Russian Traditional Food
Russian food…What is the Russian food? One can say that Russian food is what Russians originally eat. However, the lunch of a person who lives in Moscow varies much from the lunch of a person who lives in Siberian countryside. The cities are always in a hurry and the fast food is the permanent leader there. Meanwhile, nobody will like the taste of a hot dog in villages.
Russians eat various dishes, whilst many are traditional there are many that are common everyday and those that are not so common.
Essential Components of Russian Cuisine:
Russia is mainly a northern country with long-lasting cold winter. Tradionally food was to give more energy and warmth to survive during the winter time. So, the essential components of Russian cuisine are those, which provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely used in food. Nowadays more Russian foods have more vegetables and fruits to give variety and flavour:
- Potato (boiled, fried, baked, potato chops, potato pancakes, potato soup, mashed potato)
- Bread (bread, toasts, bread-crumbs)
- Eggs (boiled, fried)
- Meat (pork and beef – chops, steaks)
- Butter (usually added in all meals and spread on bread)
- Also popular: cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, onions.
Staple diet anywhere is having a piece of Bread, usually Black. It may be considered rude in some places not to accept Bread as part of the meal
Authentic Recipes of the Russian Cuisine:
- Salted cucumbers (soleniye ogurscy)– small or medium size cucumbers which were kept in the salted water with spices for several weeks, traditional vodka snack.
- Salted cabbage (kvashennaya kapusta)– another vodka snack: the pickled cabbage is being kept in the jar for the several days.with berries, salt and spices.
- Herring in Sheepskin (seledka pod shuboi)– small pieces of the herring mixed with the boiled potato, beet, carrot and mayonnaise.
Ingredients: 2 ea thick salted herrings , 5 ea potatoes , 4 ea carrots , 4 ea beets , 5 ea eggs , 400 gr mayonnaise
Boil vegetables until they are ready ( you can boil vegetables in 1 pan). Boil eggs hard. Peel skin from herrings, cut them along the spine. Take all bones away. Cut herring meat into very little pieces and always check for bones. Take a large dish. Put herring meat evenly on the bottom. If you like onion, you can put little pieces of onion on the herring. Then spread mayonnaise evenly (thin layer).Grind potatoes and make the next layer of it. Spread mayonnaise. Use a fork to plane the layers. Then goes carrot (grind, put, spread). Then you do the same with 4 eggs and beets. Spread mayonnaise on the beets and grind 1 egg on it to make the dish beautiful. This salad must look like a cake. Put the dish in the fridge for an hour.
- Fresh vegetables (svejie ovoshy) – the salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Usually made with vinegar or oil.
- Caviar (ikra) ) – red or black. Traditional Russian appetizer. Black one is far more expensive. Usually served on ice. Russians prefer to eat toasts with butter and caviar
- Medley (vinegret) - pieces of herring, chopped beet, cucumber, carrot, potato and oil. One of the few vegetarian salads in national cuisine.
- Boiled beef tongue (yazyk) – slices of the tongue, served with horseradish.
- Pickled mushrooms
- Pickled Cucumbers
- Pickled Tomato Salad
- Borsch – the famous Russian soup made of beet and meat, usually served with sour cream.
There are various types of Borsch
1) Red Borsch with beetroot
2) Red Borsch with beet, cabbage, carrot etc
3) Green Borsch (Shavell) more well known in country areas
Ingredients: 3/1/2c. canned tomatoes , 5or6 med.size potatoes cut in halves ,1 large carrot cut fine, 1 small peeled beet , salt to taste , 1 small onion chopped, butter, 4c. shredded cabbage , 3/4c. sweet cream ,1/2c. fresh green pepper chopped , 2tbs. fresh or dried dills 1 celery chopped fine , 2/1/2 qts. water, 1/1/2c. diced potatoes, black pepper .
