In Mongolia, tarag is the traditional yogurt, made mainly from the milk coming from yaks or cows.
Yaks are more comfortable in the climatic conditions of Mongolia, being sturdy animals that can easily migrate from one location to another. While it is true that goat or sheep milk can also be used for the making of tarag, these types of milk are rarely used, as there is the need for special conditions to be met in order to milk goats or sheep. The first step in making tarag is to boil the milk. Then good bacteria is added from previous batches, but only when the milk cooled down sufficiently. If the milk is warm enough but it doesn’t burn your hand, then it means that it is right to introduce the bacteria. Both lactic acid bacteria and yeasts were noticed to exist in the tarag, both of them promoting the fermentation process. Believe it or not, tarag is ready in just a few hours, as the Mongolians don’t always have days at their disposal to prepare fermented milk products, due to their nomadic way of life. In most occasions, tarag is served plain, as it is, although one can always add fruits or berries to it and enhance its taste.