Echpochmak used to be a traditional food of nomads: people would put raw meat stuffing into a triangle-shaped pastry and pour hot broth through a special hole, so it became a real hot dish. Nowadays, echpochmak is considered to be a trademark of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Before the Russians discovered tea, sbiten was the main drink to warm up during the cold season. Honey was dissolved in boiling water with herbs (mint, sage, etc.) and spices (cardamom, cloves, cinnamon). Sbiten is especially tasty with pryaniki (gingerbread) and homemade cookies.
In Dagestan, chudus are as popular as chebureks on Black Sea coast. It’s a thin or puffy flatbread with meat or vegetable fillings, cooked in a dry pan and smeared with butter or oil.
Recipes for okroshka can be found in cookbooks since the late 18th century. Classic okroshka is made with finely chopped vegetables, meat and herbs with white kvass (not sweet). Later, a number of alternatives to kvass appeared - mineral water, kefir, ayran and other dairy products.
Russian kids eat this porridge for breakfast at home, in kindergartens, schools and canteens. For many Russians, mannaya kasha conjures the best and worst childhood memory all at once. One the one hand, this porridge can contain lumps, but, on the other, the milky semolina kasha is always served with jam. So tasty!
This traditional dish of Karelian and North-Russian cuisine got its name after a small purse in Old Russian (‘kalita’), which it resembles in shape. The fillings for kalitki, essentially pies made of unleavened rye dough, can be very different: cereals, mashed potatoes, berries, etc.
In old times, kalach was the most beloved Russian fast food. This bagel-like bread was baked usually in the form of a “kettlebell” with a “handle” to hold. Local kalaches can be tried today in the towns of Kolomna, Tobolsk and Murom.
Adygei cheese is a soft white kind of cheese made from cow’s milk. It is produced by Circassians in the Republic of Adygea. This cheese is often added to salads and soups. You can also bake meat and fish with it or make syrniki, cheesecakes and other desserts.
In Soviet times, you could find these cookies in every school cafeteria and in any grocery store. Now, it seems completely uncomplicated, but the simplicity of the shortbread dough is offset by the nuts, so the more peanuts - the tastier.
These pies with a fish filling are traditionally baked open, as if “undone” on top (hence the name). Almost any fish will do, but trout or salmon are often used for festive occasions.
Sour berries in a “snowy” and very sweet shell that bursts in the mouth - this is how many remember this dessert in a cardboard box from childhood. And it’s still sold in this packaging today. If you make it yourself, you can use lingonberries instead of cranberries, as well.
Milk mushrooms, white mushrooms, chanterelles are usually used for pickling. Salted mushrooms are served as an appetizer and also added to soups, salads, used as a filling for pies and pancakes.
Tsar porridge - this is what Russians call the ancient way of cooking this porridge with mushrooms or meat. Pearl barley was highly valued by the royals. It was even served at the coronation of Nicholas II. This recipe with mushrooms was one of Peter the Great’s favorites. And it was he who introduced pearl porridge into the army’s diet.
This veggie appetizer became popular in the 1970s thanks to the famous Soviet comedy called ‘Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession’. The eggplant caviar was shown there as a very rare “overseas” delicacy that was worthy of a prominent place at the tsar’s feasting table. This scene was so popular that many Russians still refer to eggplant caviar as “overseas”.
Kovrizhka resembles a large soft gingerbread with the addition of spices, honey, raisins and candied fruits. Foreign “relatives” of kovrizhka include the German Stollen and English gingerbread.
This is a dish of the Udmurt cuisine, reminiscent of a vatrushka or a small pizza. Perepechi can have meat, mushroom or vegetable fillings, such as cabbage or nettle.
This wedding Slav bread is considered to be a symbol of happiness and abundance. It is traditionally decorated with ears molded from the bread (for prosperity), clusters of guelder rose (for kids), two rings or a pair of swans (as a symbol of fidelity). The bride and groom are the first to take a bite of the karavay and then they share it with all the guests, as if sharing their happiness.