Method: Put water to boil in large kettle.Add 1/2 c. canned tomatoes. When water is boiling drop in 5 or 6 med. size potatoes,chopped carrot and the beet. While this is cooking add 3 tbs butter in frying pan. When melted add chopped onion,cook tender but do not brown. Add 3c. canned tomatoes and let simmer with onion and butter until a thick sauce. Set to back of stove. Into a separate frying pan put 2-3 tbs. butter to melt. Add 2c. shredded cabbage and fry.Cook tender but do not brown.Shred another 2c. to add later to the borstch. When potatoes are tender remove them to a bowl.Add 2tbs. butter, mash well,then add 3/4c. sweet cream and mix well and set aside. Add 1/1/2c. diced potatoes to the stock and the remainder of the shredded cabbage. When diced potatoes are tender, add the onion-tomato- sauce, then add the cooked cabbage,and the potato-cream mixture. Add 3 tbs. butter to the borstch. Stir well. Add fresh chopped fine green pepper. Add 3tbs fresh or dried dill. The more fresh dill the better the flavor..Remove beet, one hour later after borstch is ready. Borstch is ready to serve.Serve hot. Serve with chopped garlic in your soup bowl and a fresh piece of bread and butter... Yummy, enjoy... Vegetable soup (shie) - the soup made of cabbage, potato and meat. There is also the specification called "shie postnie" –the same soup without the meat.
- Fish Soup (Uha) – fish soup with carrot, spices and potato.
- Mushroom Soup (grybnoy soup)
- Cold Soup
1 l kvas , 300 g potatoes , 60 g carrot , 30 g turnip , 60 g red radish , 70 g onion springs, 160 g cucumbers , 90 g sour cream , 3 eggs , dill, salt, sugar to taste.
Okroshka is a summer vegetable soup, but can also be made with sausages or meat. It is very refreshing in hot sunny days, served right from the fridge. Peel potatoes, boil them, cool down and cut into cubes. Cut carrot, turnip in cubes and stew in the pan with a little water until they are soft. Cut radish and cucumbers in cubes, chop onion springs. Put all vegetables in a bowl. Add salt and dress with kvas. Add sugar to your taste. Serve with chopped dill and sour cream.
Ingredients: 300 g beef (with or without bones) , 4 ea potatoes , 50 g rice , 1 lg carrot , 2 sm onions , 2 ea pickled cucumbers , 1 small tomato , 20 g parsley , salt to taste , sour cream
Method: Prepare meat broth: Put beef into a large saucepan and cover with 3 l cold water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Remove the grease and froth from the broth surface with a spoon. Add one onion. Cook at low heat for 1 hour. Pan-fry vegetables: Melt one tablespoon margarine in a frying pan. Add chopped onions, carrots and parsley cut into sticks. Cover and saute at low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped tomato and saute for another 5 minutes. Simmer pickled cucumbers: Put chopped pickled cucumbers into a saucepan. Add meat broth covering cucumbers. Cover with lid and simmer at low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add rice to boiling meat broth. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes cut into bars and sauted vegetables. Boil for 10-15 minutes. Add simmered pickled cucumbers and boil for another 5 minutes. Salt can be added by taste. Served with sour cream.
- Sauerkraut Shchi with Mushrooms
- Noodle soup – popular countryside dish made of homemade noodle, potato and meat sometimes.
- Authentic Country Chicken Soup
- Chicken leg, dill, rice, noodles, potato, chicken stock cubes (for extra flavour), salt, carrot
- Simple Chicken Soup-Chicken pieces, carrot, potato
- Beef Stroganov – pieces of beef prepared with cream sauce
To make one gallon Estouffade (can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator or up to three months frozen): 2 lbs. Veal bones , 2 lbs. Beef Bones, 1 Unsmoked ham knuckle, 1 lb. Mirepoix - coarsely cut, 1/2 lb. onion, 1/4 lb. carrot , 1/4 lb. celery , 10 oz. Tomato paste, Sachet d'epices , Salt to taste ( optional) 6 qts. Cold water
Method: Season tenderloin with salt and allspice. Saute' the beef in butter to desired doneness. Remove from pan and keep warm. Lower heat and add 2 Tbs. butter and 2 tbs. of the flour. Add more flour if needed. Fry lightly over moderately low heat until the roux slowly turns a golden straw colour. Gradually add the Estouffade, whisking constantly to avoid lumping. When well blended add mustard and a little pepper. Simmer over medium heat about ten mins. Add sour cream to pan, stirring constantly until desired consistency is reached ( to cover back of a spoon). Reheat meat in the sauce taking care that the sauce does not boil. To make Estouffade: Preheat the oven to 450F. Rinse all of the bones and dry them thoroughly. Arrange the bones in a roasting pan and roast in the oven 30 to 40 mins. until a rich brown colour is achieved. Transfer bones to a stockpot and add ham knuckle. Add water and bring the mixture slowly to a boil. Simmer, skimming the surface as necessary. After about 41/2 hours: Brown the mirepoix and tomato paste in the same roasting pan. when vegetables are soft and very slightly carmelized add to the stockpot. Deglaze the roasting pan with water and add to the stock. Add the sachet d'epices. Simmer an additional hour (approx. six hours in all).
