Traditional Russian food dates back to the 10th century. The Russian cuisine and cooking style is unique thanks to its geographical location and diverse weather conditions that offer various food and spices. With that said, in this article, we shall be discussing the history of traditional Russian food.
Russia is the world’s largest country, with a total area of approximately 17 million square kilometres. The country stretches from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, the Baltic sea in its west, and the Pacific Ocean in the east. It neighbors several countries, and it shares the same culture as well as tradition nationwide. An essential part of every country is its cuisine, and the traditional Russian food is outstanding.
The History of Russian Food
Traditional Russian food reflects the country’s geographic diversity, religious beliefs, and traditional way of life. Traditional Russian food consisted of soups, porridges, along with baked goods, which remain popular to date. In addition to that, its traditional dishes consisted of lots of berries, grains, flour, vegetables and fish. These products were common in houses.
During the holidays, meat dishes were very common, and they represented true culinary masterpieces. During holidays, some of the common dishes were ducks with apples, fried swans or whole roasted pigs (these were common among rich individuals).
Before coming from Christianity into the country, Russian cuisines changed significantly adding new dishes and ingredients from other countries. Due to the cold weather, preserved Russian foods were a major part of traditional Russia cuisine. This was vital since some areas would experience cold weather for nine months in a year. This forced the people to preserve as much food as they could.
The Russia cuisine relied on different types of food preservation, including smoking, salting, fermentation and soaking. They used fermented and soaked cabbages to make shchi or used as pierogies fillings. On the other hand, soaked apples were used as side dishes or served to guests. In several dishes, pickled cucumber was often used as the primary ingredients, including traditional Russian soups. Dried and salted fish and meat were consumed after fasting.
Upon the arrival of Christianity, Russian food became divided into two; non-fasting and fasting meals. For almost seven months, the Russians were devoted to fasting, whereby they limit meat consumption. During this period, they feasted on an array of soups, porridges and some top-notch baked goods, allowing them to have plenty of food to eat even during the fasting periods.
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Old Style Russia Cuisine
Although Russian food might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about a food destination; however, the country offers an array of delicious dishes that will tickle your taste buds. Traditional Russian cuisine is largely influenced by its connection to Asia, Europe and the Middle East. As a food enthusiast, here are some of the best old-style Russian food cooking and food you should give a try;
Traditional Russian food largely comprise wheat products, and blini is a perfect example. Blini is a Russian pancake that was preserved from the day of paganism. Blini are very thin and relatively less sweet; however, you can add a filling that best suits your needs. This traditional pancake is made of sour cream and salmon, mushroom or caviar or berries or condensed milk for individuals with a sweet tooth.
✪ Beef Stroganoff
This is a famous traditional Russian food with a fascinating story. Russian upper class were super-rich under Tsar and often communicated in French at home and in social gatherings. A French chef then created this dish for a cooking contest by preparing sauteed beef pieces served with sour cream (smetana) in a very delicious sauce. The dish is a symbol of luxury; however, it is relatively easy to prepare.
✪ Porridge or Kasha
As previously stated, traditional Russian food had an array of porridges known as Kasha, and buckwheat is a perfect example. Buckwheat is undoubtedly the most famous type of porridge in Russia, and it is boiled in milk or water and can be served as an independent dish during breakfasts.
Shashlik is a type of Russian kebab, and it consists of meat along with veggies grilled on a skewer. This dish is believed to have originated from Caucasian mountain tribesmen and became popular in the 19th century.
This is a red beetroot soup and traditional Russian food, which generally consists of potatoes, meat, tomatoes and carrots. However, this dish has an array of local variations, with some serving it with sour cream or dill. The meal can be served either cold or hot, making it a perfect dish for the Russian winter and summer seasons.
✪ Solyanka Soup
Like porridge, traditional Russian foods consisted of different soups, and Solyanka soup is among the famous ones. This soup is sweet and sour and consists of fresh cured pork, beef and at times chicken giving it its unique taste. Additional ingredients in this soup include tomatoes, capers, cucumber, dill, parsley, onions and olives. The soup is also said to be perfect for curing a hangover.
Peruvian Russian Food Cooking and Foods
Peruvian food cooking and food is an influence of indigenous people by immigrants from four different continents. On the other hand, Russian cuisine is a collection of various food cooking styles and food from the Russian people. The staples of Peruvian cuisine are tubers (such as potatoes), corn, legumes, wheat and rice. The staples of Russian cuisine is meat, berries, honey, pancakes and cereals. This is a clear sign that the two countries have unique cuisines.
Although Russia is the largest country in the world, its cuisine is not globally recognized. However, this does not mean that their cuisine is no good; in fact, they have incredible dishes which are significantly underrated. When you give the Russian cuisine a try, you will not be disappointed.
33 Russian Food Recipes
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Fresh cabbage soup, or shchi, is one of Russia’s national dishes, and as with most dishes like this, the recipes vary from cook to cook and from region to region. This cabbage soup recipe is meatless and contains no sauerkraut. It’s a mild but hearty vegetarian soup with fresh cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes.
