New rituals for the New Year

It’s December 31st and you’re about to experience your first New Year’s Eve in Moscow.

As soon as the guests arrive, the vodka comes out and the toasting starts. Russian toasts are a spontaneous, informal affair, but there are a few that are mandatory. You drink to the old year with the hope that everything good that happened will continue into the future, while anything bad stays in the past. Before you know it, the television is showing the Kremlin clock tower striking midnight and the president congratulating the country. You write out a wish on a piece of paper, set the paper on fire and drop the ashes into one of the glasses of champagne being passed around — a sure recipe to getting what you want in 2010.

The rest of the night is only remembered as a blur — you all went outside to shoot off fireworks, sing songs, have a snowball fight...and you came back indoors. What gives comfort to your aching head, however, is the thought that there is nowhere to hurry to the following morning. The whole country will be nursing a hangover right along with you. And when it passes, there will be ten more days of vacation to do it all over again.

We offer a review of some essential dishes for the New Year’s table from Russia Now.

Cook one and share your opinion!

Salad "Olivier" (Оливье, pronounced "olivier")

Salad Olivier is known all over the world, it is also called Russian salad in some countries. Olivie is a simple must on the New Year table, as well as on 8th of March and any other special event with family gatherings. Main difference in versions come from meat kinds - poultry, veal, beef or sausages.


* 5 ea potatoes
* 3 ea carrots
* 4 ea eggs
* 1 pound boiled meat
* 1/2 pound green peas
* 2-3 ea dill pickles (you can use fresh cucumbers)
* salt to your taste
* 1/2 pound mayonnaise
* measures conversion [+]


Boil potatoes and carrots in skin (it helps to keep vitamins), then cool them down and peel them. Boil eggs and boil meat. Chop potatoes, carrots, eggs, meat dill pickles into 1/2 inches squares. Add green peas and salt. Trust your own taste, everything must be in proportion. Stir mayonnaise only for the part of salad you are going to eat. It will be kept better without it. Mix the salad and refrigerate for a while. If you want your salad a little tender, mix a part of mayonnaise with an equal part of sour cream. Bon appetit!

Mushroom Julienne (Грибной жульен, pronounced "Gribnoy juliene")


200 grams wild mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced. Obviously, the mushrooms make the dish, so be sure that you use more flavourful ones such as shitake or chanterelle. Mix with portobello or button mushrooms if you like.

- 3 onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoon flour
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 100 millilitres 20pc sour cream
- 100 grams grated cheese - Emmental works well but similar cheeses will do.
- salt, ground black pepper to taste


1. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.

2. Add mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper.

3. Sautee for 5-7 minutes, adding flour towards the end. Remove when flour begins to turn a golden brown.

4. Add sour cream, stir to mix, and cook until hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Transfer mushroom mixture to a heatproof baking dish or pan (in Russian restaurants, small aluminum ramekins are used) and sprinkle top with cheese.

6. Broil casserole until cheese is melted and lightly browned and bubbling on top.

7. Serve immediately.

Herring Under a Fur Coat (Селедка под шубой, pronounced "selyodka pod shuboy")


- 2 skinless, salted herring fillets
- 2 medium-sized beetroot
- 2 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 3 eggs
- 1.5 cups mayonnaise
- Salt o Black pepper


Boil eggs until hard.
Boil carrots, potatoes and beetroots until tender.
Peel onions, then steep in boiling water. After 5 minutes, pour into a strainer and hold onions under cold water for 1 minute.
Let boiled vegetables cool. Clean potatoes and carrots and grate into separate bowls.
Peel and grate beetroots in a separate bowl.
Remove shells and grate eggs.
Chop herring into small pieces and add pepper.
On a large plate, spread out a layer of grated potatoes, salt and cover with a layer of mayonnaise. Add a layer herring, then onions, carrots and eggs, salting each layer and topping it with a coating of mayonnaise. Repeat the process, without herring, until you have at least two layers.
Cover everything with a layer of grated beetroot, on top of which you spread a thick coating of mayonnaise. A final layer of grated egg yolk can be added for decoration.
Refrigerate for 5 hours and serve in slices, like a cake.

Pickled Tomatoes (Маринованные помидоры, pronounced "Marinovanny pomidory")


- Tomatoes of varying ripeness (red or green)
- Dill umbrellas with seeds
- Horseradish leaves
- Cherry leaves
- Blackcurrant leaves
- Garlic cloves
- Tarragono Summer savoury
- Coarse grain salt
- Water
- Sterilised jars.


1. Sort tomatoes by size and ripeness, remove stems, wash in cool water.

2. For every 5kg of tomatoes use 75g dill, 30g horseradish greens, cherry leaves and blackcurrant leaves (donґt worry if you canґt find all of these leaves: while all are desirable, any one of three will do fine), 6-7 garlic cloves (peeled), as well as a half sprig each of tarragon and savory.