A kurnik is a traditional meat pie that was baked by the Don and Kuban Cossacks for weddings and, later, the recipe spread throughout Russia. Most often, the filling was chicken (“kuritsa” in Russian) - that’s why it was called kurnik. However, in the north, kurniks are also prepared with fish.
This green soup is boiled with lots of fresh (or thawed) sorrel with potatoes and eggs. It’s also often eaten with chicken or beef broth. The main thing is not to forget sour cream and fresh herbs when serving!
This fermented dairy product is made from fermented cow’s milk. They are similar in composition, but ryazhenka is better digested. Unlike milk, ryazhenka has a delicate creamy hue and caramel flavor. Previously, ryazhenka was prepared at a low temperature in an oven from milk and sour cream, but now the technology has been simplified - ryazhenka is made from milk and special ferments.
A classic of the Soviet New Year’s Eve feast! Halves of boiled eggs are stuffed with yolks, herbs, mayonnaise (of course!) and decorated with red or black caviar.
In the Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, the khychin flatbread with various fillings is the real king of the table. Balkar khychins are thin flatbreads, while Karachai ones are made from puffy dough with kefir or milk. Mostly, they are stuffed with potatoes, herbs and meat.
This Russian Easter bread has a cylindrical shape, with the top decorated with icing or powdered sugar, raisins, nuts and candied fruits. Traditionally, kulichsare consecrated along with eggs and Paskha cottage cheese on the eve of Easter.
This cottage cheese dessert is made once a year - at Easter. The Paskha (Easter) cottage cheese is shaped like a truncated pyramid, which symbolizes the Tomb of the Lord. In addition to cottage cheese, Paskha contains butter, sour cream, eggs and sugar. Raisins, candied fruits and lemon zest are also added to taste.
This is a variation of camping porridge - when a tasty and hearty dish is prepared from a minimum number of ingredients. Just fry meat scratchings or bacon with onions and then stew it all with buckwheat and spices.
Something sweet, anyone? This ancient Russian dessert will appeal to all apple enthusiasts. Take an apple, cut out the core, stuff it with cottage cheese and raisins and sprinkle cinnamon on top or add some honey for sweetness. Then bake until ready!
Fake crab, you’ll say… and you’ll be right. Nevertheless, this Soviet salad with rice, canned corn and crab sticks (which consist of minced fish and starch) always appears at the most solemn moments in Russia.
Shangi look similar to vatrushki, but they are most often baked with a savoury filling. Originally, they were cooked with pea porridge and sour cream, but now more common are versions with mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, buckwheat and eggs. Eat shangi hot with soup, tea or milk.
If a couple of bliny are not enough, you can always make a multi-layer cake. And for this you don’t have to wait for Maslenitsa week. For one cake it is enough to cook 20 pancakes, grease them with cream based on sour cream and leave the cake in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. The delicious cake for tea is then ready.
Stuffed peppers always look spectacular, and due to the heat treatment, the stuffing has time to soak up the flavor of the peppers and the sauce, whether it is broth, cream, tomato or sour cream sauce. The most common filling is minced meat with or without rice, but peppers with cheese or vegetables are no less tasty.
This cake appeared in 2015 as a gastronomic symbol of the Russian capital. The ‘Moscow cake’ includes meringue, hazelnut and boiled condensed milk. The cake is covered in red icing, with a depiction of the statue to the founder of the city, Yury Dolgoruky, and the inscription “Moscow” made of white chocolate on top.
A folk dish for lazy chefs: make a roll from tvorog dough, cut into pieces, add any jam, seal them and boil in boiling water. Fantastic result!
This apple pie was often baked in the family of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. The peculiarity of the desert is in a delicate sour cream dough. Fall types of apples suit the best. Fans of Tsvetaeva’s poetry usually celebrate her birthday on October 8 by making her favorite pie.
In the 11-12th centuries, the word ‘ukha’ was the name of almost any soup implying a broth (mushroom, chicken, etc.). Eventually, in the 18th century, ukha became a fish dish. Modern ukha is a soup with a clear broth of one or more kinds of fish with onions, potatoes, carrots and spices. Fishermen cook ukha over a fire and add some vodka at the end.
