When you think of Russian food you likely don’t consider it to be a global culinary great. However, Russia’s gastronomic influence across the world is very apparent particularly throughout Eastern Europe and central Asia.
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Most Popular Russian Dishes
Russian cuisine use a lot of common ingredients such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, potatoes and root vegetables. Porridge and bread are also common, and sour cream accompanies many dishes.
Vegetable soups and stews play a particularly important role in Russian cuisine. In fact, a meat and potato stew is probably what most people picture when they think of typical Russian food.
Our list of must-try traditional Russian foods aims to really showcase how vibrant and delicious Russian cuisine is. Here are our absolute must try Russian dishes.
Pelmeni is Russia’s national dish, they are bite-sized dumplings of different fillings wrapped in a thin layer of dough. They can be both savoury and sweet, depending on how you like them.
A Pelmeni has soft thin dough that is often filled with pork, beef or even fish. It can include various spices, vegetables and Garlic. They are most commonly served with a side of sour cream but there are variations of the Russian dish depending on the region.
A Salad Olivier is an easy-to-make version of the potato salad which is a staple in Russian cuisine. The dish is commonly prepared with various meats, carrots, potatoes, eggs, pickles, peas, onions mixed with mayo.
The Salad Olivier was created in 1860 at a French restaurant called Hermitage in Moscow by a man named Lucien Olivier. The recipe became popular after being featured in the 1897 book, A Guide to the Study of the Foundations of Culinary Arts, which had an updated version of the popular recipe that substituted tongue and caviar for more simple ingredients like potatoes.
This is the most popular version that is cooked today.
Solyanka is a 15th Century Russian dish also known as the hangover soup by many locals. The soup can be made with fish, hot dogs, smoked pork, mushrooms or beef and boiled with carrots, celery, onions, parsley, pickles, blended tomatoes and various spices and peppers.
The soup is also quite popular in Germany and you may find canned versions of it in German supermarkets.
Cherburki is also known as a turnover. It’s a special Russian dish that you don’t need many ingredients for and is easy to make. It is made with beef or pork with herbs, onions, seasoning, and parsley that is covered in a soft dough, folded and fried to perfection.
Borscht is a delicious Russian belly-warming beetroot soup that is made with common food items you may find in your fridge such as tomato sauce, potatoes. cabbage, beets, carrots, onions and beef.
This soup is great to serve to your family to keep them warm during a cold winter’s day. You can season it with ingredients such as salt, pepper or sour cream for an amazing taste.
Even though Borscht is often connected with Russia, it is believed that its origins come from Ukraine. The word is said to be loosely derived from the Slavic word for cow parsnip.
Blins, Blinis or blinchiki are sweet traditional Russian Pancakes. Blins are very popular in Russia with a holiday similar to Pancake Tuesday but for a week called Maslenitsa.
It’s held every year to celebrate the start of Spring. In a pre-Christian Slavic era they were very common to eat during the end of winter to celebrate the rebirth of the new sun. This is where Maslentsa their pancake week started and how Blins became synonymous with Russia.
Beef Stroganoff is one of the most popular traditional Russian dishes commonly eaten around the wintertime. There are various ways to make the foodie favourite but it commonly involves meat chunks, pasta or noodles covered in a creamy delicious sauce.
The recipe for beef stroganoff was first published in an 1871 cookbook A gift to young housewives by Elena Molokhovets. The origin of who created the recipe if unclear but the dish became popular worldwide post World War 2.
Kotely is essentially Russian Burgers but is also popular in Poland. Kotely is the Polish word for cutlets or chops. Its made with ground beef filled with onions, egg, garlic, vegetables and the meat patties are fried. These are great to make for friends during the summer.
Russian Honey Cake
This is a very tasty Russian sponge cake dessert with various layers that can be made with ingredients like a biscuit, honey, milk, cinnamon and butter and sour cream or whipped cream.
You can freeze the cake once baked for that cold delicious taste. Its also known as Medovik and it was created in the 19th century by a chef who wanted to impress Empress Elizabeth of Russia, Wife of Alexander the 1st.
She hated honey but yet she fell in love with this cake that was made for her. The cake became quite popular during the Soviet era and is quite a tasty dessert. If this cake impressed royalty, it may also impress you with its unique delicious honey taste.
Shashlik is a Russian kebab meat skewer, the recipe for this Russian cuisine has so many ways to make it, with varying ingredients because the recipes are passed down from family to family with their unique styles.
You can make this dish with lamb, garlic, onions, pepper and parsley. You can marinate the meat with various sauces. Shashlik originated in central Asia and became a popular Russian dish around the 19th century.
You can buy it from Russian street vendors, takeaways and sometimes in restaurants if you ever decide to visit Russia and try their popular dish.
Rassolnik is a pickled cucumber soup, prepared with vegetables and beef. It is well known for its salty and sour taste.
The pickled cucumbers are the obvious star of the dish, lending a lot of salty flavor. However, herbs and spices work in tandem to add depth to the flavor profile, giving the dish a really unique, delicious Russian taste.
Vareniki are stuffed dumplings prepared using basic cottage cheese, mashed potatoes or sauerkraut. Some of the recipes also include ingredients like olives, pumpkin, nettle or strawberries.
Generally garnished with fried onions and accompanied by sour cream, these dumplings come in both sweet and savory flavors depending on the ingredients used. The preparation is time-consuming, but many people also buy the frozen ready-made versions from the supermarket.
Kurnik, also referred to as wedding pirog or tsar pirog, is a type of Russian savory pie typically stuffed with chicken, onions, eggs, rice or kasha, and several other optional ingredients. Occasionally, this dish is also stuffed with boiled rooster combs.