Russian Cuisine

Russian cuisine

Russian cuisine (Русская кухня, Russkaya Kuhnya) is among the most diverse in the world, not least because Russia is the largest country in the world stretching between Europe and Asia. Russian cuisine originates from peasants in rural areas and harsh climates making do with what they had, which was mainly fish (on coastal areas — Russia still has the 4th biggest fishing industry in the world), poultry, game, mushrooms, berries and honey, while crops such as rye, wheat, barley and millet went into creating a wide range of different breads, pancakes, cereals, beers and vodkas. Soups and stews full of flavor are centered on seasonal or storable produce, fish, and meats. This wholly native food remained the staple for the vast majority of Russians well into the 20th century.

However, the cultural expansion of Russia during the 16th — 18th century widened Russia's culinary range with more refined foods and culinary techniques, with the import of things like smoked meats and fish, pastry cooking, salads and green vegetables, as well as chocolate, ice cream, wines, and juice. Of course only the aristocracy could afford such luxurous imports at the time, but through servant cooks and such like such foods and techiques were integrated with traditional Russian dishes. The result is extremely varied in technique, seasoning, and combination.

  • Shchi (cabbage soup) had been the predominant first course in Russian cuisine for over a thousand years
  • Kotlety (cotelettes, meatballs), a Western European dish popular in modern Russian households, are small pan-fried meat balls, not dissimilar from Salisbury steak and other such dishes.
  • Kholodets (or Studen'): Jellied chopped pieces of pork or veal meat with some spices added (pepper, parsley, garlic, bay leaf) and minor amounts of vegetables (carrots, onions).
  • Blini are thin pancakes made with yeasted batter which are often served in connection with a religious rite or festival.
  • Syrniki are fried curd fritters, garnished with sour cream, jam, honey, and/or apple sauce.
  • Vatrushka is a kind of cake with a ring of dough and tvorog (cottage cheese) in the middle, often with raisins or bits of fruit, from about five inches to two and a half feet in diameter.
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