Famous Food in Russia
Russian food has developed over centuries because the cuisine has evolved in the homes of ordinary people, modern Russian cuisine is both unique and diverse.
Here are some of the most delicious Russian food you should try if you visit Russia.
Appetizer (Mezze) & Main Courses
Borscht is a beetroot soup that actually originated in Ukraine and was quickly adopted as a Russian specialty as well.
Borscht is a traditional Russian soup made of beetroot that’s loaded with potatoes, carrots, tomato, and a type of meat.
It can be served either hot or cold and topped with dill and sour cream.
It is full of meat and sautéed vegetables, including cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes accompanied with a piece of rye bread or garlic bread topped with melted cheese, this dish is hearty enough to serve as a meal, although it is usually eaten as a starter.
Russians believe if you want your day to be a successful one, you should start it with a bowl of kasha for breakfast.
Kasha is rich in fiber, potassium, and protein. Essentially Russian porridge, it can be baked, or boiled in hot water or milk.
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.
Russian kasha refers to various dishes which are created with cereals, most commonly rice, wheat, or millet, Oats, rye, buckwheat, and quinoa. Kasha is the most common meal in Russia.
It is easy to cook, healthy to eat and everybody can afford it.
Ukha (Russian Fish Soup)
Ukha, or fish soup, is the ultimate Russian comfort food.
A bowl of ukha consists of a broth cooked with herbs, seasonings, roots vegetables as potato & carrot, and fish fillets as salmon, cod, perch, bream, & trout.
Solyanka is a traditional Russian thick soup made with various types of meat including beef, sausage, pork, chicken, fish, as well as vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, olives, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage.
The soup is usually served with lemon wedges on the side, but it is also flavored with lemon juice during the cooking process, also, it is traditionally served with sour cream and dill.
This dish was originally from Georgia but can now be found all over Russia.
Originally, solyanka served as both an excellent appetizer and a main dish.
Olivier Potato Salad
Commonly known as Russian Salad outside Russia.
Olivier salad is a Russian salad with variable ingredients, but it is typically made with chopped vegetables, meat, and mayonnaise.
The key ingredients include diced potatoes, vegetables, eggs, chicken, or ham.
This salad is one of the most important appetizers at the New Year's salad buffets in Russia.
Along with the Olivier salad, the holodets are served at all celebrations especially New Year.
The word holodets derives from the Russian word “holod” meaning “cold”.
In Russia, it is commonly referred to as ‘Meat Jelly.’ This is because the dish mainly consists of pork shank meat and bouillon.
Holodets are made of meat broth, frozen to a jelly-like state, with pieces of meat inside. usually made of pork, fish, or chicken, and vegetables as onions, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, and black pepper are added to the meat broth and boiled.
The pork leg boiled for 6-7 hours (it’s a cold broth jellied due to the bones and cartilage), meat is then cut, added back to the mixture, and the holodets are put in the fridge to freeze.
Aspics are a good way to prevent meat spoilage since the gelatin protects the meat from air and bacteria.
Chicken Kiev is a simple dish prepare from the chicken fillet that is first flattened and wrapped around cold butter.
Then, the chicken is first coated with a mix of grated cheese, parsley, dill, mushrooms, and pepper, dipped in beaten egg yolk, and fried.
It is traditionally served as a main dish.
While in the classical version, the chicken bone is retained, nowadays, the boneless version is more popular.
Although the dish is very popular, no one knows where it came from or how it got its name, and there are numerous contradicting theories attributing its invention to Ukrainian, Russian, and French chefs.
Pirogi is a national dish and one of the most important foods in Russian cuisine.
Pirogi is commonly made of yeast-raised dough, it can be both sweet and savory and are filled with a wide range of ingredients.
Apples, potatoes, and minced meat are just some of the many fillings you’ll find in these delicious pies.
Pirogi also plays a huge role in Russian culture and traditions. One such tradition involves making pirog for a couple who are due to be married.
One member of either family will prepare a plain pirog, and then decorate it. They will then hold it in a white linen tissue, and hand it to the groom.
Both the groom first, and then the bride, will each take a bite. It is said that whoever takes the biggest bite will become the ‘head’ of the family.
Okroshka is a refreshing soup that is mostly cooked during the summer period.
The ingredients vary it may be prepared with kvass or kefir, both of which are sour in taste, accompanying sausages, cucumbers, greens, carrots, and radishes should be chopped into large pieces to give it texture.
It is usually served as a refreshing appetizer or side dish. The word “okroshka” originates from the ancient Russian language, and means “sour drink”.