The Russian New Year is impossible without this salad! Several layers of canned fish (most often salmon or saury/mackerel to taste), grated egg whites and yolks, cheese and greenery - and your Mimosa is ready.
An ancient Russian delicacy, pastila has been known since the 14th century. Its homeland is most often called the city of Kolomna near Moscow. Pastila is made from apples, with honey and sometimes egg whites.
A tender dessert made of fruit puree, named after Zephyrus, the ancient Greek god of the west wind, the messenger of spring. A zephyr (a kind of hardened marshmallow) is the younger sibling of the pastila, which differs not only in shape, but also in the use of sugar instead of traditional honey.
Barankiare baked in the form of a circle or an oval, 7-10 cm in diameter. A baranki’s main feature is its glossy surface, thanks to the unique cooking method: they’re boiled first, then dried and only then baked. They symbolize the sun, which is why the Slavs so eagerly decorated their homes with garlands of baranki or hung them on the samovar.
Bubliki are similar to baranki, but they are larger - they reach up to 20 cm in diameter. The dough is softer, thus, bubliki can’t be stored for months like baranki.
This soup has an unusual sour-salty taste - it’s all about the pickles, olives, lemon and, sometimes, kvass that are added to it. There are three types of solyanka: meat, fish, and mushroom. During the Soviet era, solyanka was even sold as instant soup in cans.
The Leningrad cake is based on shortbread cakes soaked in butter cream and decorated with chocolate glaze. The most delicious thing is the nut crumb coating on the sides. The cake was first made in the famous Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) cafe ‘Sever’ (“North”), which still operates.
In ancient times, kissel was a separate dish made from fermented oatmeal with water - that is, something like a pudding. Modern kissel is a thick fruit and berry drink with starch. In stores, it is sold in the form of briquettes that need to be dissolved in water, but children love to chew on them just like that.
This dish from the Tatar and Bashkir cuisines was a popular street food in Soviet times. Fried doughnut-style dough stuffed with minced meat were in great demand at train stations and not only.
In Russia, varenye (jam or preserves) can be made with many things: berries, fruits and even pine cones. In Astrakhan Region, watermelons are also used - such varenye is called nardek or “watermelon honey”.
Crispy cucumbers salted with garlic and dill are a traditional Russian snack eaten when drinking vodka and cucumber brine is allegedly a cure for a hangover. In addition, cucumbers are good as an appetizer with potatoes, they are used in salads (vinaigrette) and soups (rassolnik).
Many people associate this dessert with childhood. To get crunchy waffle tubes with boiled condensed milk in Soviet times was a real treat! They were not often available for sale and a personal waffle griddle was a luxury.
Cabbage with carrots and sour cranberries after a few days of fermentation in a salt solution turns into a great snack for any occasion. Sometimes an apple, beet, or bell pepper is added to the cabbage.
Millet goes perfectly with pumpkin, enriching its taste and imparting an unmistakable flavor. Add nuts, raisins and dried apricots - and you’ll get a perfect Russian breakfast!
One of the most popular Soviet (and modern) desserts are sugar “tongues”. Puff pastry cakes sprinkled with sugar. Everything ingenious is simple!
This is probably one of the most popular regional dishes that you can find across Russia! Ossetian pies have many varieties, including fyddzhyn with meat and broth, cheese walibah and kadurdzhyn with beans. Actually, it’s easier to eat than to pronounce!
Rum cake? A bit. Rum-baba made from muffin pastry is soaked in syrup with a small amount of cognac or rum and covered with sugar fudge. ‘Baba’ is the old name for festive cake in Western Russia.
The word, which in France means salad dressing, has become a whole salad in Russia. Most likely, vinaigrette came into Russian cuisine from Europe. The classic Russian vinaigrette consists of finely chopped boiled beets, carrots, potatoes, onions, peas and salted or pickled cucumbers with a dressing of oil and vinegar. There are many versions of vinaigrette - with ingredients like sauerkraut, beans, mushrooms, meat, chopped eggs and herring.