3. The amount of salt required for pickling depends on the ripeness of the tomatoes. Green or brown tomatoes need 70-80g of salt per litre of water. Red tomatoes need 100g of salt per litre.

4. Line the bottom of a sterilised jar with one third of the spice/herb/garlic mixture, with dill at the bottom.

5. Place tomatoes neatly on top of the spices until the jar is half full.

6. Place another layer of spice mixture on top of tomatoes, and then add one more layer of tomatoes. Place remaining spice mixture on top.

7. Add salted water, making sure tomatoes are completely covered, and seal jar.

8. Store for 2-3 months at 5 ºC. (Check periodically. If mould has started to form, open the jar, drain tomatoes and wash off mould in cold water. Make another batch of salted water, using 15-20pc more salt, and store once again.)

9. Open and enjoy. Remember, you should use a fork to extract the tomatoes.

Tapas, Russian-style (Пирожки, pronounced "Pirozhki")


- 1 lb. 11 ounces dough
- 1 small head of cabbage
- 2 tbs. milk
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- 3 tbs. butter
- 1 sprig of parsley, finely sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg


1. Place thinly sliced cabbage into a bowl and add boiling water.

2. Place cabbage into strainer, drain water.

3. Heat butter in a pan, then add cabbage and fry for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.

5. Roll dough into a thin sheet. Using a glass, cut out circles from dough. To each circle, add 1 tablespoon of filling. Fold edges of dough, forming an elliptical shape.

6. Let bake for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees, then brush with egg.

7. Let bake for 20 more minutes.

Piroshki with meat (Пирожки с мясом, pronounced "Pirozhki s myasom")


* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt
* ground black pepper to taste
* dried dill weed to taste
* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water
* 1 cup milk
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 cups oil for frying


1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until evenly browned; drain. Stir in the onion and cook with the beef until translucent. Sprinkle in salt, pepper and dill weed to taste. Allow to cool before using.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water and place in a warm location until frothy, about 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the milk and gently whisk in the eggs, oil, sugar and salt. Remove from heat.
3. Place half the flour in a large mixing bowl and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Then add the yeast solution alternately with the remaining flour, stirring after each addition. Mix well. Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to the bowl. (Note: Start with the 4 cups of flour. You may need to add more, a little at a time, as you knead the dough). Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Set in a warm location and allow to rise until doubled in volume.
4. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Pinch off pieces approximately the size of golf balls. Roll the pieces into disks about 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter.
5. Fill center of each disk with a heaping tablespoon of the cooled meat mixture. Fold disks over the mixture and firmly pinch edges to seal. Arrange on a flat surface and allow to sit approximately 10 minutes.
6. In an large, heavy skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Deep fry the piroshki in batches until golden brown on one side; gently turn and fry the other side. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

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Russian Garden Salad (Салат с огурцами и помидорами, pronounced "Salat s ogurcami i pomidorami")


* 10 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
* 4 tomatoes, chopped
* 1 large cucumber, sliced
* 1 onion, sliced
* 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
* 1 tablespoon salt
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 cup sour cream


Toss the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and parsley together in a large bowl; season with salt. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the salad; stir. Add the sour cream and mix until evenly coated.

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Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup (Грибной суп, pronounced "Gribnoy soup")


* 5 tablespoons butter, divided
* 2 leeks, chopped
* 2 large carrots, sliced
* 6 cups chicken broth
* 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
* 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* fresh dill weed, for garnish (optional)


1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mix in leeks and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Pour in broth. Season with dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Mix in potatoes, cover, and cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but firm. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
2. Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the mushrooms 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir into the soup.
3. In a small bowl, mix the half-and-half and flour until smooth. Stir into the soup to thicken. Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh dill to serve.

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Apple Cake (Шарлотка, pronounced "Sharlotka")


* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/3 cup cream
* 4 large apple - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
* Struesel Topping
* 2 tablespoons cold butter
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter an 8 inch square baking dish.
2. Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir together the egg with the cream and gently mix into the flour until a soft dough has formed. Press into prepared baking dish. Layer the apples into the dish overlapping, in neat rows. Prepare streusel by mixing the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.
3. Bake in preheated oven until apples have softened, and topping has browned, about 25 minutes.

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* 1 glass (200 g) sugar
* 3 ea eggs
* 10 oz butter
* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 tsp of baking soda


Mix all the ingredients and use flour to make a soft consistency. Take a non-stick tin and put the dough in it. Make it smooth and then put into the hot oven for 25-30 minutes. When the cake is ready, you can put jams, jelly, whipped cream, or ice cream all over the top.

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Ukha (Russian Fish Soup)


* 4 cups water
* 2 potatoes, cubed
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
* 4 ounces cod fillets, cubed
* 1 lemon, juiced
* salt and pepper to taste


Put water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, onion and parsley. Heat for 10 to 15 minutes and add the fish. Heat for 10 more minutes, then squeeze in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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