Literally “little pies”, pirozhki are yeast dough buns stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as fresh fruits, jams, and cottage cheese for the sweet varieties, or meat, eggs, vegetables, fish, and rice for the savory versions.
Pirozhki are commonly consumed as a snack.
Beef stroganoff is a Russian dish very popular around the world, it is considered to be a dish of the elite society.
Small pieces of beef filet (usually strips) are sautéed in white wine and sour cream sauce together with onions and mushrooms
It served with rice, pasta, noodles, potatoes, or just by itself.
This recipe has a long history, and many variations for its preparation exist.
Over time, more ingredients have been added to the recipe these ingredients include onions, tomato sauce, potato, and mustard, while many chefs will sauté the beef.
Pelmeni is considered the national dish in Russia.
They are one of the simplest and most delicious foods you can try in Russia.
Pelmeni is pastry dumplings made from unleavened dough, folded around a stuffing of ground meat (usually pork lamb, chicken, or beef) and seasoned with onion, garlic, pepper, and spices.
They can be served alone, covered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth.
The right way to consume pelmeni is to boil them and eat them using a fork.
However, some Russians also fry pelmeni on a pan with various vegetables and spices.
Shashlik is a Russian kebab.
Shashlik is consisting of marinated, skewered, and grilled chunks of meat such as lamb, beef, or pork, depending on regional and religious preferences. Lamb, beef, or pork is usually combined with chunks of vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, or tomatoes. cubed meat and veggies grilled on skewers.
Blini is the Russian version of classic pancakes. They’re more similar to crepes, except they are made with yeasted dough, giving them a light, fluffy texture and a distinctive flavor.
Blini can be stuffed with an endless variety of fillings, including a mixture of ground meat and diced vegetables or berries and cream cheese, although they’re often served simply, topped with sour cream, condensed milk or jam.
Egg salad, ground meat, and cottage cheese are common pairings, but the most popular ones are caviar, honey, and sour cream.
It can be served sweet or savory.
Holubtsi (golubtsi) is a dish made of boiled cabbage leaves filled with rice and meat (pork or beef) which is then stewed or baked in tomato sauce. When the dish is cooked the final time, the cabbage leaves become very soft.
It is served with sour cream or different varieties of sauces. There are similar varieties around the world, such as those in the Balkans. Although instead of cabbage they may use vine leaves.
The serving usually includes 2 to 3 pieces, as holubtsi are very filling.
Coulibiac is a Russian pie characterized by its oval shape and various fillings such as salmon and buckwheat, cabbage with mushrooms and onions, or ground meat with rice and eggs. The pie is usually made with yeast dough, and the quantity of fillings should always exceed the quantity of pastry.
It is recommended to pair the pie with a glass of milk or a cup of tea..
Kurnik (Chicken Pie)
Kurnik consists of a pastry shell that is shaped into a large dome and filled with layers of meat, eggs, rice, mushrooms, and other ingredients. Kurnik symbolizing fertility and stability, the Kurnik was traditionally served at weddings.
It can be savory or sweet. The savory version is filled with layers of rice, eggs, chicken, and mushrooms.
Buzhenina is a traditional festive dish that consists of roast pork or beef and spices.
To prepare it, a piece of boneless pork and a layer of fat is generously seasoned with various spices and garlic. After that, the meat is placed in the oven where it becomes aromatic and juicy.
The key ingredient of Syrniki is cottage cheese, which should be fresh and fragrant.
Cheese is mixed with egg, salt, sugar, and flour. Sometimes raisins and poppy seeds are added for grainier texture. Syrniki is then shaped in small circles, sprinkled with flour, and fried.
This dessert is often served with raspberry jam.
Stroganina is a Russian version of sashimi.
It is prepared with a whole fish that is frozen raw and then thinly slicing them.
The pieces naturally curl, and they should be served immediately after slicing.
Stroganina is eaten by dipping the fish into a pepper and salt mixture. Stroganina is traditionally paired with vodka and comes served on ice.
Königsberger Klopse is a famous savory meal of meatballs in a white sauce.
It is made of minced veal with sardines, herring, or anchovies.
It is served with a side of boiled potatoes and sliced pickled beets.
Herring Under a Fur Coat
Also known as Seledka Pod Shuboy, or Shuba.
It is a unique Russian salad consisting of three layers: salted herring, covered with a coat of shredded cooked beets, carrots, and potatoes in mayonnaise.
The salad often has more than three layers, mostly consisting of apples, onions, or hard-boiled eggs.
