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The Northern peoples recognize food as a gift of nature, which carries not only natural benefits, but also medical and ritual. For example, the medicinal properties of plants in the northern latitudes are known for their special power when properly processed. But the processing and storage of herbal medicines required “sedentariness”, so the northern nomads were rarely treated with medicinal plants. Their traditional cuisine includes roots of edible herbs, wild onions, and berries. The Dolgans are a nomadic people of the North and their diet is dominated by deer meat, bringing not only nutritional benefits, but also healthful.

The leading type of traditional economic activity of Dolgan is reindeer husbandry. That is why an important component in the Dolgan diet is deer meat, the biological value of which consists of macro and microelements (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron) and vitamins B3 and B. This meat is easily digested without any biological and vegetable additives. Deer meat, which feeds exclusively on plant foods (reindeer lichen (yagel), branches and leaves of low-growing plants, berries, mushrooms) belongs to environmentally friendly and safe products. It is consumed raw, boiled, dried, charqued (smoked) or frozen. [2]

Fish is eaten by all groups of the population, both reindeer breeders and residents of villages. In autumn and winter, stroganina (slices of frozen fish or meat served cold) is especially popular - frozen fish cut into long shavings: nelma (Siberian white salmon), muksun (whitefish), whitefish. In summer, the most popular dish is raw (freshly caught) fish (sagudai) or lightly salted fish. Boiled fish is eaten at all seasons. The preparation for future use of dried fish known as "yukola", "kardilyak" is also widely preserved.

Wild vegetable and vitamin-bearing plants are suppliers of vitamins, trace elements and other nutrients necessary for normal human life. Dolgans knew about this and were used in the diet as a healthdul food, since many of them contain biologically active substances that contribute to the prevention of certain human diseases.

The most detailed description of the traditional Dolgan cuisine was presented by Anna Alekseevna Barbolina, keeper of Dolgan culture and language, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, standout of education of the Russian SFSR, leading methodologist on Dolgan culture of the Taimyr House of Folk Art. Below you will see described Dolgan traditional dishes from her book “The Kitchen of my Childhood (Dolgan Traditional Cuisine)".

Boiled deer meat - aet kuehe - эт күөһэ.

The washed meat is put in large chunks in cold water and boiled for 30-40 minutes. The foam that appears during boiling is removed with a slotted spoon, and the fat that floats to the surface is also removed and used to toast Dolgan bread or served with meat. Add salt 10 minutes before cooking. The readiness of the meat is determined using a chef's needle (in Dolgan - urubiin). If urubiin freely pierces the meat and no ichor is released from the puncture, then the meat is ready. The meat cooked in this way turns out juicy, with a pleasant aroma and taste.

Especially tasty and nutritious are rich broths made from the meat of domestic deer, specially slaughtered for treats (in honor of the arrival of dear guests, for celebrations on the occasion of the birth of a child, a wedding). Venison is a dietary meat, so it is not cooked for long. The inhabitants of the tundra love venison with blood, without digesting the meat.

Photo source: https://fermaspb.ru/recepti/sup-iz-olenini

Meat soup – aet kues miine - heliei - эт күөс миинэ – һэлиэй

Meat broth was more often used in its pure form, it was not seasoned with anything. They were very rarely seasoned with flour to make it more satisfying. A few spoons (or a handful) of flour were diluted a little with cold water, rubbed so that there were no lumps, then diluted with broth and poured into the total mass, stirring in circles with a wooden spoon (bulaak), brought to a boil and boiled for 20-30 minutes until ready. The table was served in bowls or mugs.

Photo source: The National Accent Portal. URL: https://concours.nazaccent.ru/rezepty2015/text/1529/

Melted reindeer fat – min hyata - мин һыата

The meat of a well-fed deer after cooking gives a good nutritious broth and a lot of melted fat. After the cooked meat has been removed from the hot broth, the melted lard is collected in a separate bowl and served as a component to a low-fat dish in hot form. After each cooking of meat, a decent amount of melted fat is collected. Sometimes melted hot bacon is poured over "aмaha" (amaha) – finely chopped boiled meat. This dish is called "amaha". Melted bone fat is also obtained from crushed (finely beaten) deer bones – оҥуоктартан (onguoktartan).

Deer blood soup - khaan butugaha - каан бутугаһа

As soon as the deer is slaughtered, the blood is drained into a basin or bowl, allowed to stand for a day at room temperature. Then the serum is separated to make blood sausage, the remaining blood is drained into a vat or pot, stirred and boiled for 30-40 minutes. This dish was used in traditional cuisine for the amateur and in the hungry post-war years. During the most stressful work seasons, the daily diet of reindeer herders and hunters is blood soup. Small pieces of frozen blood are dipped into boiling water. When cooking, stir with a wooden stirrer (ytyk) so that there are no lumps. Add salt 10 minutes before cooking. It is served on the table in bowls or in bowls with boiled meat.

