Traditional cuisine of deerherders


Reindeer have always been considered one of nature’s greatest gifts to the Nenets, Khanty and Mansi peoples. These animals are used in many parts of their daily life. They use their hides to make clothes and build places to live, as well as use the creatures as a means of personal transport and to move heavy loads. The animals’ meat and blood also play a primary role in these people’s traditional cuisine.

Reindeer have always been considered one of nature’s greatest gifts to the Nenets, Khanty and Mansi peoples. These animals are used in many parts of their daily life. They use their hides to make clothes and build places to live, as well as use the creatures as a means of personal transport and to move heavy loads. These indigenous peoples make one of the main tools they use in reindeer breeding and herding, the «arkan», a type of lasso, by braiding together strips of deer hide. They carve knife handles, along with other household items, out of the antlers and use their tendons as a type of durable thread used to make snares and nets. In the olden days, parents even made toys for their children out of reindeer antlers. The animals’ meat and blood also play a primary role in these people’s traditional cuisine. RTG TV host Nadezhda Lebedeva travelled to Andreyevsky Lake, located 25 kilometres from the city of Tyumen, where she visited an ethnographic community of indigenous Northern minorities. Here, under the guidance of experts of Nenets, Khanty and Mansi cuisine, she prepared a reindeer soup with flatbread made from reindeer blood, a «Salamat» porridge and an aromatic tea made from wild plant leaves. She also learned about the many cooking rituals practiced by these Northern peoples.