Lots of pieces of crunchy dough generously soaked in sweet honey syrup – that’s what traditional Tatar chak-chak cookies are made of. In the Tatar language, “chak-chak” means “a little bit”: perhaps it’s all about small pieces of dough from which the dessert is made.
These chicken cutlets in crispy golden croutons appeared in the Russian cuisine at the beginning of the 19th century: they were cooked in the tavern of Evdokim Pozharsky in the town of Torzhok (Tver Region) and word-of-mouth instantly spread satisfied reviews across the country. Even Emperor Nicholas I liked this dish!
Tender cottage cheese zapekanka (similar to a cheesecake) with raisins is one of the healthiest desserts in Russian cuisine. Combined with sour cream or homemade jam, it turns into a real gastronomic pleasure.
This popular Russian apple pie is a folk version of the Charlotte Russe dessert, invented by the French chef of Emperor Alexander I. Initially, it was a cake with cream and whipped cream, which later turned into a biscuit with apples. Even a child can bake it!
Tender semolina with berries and nuts turn this kasha into a dessert. The porridge was invented in the early 19th century by Zakhar Kuzmin, a peasant who served as a cook in the house of Russia’s Finance Minister Dmitry Guryev. The recipe has remained unchanged since tsarist times.
A shortbread dough with cottage cheese filling - and it’s SO yummy! And it was always in the menu of canteens, from school to work. The word “sochnik” originates from “sok” (“juice”), because juice was used in the ancient recipe. Now you can make it yourself and it’s much easier!
Greetings to all sour cream enthusiasts! Biscuits cooked on sour cream and soaked in sour cream form the basis of this classic Russian cake. And each chef usually decorates it in their own way, so there is no end to creativity.
This soup is based on pickled cucumbers. The pickle juice (“rassol” in Russian) gives the soup a pleasant sourness. In addition, broth wheats (often pearl barley), potatoes and pieces of meat are often added. The two most famous versions of the pickle bear the names of Moscow and Leningrad. The ‘Leningrad’ rassolnik is made with beef broth, while the ‘Moscow’ rassolnik - with chicken.
Soup, main course - and compote made from dried fruits for dessert. The best ingredients for this soft drink were apples, pears, apricots and raisins. A very popular drink in canteens!
Food historians believe that Chicken Kiev was invented in the early 20th century (in Moscow or St. Petersburg) and was later renamed Chicken Kiev by Soviet restaurants. Nevertheless, the recipe has not changed since the USSR: this is a breaded chicken chop cutlet stuffed with butter and herbs.
There are many desserts with tvorog (cottage cheese) in Russian cuisine, but this dessert is probably the most elegant. A custard pastry with a sweet filling was on the tsar’s table in the 19th century, but it became available to folk gourmets only in the Soviet years.
Small pirozhki (pies) with salty fillings are traditionally eaten with soups, while sweet ones are good with drinks - with sbiten (see No. 99), compote or tea. The most popular fillings for pirozhki are cabbage, minced meat, mashed potatoes with mushrooms, rice with eggs, berries and apples.
Historians still can’t decide how this word appeared in Russian cuisine and what it means. Some say that it has a common root with the word “fire”, some think it originates from the word “filling”, but this, fortunately, does not affect the taste. An amazing sweet bun with cottage cheese or jam!
This big meat pie is the iconic dish of the Crimean Tatar cuisine - and a staple street food across the whole Black Sea coast. What makes its taste unforgettable is the awesome savoury filling of meat, spices and broth.
The name for these Russian cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat and rice literally means “pigeons”, but only for their shape. The most difficult thing is to wrap everything in the cabbage leaf. However, there is also a lazy option, when all the ingredients are simply stewed together in a pan first.
A string of nuts in grape or pomegranate juice is perhaps the most famous dessert that you can try in Russia’s southern regions. Churchkhela has Georgian origins and became very popular in the USSR when the Soviets started to spend vacations on the Black Sea coast.
Chocolate-covered cottage cheese bars appeared in the USSR in the 1930s. This treat quickly became popular among children. In addition to cottage cheese, they contain butter, salt, sugar and other fruity fillers for flavor. The chocolate coating makes them look like the beloved Soviet ice cream ‘Eskimo’.