Method: Peel potatoes, wash, cut into cubes and fry in butter until light golden. Slice onion and fry in butter until golden. Cut carrot into small cubes and fry in butter. Cube beef and fry in butter until light brown. In a ceramic pot, put beef, potatoes, onion, carrot, roots, garlic, season with salt and pepper and pour over a little broth. Stew in the oven on average heat for 30 minutes. 10 minutes before, add sour cream and sprinkle with green. Serve Zharkoye with salad from fresh vegetables, pickles, sauerkraut and green.
Ingredients: 3 lb Lamb, cut from leg , 2 sm Onion, finely-minced , 4 lg Garlic, cloves, fine-minced , 2 lg Shallot, minced , 2 tb Parsley, freshly-chopped , 2 1/2 c Pomegranate juice, unsweet, 4 tb Corn oil , 8 ds Cayenne pepper.
Method: Trim away all fat from meat. Cut into 2" chunks. Place in small bowl together with onion, garlic, shallot, parsley, cayenne pepper and pomegranate juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Skewer the meat, using four substantial skewers. Brush with oil. Broil under very high heat, turning often until done. Some prefer it slightly pink (12 minutes). Well done will take about 20 minutes. Remove from skewers and serve on a heated plate with Kasha. VARIATIONS: Include 2 green peppers cut into 12 chunks, 4 tomatoes cut into quarters, and 4 small, white onions, peeled and cut in half. Skewer alternate chunks of vegetable and meat chunks. Proceed according to recipe.
- Sausages – usually served two sausages with ketchup
Method: Combine all ingredients and mix then, let sit over night, mix again and stuff into hogcasing. Bake at 350 deg., approximately 1 hour.
- Moscow Chicken
Method: Grease chicken fillets with salt and fry in onion and mushrooms. Set a pan with oil aside. Place chicken in a baking pot. Add flour in a pan and fry until golden, pour in sour cream and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over chicken, add chopped dill. Make dough and roll out a round to cover the pot. Cover the pot tightly and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at the average heat. Serve in pots with rice for garnish.
- Mushrooms in sour cream
Method: Wash mushrooms in cold water, cut into thin pieces, slicing the mushroom along its length to preserve its form. Place butter in covered pan, add the mushrooms, add some finely chopped onions that have been separately cooked, a little salt and pepper, and cook the mushrooms until they are medium soft, at which point reduce the heat to a very low level. Add beef stock, mixed with flour over very low heat until the consistency of gravy has been reached, to mushrooms and then add sour cream and mix. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Draniki Potato Vareniki Sauerkraut Omelets - usually eaten in the morning
Method: 1. Peel the potatoes and grate them, add flour, sour milk or kefir, egg, salt and mix everything. 2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Lay the potato mass with a tablespoon in separate small pan-cakes (each no more then 10 cm / 4" in diameter). Cook until crisp and browned, then turn on the other side. 3. Serve hot with sour cream.
- Vareniky – it looks like pelmeny however inside the pastry there is no meat but berries, potato or curds Steak (otbivnaya) – beef and pork ones are most popular
Method: Cook potatoes in simmering water until soft and put them through a potato ricer. Saute onion in margarine until very soft, add 1/2 of the onions to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add vegetable oil and enough water to make a soft dough and mix until the dough no longer sticks to the hands. Cover dough and let rest for about 15 minutes. Roll out dough on a floured board to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into small squares and place a dollop of potato mixture in the center of each square. Fold dough, pinch ends to form a triangle. When all are made, put into boiling water and boil for about 10 minutes. When all are cooked, drain and serve with the remaining sauteed onions on top .
