Kalmyk Tea Day Date in the current year: May 21, 2022

Kalmyk Tea Day Kalmyk Tea Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May in Kalmykia, a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. It was established in 2011 by the People’s Khural (parliament) of the Republic of Kalmykia to preserve and revive Kalmyk folk traditions. The holiday was first celebrated on May 19, 2012.

The Kalmyks are a Mongolian people that live mainly in Russia, directly north of the North Caucasus, whose ancestors migrated to the region from Dzungaria in Northwest China. Upon the arrival, they established the Kalmyk Khanate. Today the Kalmyks are the majority ethnic group in Kalmykia, a republic in the Russian Federation. Interestingly, Kalmykia is the only region in Europe where Buddhism is the predominant religion.

Since the Kalmyks are a Mongolian people, their cuisine has much in common with Mongolian cuisine. For example, traditional Kalmyk tea (jomba) is practically the same as Mongolian tea (suutei tsai). Both drinks are prepared with tea leaves, water, milk, spices, and butter.

Kalmyk tea has a centuries-long history. Since the Kalmyks are a nomadic people, milk has always been an important part of their diet. They combine it with tea to make a beverage with a distinctive flavor that is drunk during meals and throughout the day; Kalmyk tea is so nutritious that it can even substitute for a full meal.

Today, Kalmyk tea is usually made with green or black tea leaves, but back in the day, the tea that the Kalmyks used to make jomba usually came from a tea brick made from low-quality tea leaves and stems that were compressed into a block for easy storage. When needed, some of the tea would be chipped off to make jomba.

Kalmyk tea also calls for an equal amount of whole milk and water, salt, spices (typically nutmeg, bay leaf and peppercorn), and butter. Because of the salt and butter in the drink, foreigners usually have a hard time appreciating the flavor of jomba. It does take some time to get used to, but a lot of people have grown to like Kalmyk tea.

The drink isn’t that difficult to make. If you want to try, start with placing 50 g green tea into a saucepan. If you’re using compressed tea that the original recipe calls for, crush it before proceeding to the next step. Pour 500 ml water over the tea, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for ten minutes.

Add some milk, bring to a boil, then add a little more milk. Repeat this step until you add 500 ml milk into the saucepan. Then add 1 tsp salt, 2 bay leaves, 8 peppercorns, and ½ tsp nutmeg. Let the tea boil for 5–7 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the tea brew under a closed lid for 10 minutes. The traditional way of cooking Kalmyk tea includes scooping it up with a ladle while it is boiling and pouring it back into the saucepan from a low height, but you can omit this step.

Strain the tea, pour it into large bowls, and add 2 tsp butter into each bowl. Jomba is usually served with brined cheese and boortsogs (fried dough foods resembling doughnuts without holes) that you are supposed to dip in tea.

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Category

Cultural Observances

Country

Russia

Tags

Kalmyk Tea Day, cultural observances, holidays in Kalmykia, holidays in Russia, Kalmyk tea, jomba