Russian Cuisine

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 12:00 am

russian soupRussia is a country with often times harsh and long winter. Most of the food in the country are specifically made o provide warmth and energy during those cold months. And with a multi-cultural heritage, Russian cuisine has developed into something unique.

A typical Russian meal is reach with carbohydrates and fat especially during winter. They are not that fond of fresh fruits and vegetables. Commonly found in their dining tables are potatoes, either boiled, fried, baked, potato chops, potato pancakes, potato soup, and smashed; any kind of bread may it be ordinary bread, toasts, or bread-crumbs; boiled or fried eggs; meat such as pork and beef; and butter. Aside from these food groups, Russians are also fond of cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, and onions. They usually prepare food using vegetable oil, salt, and petter.

Preparing a Russian meal is a historical journey in itself. It is a reflection of the diverse backgrounds that came into play with every culinary technique. Because of the wide territory that Russia covers, influences from bordering countries began to trickle in especially in the 16th to 18th centuries where food like smoked meat and fish, pastry cooking, salads and green vegetables became available to the Russian dining table. Combining these new found foods with traditional Russian dishes paved the way for new creative techniques of cooking.

Today, Russian cuisine is mostly original dishes with unique tastes. For appetizers, Russian dishes have salted cucumbers called soleniye ogurscy, salted cabbage or kvashennaya kapusta which is pickled cabbage kept in the jar for several days with berries, salt and spices; herring in sheepskin coat or seledka pod shuboy which are small pieces of herring mixed with boiled potato, beet, carrot and mayonnaise; Salmon caviar is also a traditional Russian appetizer; and boiled beef tongue.

Soup is an important part of a Russian meal. And Russian soups belong to the most famous of their dishes. Russian’s exotic soups, cabbage schi and solyanka. Other soups include the famous Russian borcsh which consists of beet and meat and served with sour cream; Russian vegetable soup or shie which has cabbage, potato and meat in it; fishsoup or uha which has fishsoup with carrot, spices and potato; noodle soup which is quite popular in the countryside; and Russian cold soup or okroshka.

Also a common favorite is pelmeni, small Siberian meat pies boiled in broth. This is usually serves as part of the Russian main course. Also served are omelets and sausages. Chops or kotlety which are made of various kind of meat is normally included on the menu. Beef stroganov, which are pieces of beef prepared with cream sauce, and kiev style chicken, chicken chop with butter inside are pretty common as well. In the countryside, the potato with mushrooms dish is a favorite.

As you probably know by now, Russians like to drink. They like like authentic beverages especially alcoholic ones like vodka or mors. But believe it or not, coffee and tea are also very popular drinks for Russians. The most popular original drink in Russia is the Kvas, a bread based sweet drink. There’s also the Kompot created by boiling water with fruits and sugar and the Prostokvasha, a milk based acid drink.