutsk cafes: cuttlefish ink is simply put in the dough.

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