Tag: Traditional Foods of Russia

Legendary Dishes | Plăcintă / Platsindy / Плацинды (pies)


Traditionally made with a dough from flour, oil, water and salt, these pies are shared by the diverse peoples of the Balkans and the lands to the north and east – Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

They also share another common tradition – the desire to use every type of filling that is indigenous. This includes apple, cabbage, cheese, cherry, poppy, potato, pumpkin, soured cabbage, walnut.

These days the dough is a trip through the myriad dough preparations now prominent in the Balkans and eastern Europe, preparations that are bread doughs, bread-cake doughs, cake doughs, pastry doughs, plain doughs and soda doughs.

The shape of the pie is also distinctive, round, rolled or square, folded or what is known as skirts-up because the thin corners of the dough are stretched and brought together over the filling and sealed like an envelope.

Here we present the various doughs, for the fillings go to the separate recipes.

Dough Basic (Plain)

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 275 g water
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt. Work the oil and water into the flour to form a loose dough. Cover, rest for 2 hours.

Dough Butter

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 130 ml water
  • 120 g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt. Make a hole in the flour, add butter, egg, oil and water. Bring together, knead into an elastic dough. Place dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, rest for 30 minutes.

Dough Kefir

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 220 ml kefir
  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 10 g salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt and mix. Add egg, kefir and oil, knead for 5 minutes into a smooth dough. Cover, rest for 2 hours.

Dough Vinegar

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 275 ml water
  • 15 ml vinegar
  • 15 ml sunflower oil
  • 10 g salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt. Work the oil, vinegar and water into the flour to form a loose dough. Cover, rest for 1 hour.

Dough Yeast

  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 275 ml water, warmed
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 30 g yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Put the sugar into a bowl, add the warm water, stir to dissolve the sugar, add yeast, leave to foam. Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt. Add the yeast mixture to the flour. Knead into a loose dough, add the oil in stages. Leave to rise for an hour, degas, leave for a further hour.









Soured Cabbage


Pies of

Legendary Dishes | Plăcintă cu Varza / Platsindy s Kapustoy / Плацинды с капустой (cabbage pies)

Legendary Dishes | Plăcintă cu Varza / Platsindy s Kapustoy / Плацинды с капустой (cabbage pies)


The story of these distinctive pies is told here.


  • 500 g white wheat flour
  • 220 ml kefir
  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 10 g salt

Sift flour into a large bowl, add salt and mix. Add egg, kefir and oil, knead for 5 minutes into a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rest for 2 hours.


  • 600 g green cabbage, stalks removed, sliced thin, blanched
  • 600 g onions, sliced thin, browned in oil
  • 2 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying

Combine the blanched cabbage and browned onions in a bowl with the mixed herbs, oil and seasonings. Mix throughly to distribute onions among the cabbage.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece into a box shape with equal sides. Place each piece on a floured surface, roll out thin into a 36 centimetre x 36 centimetre square, cut into four equal squares.

Place filling across the surface of each square, bring the corners of the dough together into the middle to form an envelope shape.

Fry in shallow oil on medium heat, 5 minutes each side and 30 seconds on each of the edges, until a crust forms.

Alternatively gently push a fork into the top of the dough to create an air hole and bake for 10 minutes in a 240ºC oven, turn and reduce heat to 220ºC, and bake for 5 minutes until the pies have a golden-brown crust.

Pies of


Legendary Dishes | Bretlinu Omlete (sprat omelette)


The sprat population of the Baltic sea has remained stable despite successive catches of 300,000 tonnes in the late 2010s and fears of a collapse of the entire eco-system have been allayed for now.

An annual plan was put in place in 2016 to manage sprat numbers in conjunction with cod and herring. The Baltic cod fishery is under pressure and, as cod prey on their pelagic relatives, over fishing of the sprat population would be detrimental to the dwindling cod.

Sprats have become the dominant fish in the Baltic amidst continuing climate change which may yet impact the eco-system.

In the meantime the sprat is as popular as ever, an essential ingredient in the traditional dishes of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.

  • 800 g smoked sprats
  • 12 eggs
  • 300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, large pinches

Whisk three of the eggs. Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of oil, add a quarter of the sprats, then the whisked eggs.

Cook until the eggs are done, garnish with dill and parsley, season with salt and pepper, serve with tomatoes.

Repeat the process with remaining ingredients, to serve a total of 4 people.