Photo source: URL: https://pikabu.ru/story/chukotka_myi_s_toboy_odnoy_krovi_7633256

Blood sausage – choel - чөл

Serum is separated from the settled blood, salted, then the cleaned, washed insides (kutuya, khomorso, byychas, hulukta – mesh, abomasum, intestines) are filled and tightened with sharp special sticks.

Cook the blood sausage and the rest of the insides in salted boiling water for 10-15 minutes. It also happens that the blood is poorly preserved. In this case, the blood is mixed very thoroughly, the prepared insides are filled and boiled. This dish is considered a delicacy. Blood sausage from the caecum, abomasum and stomach is prepared for all national rituals.

Kutuya, karyn – mesh, stomach.Homorso is an abomasum, an internal organ that serves for digestion.Bychas, hulukta – intestines (thick, thin).

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

The inner fat - ithir - итир

Ithir is the internal fat removed from the surface of the deer's stomach. This is done very carefully, immediately after butchering the deer carcass. The stomach is very large, and it is always full of undigested foods, easily squeezed through with fingers, which is completely undesirable.

Bychas in Dolgan are intestines with fat, they are simply well washed and dried. The internal fat is used, like all fats, for frying meat, for cooking cold cuts. Deer fat contains a large amount of saturated fatty acids, which is why it has a fairly high melting point. As you know, the diet of reindeer, especially in winter, is not very diverse, but most of the food eaten contains a lot of vitamins, for example, carbohydrates in the reindeer lichen (yagel).

The value of the internal fat of deer and fish is very well known. The inner fat is stored in special burbot skin bags. Washed and turned inside out dried deer intestines are used for ritual purposes (fed fire) if they are taken from a slaughtered personal deer. Dried ithir and bychas are fried in a frying pan and used as a seasoning for lean hot meat dishes. Melted lard from the intestines is eaten with meat or taken with you for food on the road, so that at any moment with a piece of Dolgan bread you can "starve a worm".


Reindeer milk - uut - үүт

Deer milk is thick, fatty, pleasant to the taste and resembles cream in consistency. It is consumed with tea. In winter, it is frozen, and children are served in small pieces like ice cream. Milk is consumed with tundra cloudberry. Rennet (homorso) is sometimes placed in a vessel with milk, the fermentation process takes place, and it thickens, it is eaten with a spoon. Milk (uut) is used as a healing dish. Mostly children enjoy it, and the older generation drinks with tea.

Stroganina (slices of frozen fish or meat served cold) from the liver, kidneys - ton byar, buer – тоҥ быар, бүөр

After cutting and processing the carcass, the liver and kidneys are drained, cut into strips 50-60 mm wide, placed on grass or snow, then on a clean plywood board and frozen. So, the liver is ready for consumption. At any time, according to need, they take the liver or kidneys, plan them and eat them, dipping them in salt. Sometimes the liver and kidneys are consumed as fresh meat, without freezing. Liver is whittled by amateurs, offered to children and adults with asthenia and large blood loss (women in labor, with trauma with blood loss).

Photo source: Online publication "Khatanga.Russian Federation". URL: https://xn--80aaal3c2at.xn--p1ai/novosti/297-ekzotika-severnoj-edy-2.html

Liver baked in a campfire - ueluu - үөлүү быар

This food is prepared by hunters or teenagers during night duty in the herd. They take a willow twig, prick a piece of liver and bake it near the burning coals of the fire, make sure that it does not burn, turn it over depending on the size of the fire. So, the dish is ready – it is a delicacy, very useful for any organism.

Rib soup - oyogos mine - ойогос минэ

A variety of delicious dishes are prepared from the rib part of the deer. Like any meat, oyogos is thoroughly washed, chopped into pieces so that each rib has meat with fat. Then they are put in a pot with cold water, salted and put on fire. Piercing the oyogos with a fork (urubiin), determine the readiness: if clear juice is released, pull it out into a plate and serve with hot broth. Sometimes boiled oyogos is served as a cold snack. Oyogos is stewed in fat from broths or on the inside. Oyogos is baked over a campfire, like the liver, strung on willow twigs.

Oyogos (agys oyogos), as a deer is slaughtered, hung on a tripod, blood flows from it. In the air, it is covered with a crust, as if it dries, then it is dried, and stored in this form for longer.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Deer's tongue - tyl - тыл

The deer's head is cut up, the tongue is taken out separately and frozen. Tongues are usually intended for a festive table, for this they are thoroughly washed and put in cold water, boiled for 30-40 minutes, and salt is added 10 minutes before cooking. Boiled tongue is consumed both warm and cold, cut into thin slices into a plate and served on the table.