Cutlets that were served in Soviet canteens had a very delicate taste and a different consistency than homemade ones. The secret was bread: it was added to save on meat (minced meat was made from beef and pork), but it turned out very well. And mashed potatoes with milk as a side dish and drink. Best lunch ever!
A simple and quick cake made of manka (semolina) and kefir. Semolina makes this cake tender and airy. Top the mannik with jam or powdered sugar!
This pie instantly conquers with its airy dough and cream. According to GOST (State Standard), the cream is made of butter and condensed milk. At a glance, the Nevsky pie resembles the Boston pie without the chocolate, but, in fact, the recipes differ in dough and cream.
Worldwide, this dish is known as meat or pork “Orlov-style” named in honor of Russian Count Alexei Orlov. It is his French chef who created the dish in the 19th century. Only, in Russia, pork or beef baked under a layer of potatoes and onions with béchamel sauce and cheese is called myaso po-Franzuzki or ‘meat French-style’.
Despite the French name, Bushe is an exclusively Soviet cake. It consists of two small biscuits with a cream layer. The cake is covered with chocolate on top.
Every Russian knows from childhood that this fermented milk drink with Caucasus roots is very healthy. Besides the everyday menu, kefir is also widely used in cosmetology.
Ponchikiare round-shaped donut-like flour products, fried in oil. Ponchiki are divided into those sprinkled with powdered sugar on top, with a hole inside. They are also called pyshki. The most famous come from Pyshechnye bakeries in St. Petersburg. The second type of ponchiki - in the form of a puffy ball, sometimes with a filling inside.
One of the most common homemade cakes in the post-Soviet space consists of several fragrant honey layers and sour cream. According to legend, we owe its appearance to the confectioner of the Russian Empress Elizabeth Alexeyevna (1779-1826, wife of Emperor Alexander I). Unaware of Elisabeth’s “allergy” to honey, he treated her to his new honey cake, which captivated the empress and later the entire court.
The kartoshka (literally “potato”) cake is actually made of cookies, cocoa and condensed milk and is one of the easiest to prepare. Even a child can make it. And it’s also a very tasty way to use the biscuit leftovers.
This hearty dish with Lithuanian roots quickly became popular in the Soviet army. Now, it can often be found in canteens. Solyanka, or bigus consists of cabbage stewed with meat, sausages, fish or mushrooms.
To makeoreshki (“nuts”), which are basically cookies with boiled condensed milk, you need baking forms or a special frying pan with recesses (preferably in the shape of nuts!). First, the halves are baked, then boiled condensed milk is added to each and they are combined.
This is one of the most popular Russian cakes, created by Vladimir Guralnik, a pastry chef of Moscow’s ‘Prague’ restaurant in the 1960s. In his youth, Guralnik studied confectionary-making in the Czech capital and dedicated this cake to the city. It consists of chocolate sponge layers spread with apricot jam and chocolate butter cream and is then coated with a delicate chocolate glaze.
Unlike blini, oladyi are smaller, but more fluffy. They are baked from wheat flour with the addition of yeast. Sour cream and jam are a delicious condiment for breakfast oladyi.
The closest relatives of pelmeni, vareniki differ in filling (they are often cooked with cottage cheese, berries, potatoes or mushrooms), as well as shape. Vareniki can also be stuffed with pre-boiled meat, while for pelmeni, only raw minced meat is used.
Meat on a skewer (usually lamb, pork or chicken) is one of the tastiest dishes of the Caucasus kitchen. Russians like to make BBQ parties and have a lot of ways to marinade the meat before grilling. In restaurants, shashlik is usually served on a plate with lavash (flatbread), greenery, some tomatoes, cucumbers and adjika hot sauce.
A soda made of bread…? Sounds weird, but it’s very tasty and refreshing in summer! Kvass is easy to make at home from rye or wheat loaf, water and some herbs. And yes, as it ferments, it ends up containing a bit of alcohol!
