Thursday, March 18, 2010


I was looking forward to my research on Russian food because, for those of us who aren’t Russian, it is a bit of a mystery. Sure, we all know about borscht, but it’s unlikely that Russia’s 142 million people sit around eating borscht day after day. And…it’s a huge country that actually spans two continents, so the food is as diverse as the people. With over 160 nationalities represented, there must be some incredible “melting pot” stuff going on when it comes to cuisine!

Many of the foods we consider Russian are actually French influenced and known as Franco-Russian. Examples are Veal Orloff, Beef stroganoff and Chicken Kiev. Here are a few other main dishes that sounded good to me: Beef Shashlyk is a marinated beef kabob, popular at picnics. Bosartma is stewed lamb in a tomato base. Fish cutlets involve grinding the fish, mixing it with sour cream, egg and other ingredients, then forming a cutlet or patty which is fried.

Hot and cold soups have always played an important role in Russian meals. An age-old favorite is Shchi (pictured at right), which contains cabbage, meat, carrots or parsley roots; spicy herbs like garlic or onions; and sour components, like apples, sauerkraut or pickle water. Rassolnik is a hot soup in a salty-sour cucumber base which contains either veal, beef kidneys or poultry giblets.

Now this came as a surprise to me: mushrooms are a popular ingredient in Russian cuisine, often replacing meat. Here’s a delicious traditional mushroom-based recipe.

200 grams fresh mushrooms
100 grams rice
2 onions
2 Tbs. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

Boil mushrooms in salted water, then drain and rinse. Let water trickle off. Finely chop mushrooms and set aside. Finely chop onion and fry in oil. Boil rice until almost cooked, then let it cool. Mix mushrooms with onion, rice, salt and pepper to taste. Shape into small cutlets and roll in flour. Fry in oil until there is golden skin.Serve with a fresh green salad.

1 comment: