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Russian gastronomy

Posted on02/17/2021 by

Russian gastronomy has a rich history. Russian cuisine offers a wide variety of soups, fish dishes, cereals and drinks. Legumes, vegetables, mushrooms, berries and herbs have also been important.

In Tsarist Russia, grains such as rye, barley, oats, millet, and wheat were always the main food products. Even from then on the Russians were known as big wheat producers. That is why bread continues to be the main national product of the daily diet. Dumplings (pirozhki) have been a part of the holiday menu. The dumplings are usually filled with different types of meat, fish, and berries. As for cereals, millet is consumed more frequently as it was the main agricultural product. Different types of kashas (cereal porridge), round breads, baked desserts and all kinds of pancakes are also prepared.

Russians have always consumed vegetables, such as turnip, cabbage, radish, and cucumbers. Since the 18th century, the potato began to play an increasingly important role as one of the most appreciated ingredients in Russian gastronomy. At the beginning of the 19th century, Russian cooks began to obtain sauces and dressings in the way that French cuisine had been famous for these condiments. These innovations became an important addition to traditional Russian spices like horseradish and mustard. All this, without a doubt, enriched Russian cuisine.

Berries, mushrooms and honey are abundant in Russian cuisine due to the vast wilderness, especially in the north. Russia is an Orthodox country and all religious holidays are rigorously followed. In total, there are more than 200 days in the year when Orthodox Christians are supposed to avoid meat, milk and dairy products (including animal butter), and eggs. That is why Russian cuisine widely uses vegetables, fish, berries and mushrooms. To prepare tasty dishes using only vegetables, you need to use a variety of spices, such as dill, parsley, and celery. As the country begins to open up trade routes to the east and south, the more exotic spices become more common - pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Almost all dishes include onion.
Russian cuisine is known for its various fish-based specialties, but it also has a wide variety of dishes made with vegetables and red meat:


Caviar is one of the most emblematic foods of Russian gastronomy. It has two versions: red caviar, prepared with salmon, and black caviar, which is usually made with sturgeon or beluga.
Any of the presentations is served on thin slices of white bread with butter, brown bread, slices of crusty bread or blinis, which are pancakes or crepes.
Red caviar is the least expensive and therefore the most present in Russian homes. Black caviar is exclusive and expensive, only for holidays or special occasions like Christmas.

Russian caviar

Beef stroganoff

Dish originating in Russia whose recipe is in the Classic Russian Cookbook with the name of govjadina postrogonovskis gorchitseju. The original recipe consists of thin strips of beef or beef tenderloin topped with sour cream, with onion strips and mushrooms or mushrooms. However, the dish can vary by using beef, beef tongue, pork, chicken or as a vegetarian option, noodles. In this case, vegetable broth is added, keeping the rest of the original recipe. The dish is accompanied by white rice.

Russian-style beef

Uja, fish soup

To prepare the traditional uja fish soup you will need a salty fish such as trout, normal sturgeon or sterlet, burbot, cod, scorpion or fresh salmon, the flavor will depend on the chosen fish. Carrots, potatoes, pieces of celery and bay leaf, a little dill and onion are added as companions to the broth.
The soup is served hot garnished with a few thin sprigs of parsley and accompanied by a shot of vodka

uja fish soup

Pelmeni or dumplings filled with meat

Russians have pelmeni as the "workers food" and national dish. They are small balls of mixture of beef, pork and lamb, wrapped in a thin dough. They can be consumed in several ways: overflowing with various sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard), adding a sour cream or butter, or just plain. Another option is to serve them in a hot broth and eat them as a soup. As a variant, you can get them stuffed with mushrooms or salmon. If you order them in a restaurant, you must order "dumplings", as they are known on food menus.

Russian pelmeni meat balls

Solyanka or meat soup

Solyanka is on the list of traditional Russian soups for winter. It is also consumed in other European countries, including Ukraine. It resembles shchi because it is based on meat, although it is particularly made with various types of meat, be it beef, mushrooms or fish. It is served with carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage, in addition to sour-salty ingredients such as salty mushrooms, salted cucumbers, olives and sliced lemons. The solyanka can contain, among the types of meat, bacon, sausage and even ham, always cut into cubes or slices, which contributes to the color of the soup and the accentuation of the final flavors.

Russian soup, find out how to make it

Olivier salad or Russian salad

The Russian salad is called Olivier in homage to its creator, the French chef, Lucién Olivié, who popularized it in Moscow. The original recipe consists of hard-boiled eggs, mortadella, salted cucumbers, fennel, fresh peas, carrots, and potatoes cooked to the point. All cut into small cubes and seasoned with mayonnaise and salt to taste. Currently, the salad is prepared with grated but hard-boiled egg, pickles in brine, potatoes, cooked carrots and some animal protein such as chicken, sausage or meat. A common variation is to add cooked beetroot also diced with sauerkraut. As a dish, it is usually accompanied by mandarins when preparing the table. Salad is one of the typical meals of Russians, especially in winter and for their major holidays, Christmas and New Years.

Russian salad

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