- Pelmeny – the small balls of minced meat covered with the pastry
Method: 1. Grind beef and pork twice in meat chopper. Then add chopped onion, salt, and pepper. To make mince meat more tender and juicy, add a bit of milk. Reserve. 2. Mix flour with eggs and milk, salt and oil until a soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface until dough is elastic. 3. Take some dough and make a "sausage" (1 inch in diameter). Divide into pieces (1 inch thick). Roll each piece so that each is 1/16 inch thick. 4. Take a glass or a cup (2 inches in diameter) and make rounds with it's help on the dough. Fill each round with 1 teaspoon of the mincemeat, fold into half-moons. 5. Pinch edges together and connect the opposite sides. Pelmeni can be frozen to be cooked later ( you can keep them in the freezer for a long time), or cooked immediately. 6. To cook pelmeni, boil a large amount of water, as they can stick to each other. Salt water. Carefully drop pelmeni into boiling water. Don't forget to stir them from time to time. Boil for 20 minutes. 5. Served with butter, sour cream or vinegar, and ketchup.
Vareniky – it looks like pelmeny however inside the pastry there is no meat but berries, potato or curds Steak (otbivnaya) – beef and pork ones are most popular
Chops (kotlety) – made of various kind of meat in various regions
Kiev style chicken (kotleta po-kievsky) – the special type of chicken chop with butter inside
Potato with mushrooms - favourite countryside meal
Traditional Garnishes and Dressings in Russia:
Fried potato - potatoes fried in saucepan, sometimes with onion, salt and pepper can be added. Unfortunately, most restaurants serve now french fries instead
Boiled potato in jackets - traditional meal, usually served with salads and sauces
Baked potato - there's a nice fast-food chain in Moscow, called "Kroshka-Kartoshka", they cook nice baked potatoes.
Buckwheat (grechka) - our favourite garnish, unfortunately it doesn't grow in Europe, because of its strange taste, but it's really nice.
- Semolina kasha
Method: Bring milk to boil, stir in semolina gradually. Add butter, sugar and salt. Bring to boil and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve with jam, honey or fruits.
- Rice Kasha with cheese
Method: Wash rice under running water. Fry it in butter until light brown. Pour over water and bring to boil, salt and cook on low heat for 40 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Buckwheat kasha
Method: In the Russia kasha was always made in earthenware crockery. Fill 3/4 of a pot with buckwheat groats, add salt, butter. Pour over boiling water up to the top. Stir in carefully. And put into the well heated oven for 3-4 hours. One hour before finishing, cover the pot with a large pan and turn upside down. A half an hour before serving, put wet fabric round in order that kasha falls off from the pot sides. Serve with cold baked milk or butter.
- Gouryevskaya Kasha
Method: Take a not very deep pan. Put cream (must be dense) into the hot oven. As soon as there is a pink skin on the cream, take it carefully away on the plate. Be careful not to tear. Do it until you have 6-7 skins. Boil a viscous kasha (mush) on milk. Add butter, sugar (2 tb), vanilla, salt and mix very well. Put kasha into the oven to warm up for 30 minutes. Add the rest of baked cream to kasha. Nuts caramelizing: nuts must be caramelized otherwise kasha will be grey and not have a very good taste. Nuts must be tempered (fired) at first. Then put in a very hot water for 10 minutes. After that take the skins off and dry and chop them. Put sugar (1/2 c) in the pan on the heat, add lemon juice, wait until red color and add nuts. As soon as nuts are caramelized, take them out and let cool down. Prepare a baking form. Grease it with butter. Put a little kasha as first layer, then a skin and nuts, chopped canned fruits. Repeat it until all the skins are used. The last layer is made of kasha. Decorate with sugar, fruits and nuts and put the form into the hot oven for 10-20 minutes. Gouryevskaya Kasha is served with apricot puree or any fruit juice.
Soured cream (smetana) – served with most of the soups and fresh vegetables
Ketchup – most popular sauce for the meat dishes
Mayonnaise – served with many salads