The Russian cuisine is very diverse and is characterized by the many different cultures within the country and the extreme changing seasons. Bread, potatoes and cabbage are some of the most common groceries on a Russians shopping list and Russians are world champions in transforming these very basic ingredients into delicious rich dishes. In this blog post, I will share 10 Russian dishes that you have to taste if you travel to Russia.
1. Pelmeni (Пелмени)
Pelmeni are similar to Asian dumplings or Italian tortellini and are made of a thin dough and stuffed with minced meat and onion. They are usually served in a clear beef broth and topped with sour creme (called ‘smetana’ in Russian) and fresh dill.
If you have a sweet tooth or you are vegetarian, try ‘vareniki’ – a similar dish made with potatoes, apple pie or sweet cottage cheese.
2. Blini (Блины)
Blini are much like French crepes, but are a bit thicker and may have a little more butter in it. They can also be eaten with very different fillings, both sweet and salty. For example, you can get them with meat, cheese, chocolate, jam or just sugar.
3. Beef Stroganoff (Бефстроганов)
Beef stroganoff is a world famous dish and are strips of beef that are sautéed in a butter sauce, white wine, sour creme (called ‘smetana’ in Russia), mustard and onions. You can either eat it without a side dish or with rice or noodles.
4. Shashlik (Шашлык)
Shashlik is marinated meat on spears over open fire. Simple and very tasty. You can use all kinds of meat and fish, although Russians prefer pork. The marinade varies from region to region and can range from red wine to vinegar to pomegranate juice.
You can not go wrong with grilled pieces of meat. In Russia there are plenty of ‘shashlychnaya’ – small restaurants specializing in shashlik.
5. Golubtsy (Голубцы)
Golubtsy (which means pigeons) are stuffed and steamed or boiled kale leaves. Usually filled with minced beef, but you can also find vegetarian versions with mushrooms and rice that also taste wonderful. They are usually topped with sour creme (called ‘smetana’ in Russia).
6. Olivier (Оливье)
Olivier is the most famous and beloved salad in Russia that you undoubtedly will find on any new year’s table in all Russian homes. However, you will be disappointed if you imagine a salad in the classic sense with lettuce leaves and fresh vegetables. Olivier is a heavy salad with potatoes, beef or ham, peas and lots of mayonnaise.
7. Plov (Плов)
Plow is originally an Uzbek specialty and tastes absolutely amazing! It is spicy rice with beef or chicken filled with flavors and spices.
8. Solyanka (Солянка)
Solyanka means ‘salted thing’ from the Russian word ‘sol’ (salt). It is a traditional delicious sour soup. Ingredients may sound a little strange: pickled cucumbers, olives, sausage, lemon, potatoes and cabbage. This is because the soup was originally made from leftovers.
9. Borsch (Борщ)
Borsch is probably the most famous dish of all Russian dishes (although it is traditionally Ukrainian … sorry Russia). It is a rich soup made of beets, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, spring onions, garlic and tomatoes. If you want, you can also add beef to the soup
10. Pirogi (Пироги)
Pirogi is a pastry, usually filled with potatoes, meat, cabbage or cheese. You can find pierogies that are open or closed and pierogies that are sweet or salted. Try the many different types of pierogies and find the ones you like the best. Traditional pierogies are glazed with eggs and baked, but you can also find them deep fried.
Question for some of these Russian dishes? Comments? Ideas for other topics/guides for my next blog post?
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