The rich broth from the tongues is used for cooking Dolgan soup – heliei (flour soup). Languages (tylynan) are treated to guests, and children feast on them. In everyday food, it is almost not consumed, it is saved for a special occasion.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Assorted (meat, internal fat, leg brain) - amaha

To prepare this dish, take the already dried fat layer from the intestines (the shell is itir, acha) and cut very finely into pieces on a board so that this mass melts quickly and evenly. After that, it is put in a frying pan and put on the oven, melted, stirring often so that it does not burn. While the fat is melting, boiled deer meat is cut into small pieces (cubes), then mixed with cooked internal fat 5 minutes before cooking. After the pan is removed from the stove, put in a cool place and add frozen bone marrow (hilii), salt to taste. The finished assorted (amaha) is removed from the pan, wrapped in foil or put in a bag made of burbot or pike skin, and stored in a cold place. Thus, this mass cools down, it turns out a very tasty and beautiful multicolored assorted - amaha. The table is served in slices on a plate. This is a festive meal, it is served to the guests.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Fresh meat - ton aet, tobuk, buelde, hilii, irge - тоҥ эт, тобук, бүлдэ, һилии, иргэ

The fore and hind limbs are folded separately when cutting and processing the carcass. Skin is removed from the legs, muscle tissues are cut, muscle fibers (tobuk, bulde) are cut into small pieces and consumed fresh, dipped in salt.

The leg bones, disassembled by joints, are crushed with a Dolgan knife and the bone marrow is extracted. Bone marrow (hilii) is fat, a delicacy. Hilii is consumed fresh, sometimes frozen and served with boiled or dried meat. How fresh meat is consumed by the brain – irge. Most often, irge is frozen and planed as a by-product of the first category in terms of nutritional value.

Calf muscles – bulde – are the most delicious. First, the tendons are separated from them, cleaned of meat and split. Long fibers are cut into short pieces and served, as a rule, before the main meal. One end of the tendon fiber is taken in the teeth and cut off near the lips with a knife. Muscles are eaten and scalded. The brain – irge – is eaten raw. It is considered a very high-calorie and delicious food.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Dried meat - ulukte - үлүктэ

Deer meat is stored for future use – it is dried, receiving ulukte. Dried meat is harvested in spring and summer. If the slaughter is carried out in winter, the meat is frozen and stored until the onset of warm weather.

In the spring, it is put in the snow. Winter meat freezes in a few months, loses a lot of moisture, and drying it does not take much time. In addition, winter meat is more fatty. Exsanguinated meat – pulp (thin or thick edge, upper or inner part of the hind leg), stripped of films and tendons, cut into long pieces 6-8 cm wide and hung outside. As it dries, it is turned over, smoked a little, and then hung out again. And so on until completely dry. Ulukte is stored in a bag, protecting it from moisture. Before serving this dish on the table, other housewives crush it, for this they take a flat stone (dire), a hammer.

The crushed meat is served with bone fat (onuok hyata or hilii). Sometimes the ulukte, without bringing it to complete drying, is cut into small pieces (cubes) and dried on an oilcloth, stirring often, turning it over. Some housewives add a little salt to the meat for ulukte. Soup is cooked from dried meat (ulukte) in the absence of fresh. Ulukte can be eaten without fat, like sunflower seeds.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Deer heart - hurek - Һүрэк

The heart is a particularly high–calorie and satisfying meal. It is cooked for a short time, until it is fully cooked. Deer heart (hurek) – a by-product of the first category in terms of nutritional value – is used as a delicacy.

Photo source: URL: https://www.yaplakal.com/forum30/topic1536404.html


The frozen heart (ton hurek) is whittled, consumed as a fish stroganina. The heart is fried. The inner fat (ithir) is cut into small pieces, put in a frying pan.

Cut the heart into thin plates and fry for 7-10 minutes. A few minutes before cooking, salt is salted and served on the table. The heart should not be overcooked, as it loses its juiciness and becomes hard. The heart (hurek) is boiled for 7-10 minutes, without digesting, so that it is juicy. The boiled heart is served both warm (immediately after removal from the broth) and cold.

Photo source: The kitchen of my childhood (Dolgan traditional cuisine) / author-comp. A.A. Barbolina; ed. V.G. Zavarzin. – Krasnoyarsk: OOO "New Equipment and Technologies", 2022. – 72 p. – (Preserving the lessons of the ancestors). – ISBN 978-5-98708-150-1

Bone broth and jelly - onuok miine - oҥуок миинэ

Dolgans are very practical, economical, they knew well that venison is a full–fledged high-calorie product with a high content of vitamins and trace elements, so they used everything – even processed bones, extracted fat and got rich broth, made jelly.