Indigenous Ingredients


Legendary Dishes | Yaitsa Farshirovannye Яйца Фаршированные (devilled eggs)


Halved hard-boiled eggs, stuffed with a paste of anchovies, butter, egg yolks and seasonings is one of the oldest traditional recipes in Europe.

Apicius records a recipe that included garum, garlic, olive oil, pepper and wine.

From imperial Rome to modern Italy the recipe evolved, anchovies replacing the garum for a less punguent taste, butter replacing oil for a creamy texture, chopped parsley adding an artistic touch.

This exact recipe is found in Sweden, made simply with anchovies, butter and seasonings, arranged on a bed of lettuce with a garnish of chopped anchovy fillets and sliced tomatoes.

It is also found in Poland and Russia, where it disappears into a collection of a hundred variations on the theme – from the exquisite lemon juice, mustard and sour cream paste (popular in the Baltic states) to the esoteric salmon and liver paté (popular in Scandinavia) and the enigmatic creamed caviar (popular among celebrity chefs).

In Kaliningrad, as in mother Russia and other northern European countries, hard-boiled eggs are part of the festival culture, when unpeeled eggs are decorated, shelled eggs are coloured, and egg halves are stuffed with every kind of filling imaginable.

This is the basic recipe, with one suggestion for colouring, with anchovy paste. Other fillings below.

  • 1 litre water, boiled
  • 4 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 2 red beets, peeled, grated
  • 75 g butter
  • 10 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 10 g parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Water, for boiling eggs

Boil eggs timed according to size, from five minutes for small eggs to seven minutes for large eggs, immediately plunge into cold water until they are cold, about 15 minutes, peel, halve along their length, set yolks aside.

Grate beets into a large bowl, pour in boiling water, add egg halves, leave for an hour.

Sieve yolks into a bowl, cream with butter, add anchovies, black pepper and parsley, retaining some for the garnish.

Remove halves from beet water, dry.

Spoon anchovy paste into halves.


Other Stuffed Eggs

  • … with anchovies, capers and olives
  • … with apples and mackerel
  • … with capers
  • … with carrots and onions
  • … with caviar
  • … with cheese (any hard raw milk cheese)
  • … with chicken livers
  • … with cream cheese
  • … with green peas
  • … with ham (bacon, ham, pancetta, prosciutto)
  • … with ham and onions
  • … with herring mousse
  • … with horseradish
  • … with mint and tarragon
  • … with mushrooms and peas
  • … with mushrooms and tomatoes
  • … with mustard
  • … with nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
  • … with paprika
  • … with radish
  • … with raisins and cheese
  • … with raisins and grape juice
  • … with raisins and wine
  • … with sardines
  • … with shrimp
  • … with smoked bacon
  • … with smoked salmon
  • … with sour cream
  • … with spinach and white cheese
  • … with sprats
  • … with squid
  • … with tarragon and Mascarpone
  • … with tuna.

Note — one or more of brandy, butter, cream, lemon juice, milk or olive oil will loosen the yolk.

THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Saint Petersburg | Pyshki Piterskiye Пышки Питерские (Petersburg ‘donuts’)

Known as ‘pyshki Piterskiye’ and regarded with affection, they look like donuts and they have a similar taste to donuts, just don’t tell a native of Saint Petersburg that you like their prized donuts, because you will be told they are not donuts – they are dumplings.

Closer to home the real debate about their ‘pyshki’ is whether the home-made can replicate the machine-made.

For some, who like their nostalga and the taste that accompanies childhood through the years, there is no debate.

For others, who believe that the taste will always be personal, the home-made versions give the cook an opportunity to play with the flavours, to produce a unique taste.

Never mind the shape or the hole in the middle, it is the taste that matters.

Baking powder or yeast?

We believe the yeast dough makes the best ‘pyshki’. Then they are not genuine Petersburg, they are fake Moscow!

You can’t win.


  • 135 ml water, warmed
  • 30 g vanilla sugar
  • 10 g flour
  • 10 g yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, add the flour and sugar, whisk into a batter, leave to ferment for 45 minutes.


  • 500 g flour
  • 275 ml yeast mixture
  • 90 g sour cream
  • 90 g vanilla sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40 g butter, melted
  • 5 g salt
  • Oil, for frying
  • Icing sugar, for coating

Work the butter into the flour, add the salt, vanilla sugar and egg yolks and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture, knead for ten minutes to produce a smooth but slightly sticky dough.

Leave to rise for an hour, de-gas, leave for another hour.

Cut the dough into 45 g pieces, shape into balls, leave for 30 minutes. Punch a hole in each ball, widen into a ring.

Heat the oil to 180ºC.

Place dough rings into oil, fry for 90 seconds each side. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels on a large plate.

If you want your ‘pyshki’ to have a melted coating apply the icing sugar at this stage. If you want a speckled appearance wait until the ‘pyshki’ have cooled a little. They should be eaten fresh.


1 Norwegian Breakfast

Lefse – Potato Cakes

Once upon a time travellers on Norwegian Railways sleeper trains were handed special tickets by the train chief. ‘These are for your breakfast, go to the hotel across from the station,’ the chief would explain to bemused travellers. The sight on arrival in the grand hall of the grand hotel was a grand breakfast, an assortment of hot and cold foods that had no rival anywhere in the world. Sadly this tradition has lapsed. On the sleeper trains between Oslo, the capital of Norway, and Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim and between Trondheim and Bodø in the far north, a modest breakfast is served onboard. The grandiose buffet breakfasts are becoming a thing of the past, but some hotels are clinging to tradition by presenting modest grand buffets. Think of every possible breakfast food that is served across Europe, add the Norwegian love for loaves and fishes, cheeses and crispbreads, bacon and eggs, pickles and potatoes, and then something you never imagined.

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Cheese – Brunost Cheese – Gamalost Cheese – Gudbrandsdalsost Cheese – Jarlsberg Cheese – Norvegia Cheese – Pultost Cheese – Ridder Cheese – Snøfrisk Coffee
  • Crackers
  • Crispbreads
  • Eggs – boiled, fried, poached
  • Fishes – Klippfisk (cod), Lutefisk (lyed cod or ling), Sild (herring)
  • Leverpostej (liver paste)
  • Milk
  • Museli
  • Pickles
  • Lefse (potato flatbreads)
  • Potatoes
  • Smoked bacon, grilled to a crisp
  • Smoked salmon, with lefse or toast
  • Tea
  • Toast
  • Yoghurt

2 Welsh Breakfast

Bacon and eggs are a traditional breakfast throughout Europe, cockels and laverbread less so. In south Wales the sands stretch the length of the Gower peninsula. This is the cockel shore – a place of the laver. Laver is a soft purplish sea vegetable found at Atlantic shores, picked from rocks at low tide. It is thoroughly washed in two changes of water, drained, cooked and sold dried or fresh.

  • 8 slices smoked back bacon
  • 400 g laver pulp
  • 100 g oatmeal
  • Cockles
  • Eggs

Combine laver pulp and oatmeal, shape into 5 cm wide, 2 cm thick cakes. Fry bacon, remove, allowing fat to drip into the frying pan, keep warm. Bring heat up, wait until the bacon fat is starting to smoke, then fry the laver cakes, two minutes each side. Serve with bacon, sausages and poached (or fried) eggs … And fresh cockles.

3 Irish Breakfast

  • 8 potatoes
  • 4 mackerel, filleted
  • 90 g butter
  • Seasonings

Boil the potatoes in their skins. Pan-fry the mackerel in half of the butter, skin-side down first. Serve with the potatoes, split in half, a little butter in each.

4 Sicilian Breakfast

  • 2 squid, cleaned, cut into small pieces
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 5 g chilli flakes
  • Water, for boiling

Bring water to the boil, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Place squid in the boiling water, boil for 90 seconds, then transfer it to the frying pan. Flash fry squid, about three minutes, adding the chilli after two minutes. Deglaze pan with lemon juice, pour over squid, serve.

5 French Breakfast

  • 16 oysters
  • 4 slices thick country bread
  • 4-6 slices streaky bacon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 15 ml anchovy sauce
  • Pepper, large pinch
  • 4 wooden skewers

Shell the oysters, soak in the anchovy sauce and lemon juice. Season, wrap a piece of bacon around the oyster, skewer, four to each stick. Toast the bread and place the oyster wraps under a hot grill for two minutes.

