#QuarantineCooking: 7 simple Russian dishes requiring only 7 ingredients

When going food shopping is no longer easy, when cooking meals for oneself and one's family is practically a full-time job, it’s time to turn to some time-tested recipes that require as few ingredients as possible.

1. Canned fish salad

The beauty of this salad is that it works with practically any canned fish. In Russia, cod liver salad is served even for the New Year and other holiday meals.

Recipe: With a fork mash the contents of a tin of canned fish (salmon, mackerel or cod liver). Dice two hard-boiled eggs. Boil two tablespoons of rice and let it cool. Dice onions or chives. Mix all the ingredients, add salt, pepper to taste and season with mayonnaise.

Read more: Taste the spirit of spring with the popular Soviet ‘Mimosa’ salad

2. Sorrel soup

Sorrel soup is similar to traditional Russian cabbage soup, except that instead of cabbage it’s made with fresh or frozen sorrel. This soup does not require meat. You can decorate it with an egg cut in half. Sorrel soup takes just 30 minutes to cook.

3. Meatballs

This is a win-win option for families with children. With meatballs, children can be persuaded to eat meat, rice and onions. Meatballs work equally well on their own or with a side dish - boiled rice or potatoes. In Russia, meatballs made with long-grain rice are also known as 'hedgehogs' because their protruding rice grains resemble quills.

Recipe: Peel and chop an onion (1 pc), mix it with minced meat (500 g), half-cooked rice (100 g) and a raw egg; add salt and form meatballs with your wet hands. Place the meatballs in a baking dish, pour water on top with tomato paste (1 cup) and a pinch of salt, then cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes. Serve with greens and sour cream.

4. Potato cakes

Potato cakes can serve as an afternoon snack or as a side dish with meat or fish served for lunch or dinner. They go well with different sauces, sour cream or salad.

Recipe: Peel potatoes (1 kg), cut them into small cubes and boil in salted water. Drain the water, add butter (40 g) and mash the potatoes. Let the mashed potatoes cool, add eggs (2 pcs), flour (35 g), salt and pepper; mix everything thoroughly. With your wet hands, make cakes and put them on a frying pan with heated vegetable oil. Fry the cakes on both sides until they’re covered with a golden brown crust.

Read more: 10 Russian dishes made with potatoes that you didn’t think possible

5. Stewed cabbage with meat (solyanka)

Do not confuse this solyanka with the soup of the same name! This is a second course made of cabbage and several types of meat. In Soviet times, a version of this dish based on sausages was served in the army and other canteens. These days, when cooked with good meat, it is quite a decent dish to treat your loved ones to.

Recipe: Fry bacon (100 g) in vegetable oil in a deep pan or in a wok so the bacon releases fat. Then add small pieces of pork (600 g), fry until a crust appears. Take the meat out of the pan for a while, fry diced onions (2 pcs) and carrots (2 pcs), add tomato paste (50 g), water and shredded cabbage (2 kg), and then put the meat back in. Add salt and leave to stew for 40-50 minutes.

Read more: Bigus: The Polish dish on the Red Army’s menu

6. Syrniki with raisins

Syrniki, or curd cheese pancakes, are a favorite choice for breakfast or an afternoon snack for many children. Some say they should be cooked without flour, while others make syrniki with flour and baking soda so that the dough rises. The main thing is to make sure the curd mixture for your syrniki is not too liquidy.

Recipe: Steam raisins (1 handful) in hot water, allow them to dry. Pass cottage cheese (500 g) and sugar (2-3 tbsp) through a sieve, add flour (3 tbsp) and eggs (2 pcs), knead the dough, add raisins and mix. Sift flour (2-3 tbsp) on the work surface. With your wet hands, form syrniki, roll each in flour. Leave for 10 minutes. Then roll them in flour again. Heat vegetable oil in a pan, then fry the syrniki for 2 minutes on each side. Serve hot with sour cream.

7. Milk shortcakes

Compared with present-day sweets, milk shortcakes may seem a bit bland, even though they have quite a lot of sugar. But in Soviet times shortcakes were a favorite dessert for millions of schoolchildren. 

Recipe: Beat softened butter (100 g) with sugar (200 g), add an egg, milk (80 ml), baking powder (10 g) and vanilla sugar (0.2 g). Add sifted flour (400 g) and quickly knead soft dough. Roll out a layer 6-7 mm thick, cut out shortcakes with a cookie cutter or a glass. Place the shortcakes on a baking sheet covered with parchment and bake in an oven preheated to 180-200 degrees for 15 minutes. As soon as the shortcakes become a little brown on top, take them out. It is important not to overcook them, otherwise they’ll become tough.

Read more: 5 Russian recipes for fasters and vegetarians

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