For a richer flavor, use vegetable broth instead of water, and top the soup with fresh dill and sour cream. Serve with rye bread for a filling lunch or dinner or offer as the first course of a winter menu.
Sbiten is a traditional wintertime honey-based beverage popular in Russia that has been around since the 12th century. It was served from copper samovars by the sbitenshchik or sbiten makers, who brewed it on street corners and sold it to the eager and frost-bitten public. Sbiten fell out of favor with the advent of tea and coffee in the 19th century, but a renewed interest in this old-time drink is taking place now.
Like mead and medovukha (a cheaper, faster version of mead), sbiten is made with honey, water, spices, and jam. The key to excellent sbiten is good-quality honey and spices. As you might expect, the ratios of these ingredients depend on the family making the drink.
This Russian lamb pilaf recipe, known as plov in Russian, is made with long-grain white rice, saffron, raisins, prunes, and a combination of boneless lamb cubes and ground lamb.
Pilafs are a popular way to use rice in Eastern Europe and throughout the world where it is known as pilau in Turkey and pilaf in the Middle East. Rice pilaf also is known as pilau, perloo, perlau, plaw, pilaw, and pilaff, depending on where you live.
Essentially, a pilaf is made by toasting the rice in hot butter or oil and then adding hot stock or water and simmering, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed.
This recipe for Russian chicken pie or kurnik is made with chicken, rice, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, and a flaky crust. It is often served at holidays, especially Easter. Kurnik varies from family to family. It can be made with two crusts or just a top crust; some recipes call for blini-like pancakes to separate the layers of ingredients; it can be round or rectangular in shape; and when it comes to the crust, well, anything goes. It can be made with pie dough, savory pastry dough, or puff pastry.
Sharing my mom’s secret to the softest and fluffiest piroshki (Russian hand pies) with simple beef and rice filling, but you can fill yours with whatever your heart desires.
After several requests for my borscht recipe, here it is. Ukrainian Borscht… everyone knows what it is and many people around the world have fallen in love with this iconic beet soup.
Beef Stroganoff is so much more than the 50s and 60s made it out to be. Our easy and authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff recipe combines tender beef and flavorful mushrooms in a creamy sauce for an elegant, yet quick dish.
What is Russian beef stroganoff? Stroganoff (or Stroganov) is a simple and comforting Russian dish consisting of sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce.
It dates back to the mid 19th century, and is named for a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners: the richest businessmen in Tsarist Russia.
If I had to name the most traditional Russian dish, it would be the “Olivie” salad. It used to be made for holidays, parties and other special occasions. New Year’s Eve is the biggest holiday of all, and “Olivie” would be on almost all the tables as the clock would strike midnight.
The ingredients are quite common and are pantry staples for most. It resembles a potato salad, of sorts, with the addition of other cooked vegetables and meat. In the original salad, cooked wild meat was used, but now most people use bologna or some other type of sausage meat. This is as traditional as the Thanksgiving turkey. One of the best advantages of making a big batch of “Olivie” is the leftovers the next day. All the components of the salad mingle and meld to create a hearty, comforting salad.
Today in our Russian section we present “Kulebyaka”. This traditional pie is an ideal dish for special occasions and it makes a perfect brunch. My daughter helped me to make it – we’ve been preparing dough, making crêpes used in stuffing and decorated the pie together. As we were cooking, I have shared with her the story of this dish and how it should be served. I hope you are interested too, so here it is.
Solyanka is a traditional Russian rustic smoked and sour soup, where a surprising combination of smoked meats and acidic liquids come together. What gives this soup its ultra fab smoky flavor are the hard rock variety of smoked meats like ham, salami, sausage and bacon, while the pickles, olives and lemon juice bring out the mild tartness. And if you’ve seen any of our last few Russian recipes, you have probably guessed by now that it comes garnished with a hefty dollop of sour cream.
If you have never tried meat blini, you’re in for a tasty surprise! These Russian savory crepes are little pockets of meaty goodness made with simple crepes, filled with a beef and cheese mixture, then pan-fried in a bit of butter. The filling is so juicy and flavorful! And don’t forget to serve them with a dollop of sour cream for an authentic culinary experience!
Plov is the ultimate Russian comfort food. It’s a one pot chicken and rice recipe that is packed with flavors and spices and just takes a few steps to reach ultimate rice perfection. Perfect rice and tender chicken that beg you for just another bite. Plus it’s SUPER freezer friendly! How awesome is that!
Our take on the traditional Russian Piroshki will make you feel like you’ve got front row seats to this exciting event. This piroshki recipe uses cabbage and beef, all blended with classic spices from the motherland. Our easy-to-make piroshki is a winner every time!
This Simple Russian Soup recipe is classic comfort food. The soup is loaded with seasoned meat, potatoes, noodles and vegetables. The soup is so easy to prepare and is loved by kids and adults alike.
