'Amazing Race Australia': What Is Fermented Horse Milk And Why Is It Fizzy?
The 'Amazing Race' teams were treated to a Mongolian delicacy of fermented mare's milk which was... surprisingly fizzy.
Airag (Айраг) is considered Mongolia's national drink among the nomadic tribes and is made up of fermented mare's milk. Also known in some regions as kumis or lamekh (if you're up on your Dothraki), the drink was just one of the challenges Mongolia had in store for the teams.
Prepared through natural means, the mare's milk is filtered through a cloth then stored in a large sack or bladder with a wooden stirrer inside it.
Aided with a fermentation agent or a 'starter', the bag is kept near the entrance to the yurt or ger and is repeatedly stroked or bumped over several days to keep the liquid moving, prompting the fermentation process.
Similar to Kefir -- fermented milk -- airag has a sour taste with a slight fizz to it due to the carbon dioxide that's released during fermentation.
The teams had to finish an entire bowl and they definitely weren't expecting it to have such... shall we say "unique" qualities?
Sitting in front of two Mongolian elders surrounded by the Khongoryn Els sand dunes, Viv probably put it best when she said, "The fermented milk was... fizzier than we were expecting."
Femi and Nick were determined not to let the interesting qualities of the drink get in the way of the comfortable lead they had on some of the teams.
Agreeing on the game plan of "Stop your sooking and start sipping," the nurses chugged back their bowls of milk to continue on with the race.
But it was Jasmin who struggled the most, fighting back gags as she sipped down the bowl of fizzy, bitter milk.
"It was really challenging," she said, "I was so embarrassed that we had been invited into this ger and, here I am gagging on this milk that this family have provided us with."
Jasmin was not only struggling with keeping the milk down but was also apologising with every burp, retch and gag she did in front of the couple.
Meanwhile, Tim and Rod had a different plan.
"We just had to swallow our pride and swallow that milk," Tim said in his signature eloquent style.
While it may have a slightly confronting taste and sparkle on the tongue, airag is said to have a handful of health benefits and vitamins. Because of the fermented nature of the drink, has a low percentage of alcohol -- which is probably why teams looked so happy after they were done.
Well... most of the teams.