A Simple Recipe of a Makeshift Baikal Soup
© Фото: Первый Байкальский
July, 19

A Simple Recipe of a Makeshift Baikal Soup

The cuisine of the ancient peoples of Lake Baikal is inseparable from the lake. We decided to tell you about several features of the Evenki cuisine and share a recipe of the soup that can easily be cooked right on the lake coast during a hike. Enjoy your meal!

Every nation has its interesting culinary traditions, and they can also reveal the peculiarities of the national perception of the world. The peoples of Siberia, including the Baikal region often have similar preferences in food and the basic ways of its preparation, despite the fact that they can belong to different ethnic groups. It is all about similar climatic conditions of life and the ancient nomadic way of life.

Besides, one can hardly agree with the statement that the Siberian and northern cuisine is extremely monotonous due to the limited set of products. Tunguses (Evenki) consume a lot of useful food ingredients. These are not only meat and fish, but also deer milk, upland game (forest birds such as black grouse, capercaillie, hazel grouse), berries, wild onions, wild garlic...

Distinctive Character of Traditional Evenki Cuisine


- when going hunting or fishing, they tried to never take more food from nature than they really needed at that moment, and they clearly preferred the meat of young and well-fed wild animals to the meat of domestic deer;

- when catching a limited amount of game, they didn’t form the tradition of procuring significant food stock. They basically used only fresh food. However, dried and jerked meat and fish were needed in the second half of winter when it was the most difficult to hunt because of the severe climate;

- they gladly consumed not only meat but also by-products, cooking nutritious, tasty and various dishes from them. They knew much about the advantages of different parts of the carcass, preferring the brisket, rib and hindquarters;

-they loved fat, in fact, the used it in unlimited amounts. The recipes of traditional national dishes necessarily contained fat, including bone fat;

- blood was considered one of the basic components of national cuisine. It is believed that the Evenki cuisine can be called the most “bloody” among the peoples of Siberia and the north. The most favorite was the previously dried blood of a young deer. There are known recipes of sups, second courses, and even desserts that include blood.

Fish Component of the Evenki Cuisine

The ethnographers of the late nineteenth century wrote that the Tunguses “were catching a lot of trout, perch, pike and burbot. Tunguses did not salt this large amount of fish all, they dried it in the sun and then left the fish in the barns. They spread fish into thin slices, put them on grates, interlaced them with hair strings, turning these ropes against the sun; in order to speed up drying of the fish, they were hanging these slices in the upper hole of their dwelling (“chum”), and the fire that was constantly kept at its bottom promoted the rapid smoking of fish; Tunguses called this variety of dried fish “gapchany”.

The fish was boiled, roasted on poles, and dried for the winter. They also liked caviar, often roasting it with fat.

Tykhemin Fish Soup

One of the most useful vitaminic Evenki soups is considered tykhemin - fish soup with caviar.

Its cooking process is quite simple, and is quite suitable for conditions of a hike, right on the spot of successful fishing. Of course, initially, they used a wooden trough and a special wooden fish spoon for cooking tykhemin. But you can cook a delicious dish even without these items.

First cautiously remove caviar from the fish. Then the flesh is separated from the bones: the latter must be used to make the fish broth. Caviar should be crushed and ground to form a liquid homogeneous mass: it should be added to the boiling broth and thoroughly stirred. After that, you need to put small pieces of fish fillet into the broth, bring to a boil, add salt, season it with spices and stir.

Please note that you cannot use caviar of burbot, pike, perch for cooking this soup. Any other caviar will fit in perfectly well.

The soup can only be served hot!

Enjoy your meal!

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