Mimoza is a traditional Russian salad. It's prepared by layering different ingredients, and each one is separated by a light layer of mayonnaise. The ingredients include canned and mashed fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, or trout, boiled egg whites and yolks, onions, crumbled cheese, and sometimes boiled potatoes and carrots.
Almost all of the ingredients used in the salad are finely grated. The boiled egg yolks are usually the final layer, hence the name of the salad, because it looks similar to the spring flowers. The salad is often garnished with chopped dill before serving.
Varenye is a traditional Russian dessert consisting of various fruits and berries cooked together with sugar. It is like jam, but the fruits aren’t allowed to lose their shapes.
Popular flavors of Varenye includes strawberries, apricots, blueberries, dandelion, tangerine, rose petal, and cherries.
It is served as a topping for cakes, pancakes, and more. It also can be consumed on its own, or as a filling for various cookies and pies.
Medovik is a popular Russian layered honey cake consisting of honey-infused, almost biscuit-like sponges that are coated with thin layers of cream.
This soft, sticky, crumbly, and creamy cake looks impressive and tastes perfect, made up of multiple layers (supposedly 15 is the ideal number)
Although there are numerous variations of the cake, the custard is usually prepared with whipped cream or various combinations of condensed milk and butter. It is believed that the cake first appeared in the 1820s and was initially created for the wife of Alexander I of Russia.
Kutia is a very special Christmas dish.
Kutia is made of boiled grains (usually wheat) mixed with honey, nuts, raisins, poppy seeds, and sometimes dried fruits. The holy evening starts with at least a spoon of kutia and then you can eat whatever you want.
This pudding is also popular in Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus.
Pastila is a traditional Russian sweet & snack originating from the 17th century.
It is a cross between candy and meringue cookies: light and airy puffs made from egg whites, sugar, and fruit, similar to Turkish Delight.
Traditionally, pastila is made from sour apples or berries, although other types of fruit can also be used.
It tastes wonderful with a cup of hot herbal tea.
Vatrushka is a rounded bun with an open top, which is filled with sweetened cottage cheese and topped with raisins, or other pieces of fruit jam or meat.
The name of the pastry is borrowed from the Roman languages, and in Romanian vatra means bread that is baked over a fire.
Traditionally, vatrushka is baked in firewood ovens, especially in the villages.
The pastry is also popular throughout Ukraine and Belarus, where it can be found in numerous bakeries and stores.
It is a soft chocolate-covered candy filled with soft meringue or milk soufflé.
Called bird’s milk cake because it is so delicate and exquisite, the dessert is made with custard separated by layers of thin fluffy sponge cake and topped with a ganache.
Zefir is a type of soft confectionery made by whipping fruit and berry purée with sugar and egg whites with subsequent addition of a gelling agent like pectin, carrageenan, agar, or gelatine. It is produced in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
For the best experience, it is recommended to pair zefir with a cup of black coffee on the side.
Smetannik is a traditional Russian layer cake.
It's usually made of flour, sugar, eggs, honey, and a sour cream frosting consisting of sour cream, vanilla, cream cheese, and milk.
The cake is traditionally made in a deep pan. Once done, it is recommended to let smetannik rest in the fridge overnight, and the next day it's cut into individual pieces and served.
Smetannik is especially popular at birthdays and similar festive occasions.
Paskha is a festive dessert that is commonly prepared for Easterits white color symbolizing Christ's purity.
The main ingredient is curd cheese, white eggs, sugar, butter, sour cream, almonds, raisins, spices, and vanilla. The pasha is shaped like a shortened pyramid.
This sweetened cheese cake dessert is decorated with Christian symbols as a part of the holiday feast.
Russian ice cream is creamier and richer than any ice cream.
Russians love their ice cream as much as they love their vodka.
The ice cream uses a lot of rich dairy and is usually topped with chocolate or strawberries.
Russians love ice cream, called morozhenoe. It is common to find it on many restaurant menus with a variety of toppings to choose from—like fruit, nuts, or chocolate.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt or Turkish Ayran that is made with milk that is fermented with kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture.
It is a slightly fizzy beverage with a mildly acidic flavor.
Kvass is an ancient, traditional Russian beverage made from buckwheat meal, wheat, rye, rye bread, or barley, but it can be made from any ingredient that can be fermented.
It has a relatively low alcoholic content (from 0,7-2.0 %) as a result of the natural fermentation process, but it is classified as a non-alcoholic beverage in Russia.
Sbiten is a traditional Russian hot beverage, very much loved by Russians specially in wintertime.
It is made from honey, water, jam, and various spices.
This tasty beverage can be made into an alcoholic drink by adding wine, vodka, or brandy to it.
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