Best Rated Russian Dishes
Sometimes sold as street food, Pirozhki is one of the most common Russian dishes, although it can also be made at home. Yeast dough buns stuffed with a selection of ingredients such as fresh fruit, jams, and cottage cheese for the sweet types, or meat, eggs, vegetables, fish, and rice for the savory variants, are the pocket-sized, oval-shaped pirozhki.
They can be baked or fried as well. It’s possible to literally translate the word pirozhki into small pies. Pirozhki are usually eaten as a snack, and they are prepared in various versions all over the world today.
Kvass is a traditional ancient Russian drink made from buckwheat meal, wheat, rice, rye bread, or barley, but it can be made from any fermentable ingredient. As a consequence of the natural fermentation process, it has a relatively low alcoholic content (0.7-2.0 percent), but it is listed in Russia as a non-alcoholic drink.
Some variants, especially commercial brands, which are often fermented artificially, do not contain alcohol. Kvass’ origins are related to Kievan Rus ‘, a federation that ultimately became a territory of three major nations: Russians, Belarus, and Ukrainians.
Kvass’s first written reference dates back to the 10th century, and it is believed that most Slavic nations in Eastern Europe enjoyed the drink at that time. In English, the first written mention dates back to the 16th century, when Kvass was at the height of its success.
Kvass has become popular among all social classes throughout history, and it was commonly enjoyed in Eastern Europe and some Baltic states during the Cold War. Kvass is rarely sold by street vendors nowadays, and it is available mainly as a canned drink.
The color of Kvass is malty, refreshing, mildly bitter, slightly fizzy and typically amber or golden. When the weather is humid, it is best eaten chilled, and it can also be flavored with different fruits, such as strawberries or raspberries.
A mixture of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eggs, orange juice and zest, vanilla, walnuts, and raisins are traditional Russian cookies made with sukhariki. The dough is molded into flat logs, egg whites are brushed, sugar is sprinkled, then sliced and baked in the oven until golden brown.
It is recommended to serve these light and crisp Russian cookies with a cup of coffee or tea on the side.
One of the most prized caviar types in the world is beluga caviar (the roe of beluga sturgeon). Since the animal can take up to 25 years to mature and begin producing roe, this caviar is extremely rare, pricey, and extravagant. Big, plump, and firm, Beluga caviar beads are of a color that can vary from light to dark gray.
With a delicate, tender, and almost buttery flavor, beluga caviar can be eaten plain, allowing the complex layers to develop individually. It is also commonly combined with boiled potatoes, blini pancakes, or sour cream. Recently, partly due to wild poaching in the Caspian Sea, wild beluga varieties have become critically endangered, and strict restrictions have been imposed to restrict the production, sales, and trade of this rare ingredient.
With flour, eggs, milk, yeast, and a pinch of salt, these traditional Russian pancakes are baked. The addition of yeast is what separates them from other pancakes, since similar equivalents often do not add any leavening agents. The batter is poured over a hot plate, formed into a circle and fried on both sides for a few minutes.
The custom of cooking this traditional Russian dish comes from ancient times: it was a ritual dish, eaten during a week-long festival praising the end of winter and the celebration of spring during the pagan holiday called Maslenitsa.
Blini symbolised the long awaited Sun with its form and color. Blini are not consumed exclusively during Maslenitsa, however, as they have become one of Russia’s most popular dishes, and are also widely eaten worldwide. Blini is highly flexible and can be eaten with fillings that are sweet or savory.
Some of the Russian favourites involve different jams, condensed milk, while fish roe or caviar is topped with the most popular savory version.
Syrniki is a popular Russian dessert made up of pancakes made from fried cottage cheese, typically garnished with honey, fruit jam, sour cream, or applesauce. Traditionally, cottage cheese is first sweetened with sugar, then mixed with flour into a dough that is fried in hot oil until a golden-brown color forms.
Syrniki can be served for breakfast or consumed as a tasty dessert after a large meal.
Medovik is a popular Russian layered honey cake consisting of honey-infused sponges that are coated with thin layers of cream, almost biscuit-like. The custard is typically made with whipped cream or different combinations of condensed milk and butter, although there are various versions of the cake.
The cake is thought to have first appeared in the 1820s and was originally created for the wife of Russia’s Alexander I. The addition of condensed milk possibly originated in the Soviet period, while berries or even chocolate could be used in modern variants.
Traditionally, Medovik is decorated with ground walnuts and is usually served on different special occasions.
Smetannik is a typical layered Russian cake. It is usually made from a mixture of frosting of flour, sugar, eggs, honey, and sour cream, consisting of sour cream, cream cheese, vanilla, and milk. Traditionally, the cake is made in a deep pan.
It is recommended to let smetannik rest overnight in the refrigerator until finished, and it is cut into individual pieces and served the next day. On birthdays and similar festive occasions, Smetannik is particularly common.
Depending on regional and religious preferences, Shashlik is the term for a traditional Central and West Asian barbecue consisting of marinated, skewered, and grilled chunks of meat such as lamb, beef, or pork. Chunks of vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, or tomatoes are commonly mixed with lamb, beef, or pork.
Vinegar, herbs, spices, and dry wine usually marinate the meat overnight. In Georgia, fish such as sturgeon is often also used for shashlik, apart from the meat. Barbecue is typically reserved for men in Russia, who are responsible for the entire grilling process, while women are generally busy slicing vegetables and setting up tables.
Traditionally, Shashlik is prepared for events with a large number of people gathered around the grill, cooperating in the process and socializing, rendering the dish a communal affair. Many claim that the name is derived from the Turkish word shish, meaning skewer, since the roots of the dish lie between Turkey and Russia.
The traditional Russian semolina porridge is Guriev kasha. Guriev kasha is not merely cooked in milk, unlike more traditional porridge types, but milk or cream is baked in the oven and the crust that is produced on top is removed and used to separate the layers of semolina.
Traditionally, layers of nuts, fruits, or jams are assembled between the milk crust and the semolina filling. Before serving, the dish is typically sprinkled with sugar and baked until a crispy skin is formed on top. The invention of Guriev kasha has two contradictory stories: one of the theories argues that the dish was invented by Count Dmitri Guriev to celebrate the victory over the army of Napoleon in 1812, while the other suggests that the dish was created by Count Guriev’s cook, who served kasha as a dessert and kept his recipe secret for a long time.
It is unquestionable, irrespective of the hypotheses, that the dish has a century-long history, as it was also served during the 1881 coronation of Tsar Alexander III. Today, this Russian classic is still consumed regularly, and is typically prepared for special occasions and ceremonies.