6 English and Scottish Breakfast

  • 600 g haddock / smoked haddock, cut into chunks
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 350 g long grain rice
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 25 g butter
  • 5 g parsley, chopped
  • 5 cardamoms, crushed
  • 3 g cinnamon
  • Turmeric powder, very large pinch
  • Seasonings
  • Water, for boiling

Sauté onion in butter in a large frying pan for ten minutes, add bay leaf, spices and seasonings. Stir rice into the onion mixture, add stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Simmer haddock in water for five minutes, flake and set aside. Chop eggs into small pieces. Stir the eggs, fish and parsley into the rice, heat through, season.

7 Swedish Breakfast

  • 2 litres water
  • 250 g smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices wholewheat bread
  • 10 g salt
  • Black peppercorns, crushed

Salt the water and bring to the boil. Break an egg into a small bowl, carefully let it slip into the water, reduce heat and poach for three minutes, remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. Repeat with remaining eggs. Toast bread, place a poached egg on each slice, garnish with equal amounts of the salmon and a sprinkling of black pepper.

8 Turkish Breakfast

  • 1 kg Black Sea anchovy fillets
  • 250 g corn / maize flour
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • Sunflower oil

Pour flour into a large bowl, dredge anchovies through flour, place side by side on plates. Heat oil, fry anchovies until crisp, drain. Serve with lemon juice.

9 Greek Breakfast

The art of preparing octopus for the grill has consumed the time of Greeks for centuries. The tenderising process alternates between pounding, freezing, baking, marinating and slow cooking. Yet the one method that remains infallible is drying the whole fish under a hot sun in a light breeze.

  • 1 kg octopus, sun dried
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml vinegar
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Blend the oil and vinegar, cut the octopus into pieces. Marinade in this mixture for an hour. Grill under a high heat for three or four minutes until the flesh is tender. Serve with vinaigrette of lemon juice and oregano.

10 Russian Breakfast

Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat describes caviar as ‘the last legendary food of modern times’. Traditionally caviar was made from the roe of wild sturgeon in the nutrient rich Caspian Sea.

It came in four varieties: –

Beluga (pale to dark grey eggs from the larger fish, up to 1000 kg).

Oscietra (various coloured eggs from the smaller fish, 300 kg).

Sevruga (dark grey to black eggs from the smallest fish, 60 kg).

Sterlet (a very small sturgeon that is almost extinct).

Seruga is thought to be too strong for a breakfast caviar, beluga too rich, which leaves oscietra, a light nutty caviar. Because of its flavour, roe from the Icelandic capelin is accepted as caviar and suitable for breakfast.

  • 2 eggs
  • 80 g oscietra caviar / black capelin caviar
  • 45 ml kefir
  • 45 g flour
  • 10 g sugar
  • Baking soda, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt, pinch

Whisk the kefir into the eggs, season, add flour and soda to make a smooth batter, leave to froth. Heat some oil in a hot frying pan, pour a tablespoon of the batter into the centre of the pan, remove from heat. When holes form on the surface, flip over, and after a few seconds press with a spatula into the pan, putting it back on the heat for a minute. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with the caviar.

Legendary Dishes | Pierogi / Pīrāgi / Pirogi Пироги (bread-cake dough pies)


Pies filled closed or open with a combination from apple, cabbage, cheese, egg, mushroom, onion, potato, pumpkin and rice to accompany fish or meat with various aromatics and jams are an integral feature of the traditional food of northern Europe, from the Baltic states across to the Russian heartlands and down to the Ukrainian steppes.

What makes these particular pies unique in traditional cuisine are the various types of dough, which are a cross between a cake dough and a yeast dough with a liquid medium that could be kefir or milk, fat content that could be butter or margarine and sour cream and include potato among the various types of flour.

The sour-sweet combination that is apple, cabbage and onion is the traditional base and after that there are countless variations on numerous themes that include chicken, fish and various meats.

The pies come in all shapes and sizes.


  • 500 g white wheat flour, t550
  • 200 ml milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 1 small egg
  • 60 g sugar
  • 50 g sour cream
  • 25 g butter / margarine, melted
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Dissolve the yeast in 5 tablespoons of the warm milk and one teaspoon of sugar, leave to froth for 15 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the sour cream into the remaining milk and sugar. Add the yeast mixture followed by the melted butter or margarine, and finally the egg and salt with a few swift turns of the whisk each time. Sieve the flour into this mixture, fold out onto a clean work surface and begin to knead.

