It’s literally a case of “blood on your hands” – gyuma or the blood sausages originated in the Tibetan highlands. Historical and geographical indications suggest that “gyuma” is a perfect example of food for survival, during the summer months the yaks accumulated a lot of fat, so for their survival blood had to extracted from their bodies. Instead of wasting, this blood was mixed with ground beef, rice and other ingredients to make the “gyuma” – thus was born the blood sausages of Tibet. Later it was taken to other regions and became a staple amongst the Sikkimese who swear on their “blood sausages.”
Though the gyuma looks like a black coloured, dark ugly mass of processed meat, the taste has a different story to tell! Crunchy, oozing juices with every bite you take and a melt in the mouth feeling interspersed with a grainy feel of the rice or barley that is mixed with the meaty concoction, gyuma is a must try for all foodies.
Blood (yak or beef) : a gallon
Ground beef : 1 kg
Cooked rice or barley : 5 cups
Oatmeal : 2 cups
Lamb casing : 1 kg
Salt : 2 tblsp
Pepper : 2 tblsp
Nutmeg/ Cumin powder : optional
(4 inch long strings to tie the sausages)
If the blood is frozen, defrost it completely. Cook the rice and set it aside to cool.
Clean the lamb casing to remove all the intestinal waste, best done by scrubbing it under running water. The fat however needs to remain as it adds to the taste of the gyuma. The casing should then be turned inside out so that the fatty portion forms of the inner lining of the sausages.
Shake the defrosted blood and mix well, add the ground beef, cooked rice or barley and the oatmeal. Mix it with the spices till it becomes a smooth paste. Keep stirring it so that the blood does not coagulate.
Attach one end of the clean lamb casing to a plastic funnel and start filling the mixture into it. Gently push and squeeze the mixture into the casing until it is filled to the top. Once filled run your fingers along the filled up casing to smother it out and also to remove any air bubbles. Tie the open end with the 4 inch strings.
Once all the sausages are filled and ready, boil a pot of water and add these sausages to the boiling water. Boil them for a while and prick the sausages with a toothpick. Once the blood stops oozing out of these pricks, the sausages are cooked and done. Remove from the water and let it cool.
The Gyuma can then be stored or sliced and fried.
Serve with the Tibetan flatbreads or as an appetiser with your favourite “Chang” (alcoholic beverage made from fermented millet) or the local beer the “Dansberg!”