Cold Summer Soup also known as Russian Okroshka, is creamy, crunchy and delicious, and perfect refreshed and recharged soup for the summer.
Making a comfort soup at home can be very enjoyable and rewarding. We have a big list of soup recipes on our blog for you to look at. Among our popular soups are Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Soup, Slow Cooker Corn Chowder with Bacon and Creamy Tortellini Soup.
Russian Cabbage Pie is one of the best culinary creations this country can offer. Rich and buttery crust featuring a secret ingredient (sour cream) filled to the brim with a classic Russian mixture of braised cabbage and boiled eggs. Perfection.
This classic Russian fish soup, called Ukha, is delicious and comforting. Fish fillets are gently cooked to perfection together with potatoes and carrots in a rich broth infused with subtle flavors of bay leaf and black peppercorns.
Traditional Russian blini (BLEE-nee) are made with yeast-raised buckwheat and/or wheat flour batter that gives them a nutty and distinctive flavor. Eaten on all occasions, and especially during holiday celebrations, blini make a perfect appetizer or cocktail food, as their smaller size can make for easy-to-handle bites that can be topped with anything you’d like, from savory to sweet. Our traditional recipe for blini makes for deliciously fluffy mini pancakes, great with all sorts of toppings, and also perfect for a pretty brunch dish.
This is a popular Russian recipe of roast pork stuffed with cheese and tomatoes. For best results, remove the foil to let the meat brown just before it is done.
Russian Chicken Stew, Zharkoe (Жаркое) is a Traditional Hearty Russian meat and potatoes stew. You can use any meat that you prefer for Zharkoe – e.g. beef, pork, lamb, chicken.
Pelmeni are a must-try traditional Russian meal! Similar to dumplings, these are made with tender and juicy meat wrapped in dough and cooked in boiled water. They are perfect for a meal prep, as you can freeze them and then cook in just 10 minutes!
Classic Russian Kotleti are a lot like meatballs, just flavored and formed a bit differently. Kotleti to kids in Russia, are like chicken nuggets to kids in US.
Anytime we come across a Russian cafe, we always end up ordering Kotleti. Some of the best ones I’ve tried were at Brighton Beach, New York. These Kotleti are moist, flavored perfectly, using a few, simple ingredients.
Often served chunky, a quick pulse in the blender turns this soup into a creamier soup. Typical Russian Food.
Although normally associated with the cuisine of the Russian Empire, some food historians claim that the origin of chicken Kiev lies in France. In fact, in Russia, Ukraine and Poland, chicken Kiev is almost exclusively referred to as côtelette de volaille, which translates roughly to “chicken cutlet”.
Get cozy with baked russian vegetarian pirozhki with three different fillings, the ultimate comfort food. Russian vegetarian pirozhki are pillowy pockets of dough, stuffed with a variety of flavous and baked to a perfect golden hue. Choose between cabbage and egg pirozhki, the classic mushroom pirozhki or a new, modern and perfectly fall-appropriate pumpkin with caramelized onion, feta and dill pirozhki.
Creamy vanilla poured over rich, coffee-infused chocolate: the White Russian cocktail has always been in the realm of dessert. This tantalizing recipe from our magazine, Sift, makes it official by transforming cocktail into cake.
Tangy Russian syrniki, or farmer cheese pancakes, can be enjoyed sweet or savory. Russia and El Salvador are separated by, among many things, culture, politics and vast expanses of water. But when I first tasted syrniki, the popular pancakes that Russians and Eastern Europeans regularly eat for breakfast, the gulf between these two countries shrunk to the size of a griddle cake that can fit in the palm of your hand.
Nadiya’s 8-layer Russian honey cake isn’t really cake at all. Layers of honey and browned butter biscuit-like rounds are stacked up with a soured cream and honey icing and topped with hazelnuts and biscuit crumbs.
Russian Creme Custard is Luscious and grin-coazing. I’m kind of feeling like love is precipitously brimming, my Russian Crème Custard freshly made and the smell of fresh raspberries filling my kitchen. Valentine’s Day arrives soon enough, and I have planned a small gathering convened around this, the sweetest of days. Among my many confections premiering at the party, will be these demure Russian Crème Custards.
This tasty Russian Olivier Salad is one of my favorite salads ever. We had it probably every celebration possible. All my life I called this as a “Russian Salad”, and I think worldwide it is referred and known as Russian salad. However, try telling a Russian “I love Russian salad”, and they will look at you with a confused expression.
Vatrushka (pronounced vat-ROOSH-kah) is a small, personal-sized open pie filled with fresh cheese. Its appearance somewhat resembles that of a cheese Danish, but it is not the same pastry. Cheese-filled vatrushkas can be sweet and used as desserts or unsweetened and served with soup.
From the Motherland is a series where I pay homage to my Ukrainian heritage and share my favorite childhood recipes. When I was growing up, we used to eat these fried potatoes on the regular.
There’s no feeling quite as blissful as your first bite of one of these cookies. Whether you call them Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies or snowballs, there’s no denying that they’re essential to bake during the Christmas season.
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