Pelmeni is the Russian version of dumplings or tortellini – only better! The difference is in the tasty herbs added to the packed meat fillings of lamb, pork or beef and the thinness of the dough. You can also find fish or creamy mushrooms as common fillers. When ordering them, you’ll be asked if you want to eat them solo (boiled) or served in a broth. If you have a sweet tooth or are vegetarian, you might prefer vareniki – a similar dish, which comes filled with potatoes, apple puree or sweet cottage cheese.
Here is the recipe for pelmeni: http://www.ruscuisine.com/recipes/breads-and-pastry/dumplings/n–524
Borsch hardly needs an introduction. This humble beetroot soup is a worldwide celebrity and a delicious belly warmer on Russia’s colder days, served with or without meat, potato, herbs and smetana (Russian sour cream). 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 just a starter. A staple of Russia cuisine, it would be an offense to leave Russia without trying this soup.
Here is the recipe for borsch: http://russiafeed.com/classic-borsch-recipe-make-you-go-yum/
Blini are a lot like French crêpes, only thicker and greasier. They are also incredibly versatile – they can be filled with meat, covered in cheese or dusted with powder sugar. The traditional condiments are smoked salmon, caviar, smetana, and for sweet lovers – all kinds of homemade jams, honey, and sgushchenka (Russian condensed milk).
Here is the recipe for blini: http://www.ruscuisine.com/recipes/breads-and-pastry/n–40/
4. Salad Olivier
If you happen to be in Russia on New Year, you will see this salad in every house – see for yourself. Olivier is quite fattening for a salad, but it is absolutely delicious. It’s named after the chef Lucien Olivier who created the ‘secret’ recipe in Moscow around the mid-1800s, although the original ingredients have been swapped for cheaper, more available foods. Since then, the dish spread internationally, and chances are you’ve tried a version in your home country. However, the Russian version is fresher and crispier with a light smattering of mayonnaise, fresh cucumber or crunchy Russian pickles.
Here is the recipe for olivier: http://www.ruscuisine.com/recipes/salads-and-dressings/n–593/
Oh boy, do the Russians love their kvas! In the “Encyclopedia of food” it was written: After water, the most widespread beverage was Kvas … we even think that people drink it more often than water…” – that’s how popular kvas was. Kvas is a fermented drink made of rye or bread and it contains malt, just like beer. Unlike beer, it supposedly has very low levels of alcohol, which is why in summer you will see Russian kids consuming it in copious amounts. Try a glass of kvas and you will not be able to stop!
Here is the recipe for kvas: http://russiafeed.com/traditional-russian-drink-will-refresh-hottest-day/
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.