This is a sticky dough so after 5 minutes add a drop of oil, around a teaspoon, knead for a further 5 minutes, add more oil, knead again for 5 minutes, add oil and knead until the dough is elastic, adding more oil if necessary.

The desired dough temperature is 24ºC.

Leave to rise for two hours, degas, leave to rise again, for another two hours.


  • 1 green cabbage / kale, leaves separated, stems removed, blanched in hot water for 30 minutes, sliced into strips
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 1 kg onions, sliced
  • 1 kg sour apples, peeled, cored, puréed with 30 g sugar
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs (from dill, lovage, marjoram, sage, tarragon)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Fry the onions in 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes until the onions are soft and have taken on colour at the edges.

Divide the onion mixture into three portions.

Put the minced meat in the onion pan, add one third of the cooked onions and gently bring up the heat. When the meat begins to brown low the heat and reduce the liquid content.

Put the blanched cabbage strips in a small pot, add the second third of the cooked onions, cook over a medium heat until the cabbage is soft and the liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes.

Put the last third of the cooked onions in a pot, add 500 grams of apple purée, cook over a high heat until the liquid is reduced.

Grease 4 pie tins. Roll out the dough to a thickness of half a centimetre. Cut into two rounds with a sufficient amount of dough to come up the sides, press into the tins. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut into rounds slightly larger than the diametre of the pie tins.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Spoon the meat-onion mixture onto the bottom of each pie dough, cover with the cabbage-onion mixture followed by the apple-onion mixture. Top with remaining apple purée.

Place the dough rounds on top. Seal the edges of each dough, impress edges with a fork. Pierce the top of each pie with the fork. Glaze the tops with an egg wash.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Shokoladnyye Pryaniki Шоколадные Пряники (chocolate gingerbreads)


Russia has the most diverse gingerbread tradition in Europe. From allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger as the standard spice mixture to none at all, from kefir, milk and sour cream as a liquid medium to none at all, and from cheese, chocolate, honey, jam and nuts as fillings and flavourings to none at all, the Russian gingerbread is an enigma until it is decorated in the Tula fashion and then it becomes a majestic creation.

The basic ingredients are baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, flour, butter, eggs, milk and sugar. After that it is show time! Russian bakers revel in their biscuit gingerbreads and in their cake gingerbreads and continue to find different ways to celebrate that creative spirit.

Among the elaborations are these chocolate gingerbreads, spiced with allspice, cinnamon and ginger.

  • 350 g white wheat flour, t450
  • 210 g sour cream
  • 90 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 60 g honey
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 8 g ginger powder
  • 5 g allspice powder
  • 5 g cinnamon powder
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Nutmeg, 10 gratings
  • Tip of knife bicarbonate of soda
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

Coating 1

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp water / lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Coating 2

  • 100 g chocolate, 75%

In a saucepan melt the butter, honey and sugar over a low heat. Leave to cool a little.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder, salt and spices. Add the egg to the cream. Add the dry and wet mixtures to the warm honey mixture. Form into a loose dough.

Dust a clean surface with cocoa powder. Roll into a long thick sausage on the cocoa powder, cut at 3 centimetre intervals. Place on parchment on a tray. Bake at 190℃ for 25 minutes, leave to cool on a rack.

Coat in chocolate melted in a bain-marie or in a cocoa powder, icing sugar solution.

Legendary Dishes | Solyanka {Солянка} (winter soup pot)


This winter soup pot is associated with every type of indigenous food across the vast expanse of Russia, from beef and pork meat on the bone, cooked, cured and smoked meats and sausages, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, leaf vegetables like cabbage and kale, plus beans, capers, garlic, lemons, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, pickles, sour cream and tomatoes, and seasonings including herbs and spices. Solyanka was one of the traditional food subjects on the food forum Povarenok, specifically this thread. This version is adapted from that conversation.

  • 1.5 litres + 1 litre water
  • 750 g pork chops
  • 600 g onions, sliced
  • 500 g potatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 250 g cabbage, sliced thin
  • 250 g carrots, grated
  • 2 smoked pork sausages, cut into thick slices
  • 2 pickled gherkins, diced small
  • 100 g black olives
  • 100 g smoked pork loin, diced small
  • 4 tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 50 g capers
  • 4 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 30 g dried forest mushrooms, soaked in water overnight
  • 30 ml sour juice from gerkhins
  • 30 ml rapeseed oil / olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste / red pepper paste
  • 15 g boullion / mixed seasonings
  • 2 tsp savory
  • 5 g allspice
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dill
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Place the pork chops in the bottom of a large heavy-base pot, dry fry for a couple of minutes until the chops begin to realise their fat. Turn the chops over and fry until the fat is released. Pour one and half litres of water into the bottom, bring slowly to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave to cool. Remove the meat, shred.