To do this, the bones of the fore and hind limbs (periarticular) were collected separately in a bag, the hooves were cut up, and all the bones were collected after each cooking of meat. When a lot of bones accumulated, they were crushed and put into a large tank or cauldron together with muscle tissues, muscle fibers, meat trimmings and cooked for a long time (5-8 hours), periodically removing fat. This made it possible to extract soluble substances from the bones as much as possible and destroy them minimally. Then they pulled out pieces of meat, muscle fibers, sugar bones and poured thick broth, left to cool in deep bowls – this is how jelly was obtained. Hot broth and thickness were served to the elderly. With such cooking, a lot of bone fat was obtained, which solidified, and it was used with boiled or dried meat, Dolgan bread (koetoeguu) was dipped into it or consumed in frozen form as butter.

Hare dishes - kuobaktan astar - куобактан астар

Hare soup - kuobak miine - куобак минэ

The skin is removed, the internal organs are extracted, exsanguinated, the carcass is cut into pieces, thoroughly washed, put in a saucepan and poured with boiling water. Bring to a boil, salt and cook for 35-40 minutes over low heat, periodically removing the foam that appears on the surface of the broth. Then the broth is seasoned with flour, and Dolgan soup is obtained. The pieces of meat are laid out in a large dish and served on the table. It is served separately with soup in bowls. Hare meat (kuobak ete) is considered a dietary dish, therefore it is very popular at all times.

Fish dishes - baliktan astar - балыктан астар

Fish is a favorite and obligatory dish in the Dolgan diet. Broad whitefish, whitefish, Arctic cisco, burbot, and lake salmon are caught in the lakes. Fish contains proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. It contains a lot of phosphorus, which the human body needs. The fish has a tender flesh, and it is easily absorbed by the body.

Fish oil is famous for two things – not a particularly pleasant taste and exceptional benefits for the human body. Fish is not only dried and air-dried, but also frozen or fat is obtained from fish. There are many ways of cutting fish, each of which is aimed at obtaining a specific end product. Despite the differences in the types of products obtained, the methods of butchering are basically similar. When cutting, first remove the scales or skin from the fish. It is recommended to peel the fish from the scales on the day when you gut it. But first, wash the fish in water for a few seconds to soften the scales and mucus. The scales must be removed from the tail side. First, the fins are cut around to a depth of 1 cm and break out of the body, but simple cutting is allowed.

Evisceration is most common and is used for most fish species. Abdomen is cut between the pectoral fins from the head to the anus, the insides are completely removed, the abdominal cavity near the spine is cleaned of blood clots, the head is not yet cut off.

Photo source: Delvaneo Website. URL: https://delvaneo.ru/kulinarnye-retsepty/sposoby-i-priemy-razdelki-ryby.html 

Рис. №8 Стадии разделки щук на филе

Fried fish in small pieces - baarki - бааркы

Fish (broad whitefish, whitefish, big powan, trout, char) are processed and cut into fillets with skin without bones. The bellies are strung separately, allowed to dry slightly (hung on poles for 8-10 hours). It is better to cook baarky from slightly dried fish – moisture evaporates from raw fish for too long. The prepared fish, bellies are cut into portions, then put in a preheated frying pan, sprinkle with salt and fry until an amber crust of golden color forms, stirring, crushing into small pieces. This dish is cooked for a long time – until the mass becomes dark golden in color. This is a hearty and delicious dish, which is also well stored. Baarky, made from only bellies, is especially tasty. Previously, the baarky was tightly stuffed into cauldrons and buried in the ground – so it was stored for a very long time. Baarky is harvested in large quantities in enameled dishes, filled with fish oil. This precious dish is stored for a very long time, used as a healing remedy in winter. Baarky is considered a delicacy for Dolgans, they are treated to guests.

The “duty” dish - kabardaak - кабардаак

The first option: sometimes, when the fish is dried in bad weather, it does not dry well and can spoil. To prevent the yukola (sun-dried fish) from spoiling, kabardaak is made from it. Fins and darkened areas are cut off from the fish layers. A small yukola is cut in half, a large one is cut into several pieces. Put it in a flat large saucepan and, adding a little fish oil, put it on the fire, closing the lid. The mixture is constantly stirred with a wooden spoon, crumbled so that it is a homogeneous mass, then caviar is added. If the mass is a little dry, add fish oil and bring it to readiness, stirring constantly so that it is creamy in color.

The second option: after washing, the gutted fish is plastered – cut in half along the spine, and fillets without bones are obtained. The prepared fish is cut into portions, then put in a preheated frying pan, greased with fat, if there is caviar, then it is also used together with fillets. The dish is salted and fried until cooked, stirring constantly. For this dish (kabardaak), all kinds of fish are used, even those that lag behind the bones (slightly laid down). This is the duty dish of housewives. If there are a lot of fish, then the caviar is collected separately and kabardaak is prepared from it. Kabardaak from caviar is a delicacy.