The name means “bird’s milk”. What? Milk from a bird? Of course, not. This cake was created in 1978 by Vladimir Guralnik, the pastry chef of Moscow’s ‘Prague’ restaurant, who took the recipe of the soft chocolate-covered candy filled with soft meringue or milk soufflé as a basis. A delicate soufflé on a soft sponge cake, covered with dark chocolate - it is incredibly difficult to resist a ‘Bird’s Milk’ cake!
Plombir ice cream came to the Russian cuisine from France and mass production of it began in the early Soviet times. According to state standards, the ice cream had to contain the highest percentage of milk fat and should only be made only from whole milk or cream. In Russia, plombir is produced in the form of a briquette, in a waffle cup, but it tastes best in chocolate glaze on a stick.
If you think that there are no perfect dishes, just fry some potatoes with mushrooms. Any kind will work: chanterelles, mushrooms, champignons. And the most delicious thing is to eat it right out of the frying pan!
This most famous type of Russian pryaniki (gingerbread) has been known since the end of the 17th century. The Tula pryanik comes in different shapes and sizes, but the most common is a rectangle with an inscription glazed on top. Inside the pryaniki you’ll find jam or condensed milk.
You can hate it or love it, but Russians are big enthusiasts in making “Herring under a fur coat” salad. Finely chopped herring, boiled potatoes, carrot and beetroot, as well as finely sliced onion and egg are laid out in layers. The salad is traditionally dressed with mayonnaise (naturally!).
This popular dish on the festive table is nothing more than a very thick meat broth with pieces of meat, sometimes carrots, which has turned into jelly by cooling. Khołodets is usually eaten with horseradish or mustard.
The Olivier salad is also known as the Russian salad: this is the must-have dish on the New Year’s Eve table, not only here, but also in every post-Soviet state. Soviet chefs took the original Russian recipe of the 19th century and replaced grouse meat with Doktorskaya (“Doctor’s”) bologna, capers with canned peas, as well as Provence sauce with mayonnaise and created the most popular salad.
Pasta with minced meat has long been a favorite dish for many families. In the USSR, makarony po-flotsky became widespread after the end of the Great Patriotic War, when sailors returned home and told about a dish they often ate during the service.
The Russian version of the mille-feuille cake appeared in 1912, when the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. Homemade Napoleon is easily prepared from puff pastry and custard (or butter cream). The main thing is to let the cakes soak for at least a night.
Syrniki with sour cream or with varenye (jam) as grandma used to make - the perfect breakfast for all times! Cottage cheese as the main ingredient of this dish makes syrniki especially healthy and tender.
Beef Stroganoff was invented by a French chef who served Count Alexander Stroganov. Beef tenderloin is cut into small pieces, breaded in flour, quickly fried with onions, and then stewed with a sour cream and tomato sauce for about an hour. Beef Stroganoff is served with salted cucumbers, mushrooms and mashed potatoes or rice as a side dish.
The pillar of Russian cuisine is cabbage soup with the unpronounceable name “Shchi”. It’s cooked either with sauerkraut or fresh cabbage and, in some regions (primarily in the Golden Ring cities), you can get frozen shchi in winter - something like a semi-prepared product that allows you to cook the soup very quickly when necessary.
Russian blini (pancakes) are baked from wheat yeast dough, while the number of toppings and fillings to them is endless. Blini are most often eaten with caviar, mushrooms, with sour cream and jam, however. They can be wrapped in the form of an envelope or a roll, or they can be cooked“with pripek” (when the filling is “baked” to the pancake while it’s frying). A real pancake feast is held on Maslenitsa week (Shrovetide) in anticipation of spring.
The most Russian dish ever! Wrap the meat in dough in the form of an “ear” and freeze it until better times. By the way, many Russian regions have their own versions of dumplings: in Siberia, pelmeni are stuffed with mixed beef and pork meat, in the Urals, you can try fish pelmeni, in the north, dumplings can be with wild meat.
Russians (and other Slavic people) have been cooking this famous soup since ancient times, and there are different recipes in different regions that locals always consider to be the one true recipe. Some add tomatoes to borsch, some add beans, some add potatoes. Arguing about recipes is a useless thing, isn’t it time for lunch?
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