Add one litre of water to the pork cooking liquid. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, sausages, mixed seasonings, black pepper and salt, cover and cook for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes add the herbs, capers, cabbage, gherkins, tomato or red pepper paste and three of the mashed garlic cloves.

While the potatoes are cooking pour the oil into a large frying pan, fry the onions over a medium to low heat for 30 minutes. Add allspice, paprika and remaining garlic clove. Fry for 5 minutes. Add carrots, fry covered over a gentle heat for 15 minutes. Add the juice, reduce for five minutes.

Transfer the mixture from the frying pan into the pot followed by the pork chop meat and pork loin cubes. Heat through.

Serve with the olives, sour cream and lemon slices.

Legendary Dishes | Zrazy {Зразы }(stuffed meat rolls)


Made with chicken or pork or with combinations of the two, the fillings include cheese, eggs, mushrooms, onions and shallots.

This is the chicken version.


  • 600 g chicken meat, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml meat broth
  • black pepper
  • salt


  • 200 g onions
  • 45 g hard cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, mashed
  • 15 ml vegetable oil
  • dill
  • parsley
  • black pepper
  • salt


  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml vegetable oil (optional)

Combine chicken with broth, egg and seasonings, leave to rest. Shape into one cm thick cakes. Brown onions in oil, cover and cooked for 15 minutes, leave to cool. Combine onions with hard-boiled eggs, cheese, greens and seasonings, roll into small balls. With wet hands divide the chicken mixture into six pieces, form into balls, push filling mixture into each ball, seal. Shape into oblongs, coat in breadcrumbs, fry until golden or bake in oven at 180ºC for 30 minutes.

Chicken and Pork

This is the chicken and pork version with a mushroom and shallot filling.

  • 300 g chicken thighs, double ground
  • 300 g pork, double ground
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 ml milk
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt


  • 200 g mushrooms, sliced and halved
  • 100 g shallots, chopped small
  • 30 g butter / 30 ml rapeseed oil
  • 15 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, large pinch


  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • 45 ml vegetable oil (optional)
  • 30 g butter (optional)

Combine the chicken and pork mince with the eggs, milk and seasonings, knead a little, refrigerate for an hour. Melt butter or oil in a frying pan, sauté shallots for 10 minutes, add mushrooms and cook down, about 10 minutes, add stock, season and leave to cool. Divide into four pieces. Flatten each piece, layer with a quarter of the filling, shape into oblongs, coat in breadcrumbs. Fry in butter and oil until golden or bake in oven at 180ºC for 30 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Kurnik s Kuritsey i Kartoshkoy {Курник с курицей и картошкой} (chicken and potato pie)



  • 750 g white spelt flour
  • 400 ml kefir, brought up to room temperature
  • 250 g white wheat flour
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 ml milk, warmed
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g sugar (optional)
  • 25 g yeast
  • 15 g salt

Dissolve the yeast in the milk and, if using, sugar. Sieve the flours into a large bowl, add the salt, work the butter into the flour, add the yeast mixture, egg and knead into a smooth dough. The desired dough temperature is 25ºC. Leave to rise for two hours, degas, leave for another two hours, degas.


  • 900 g potatoes, whole, peeled, sliced thin
  • 600 g chicken breast and thigh meat, chopped small
  • 500 g onions / shallots, sliced
  • 30 g butter
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp light (Kikkoman) soy sauce
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g salt


1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water

Sweat onions or shallots in two tablespoons of oil over a low heat for 30 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add chicken, increase heat and cook until it turns white. Season. Fold the potatoes into the mixture, cover and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Leave to cool naturally. Stir soy sauce into the mixture.

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Cut the dough into 200 gram balls, roll each ball flat, place filling in the middle, bring edges together, fold each side into the middle and pinch edges. Place together on a greased tray. Leave to rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 35 minutes.

Text & Photo © Fricot Project 1998-2020

Legendary Dishes | Botvigna / Botvinja / Botvinnik {Ботвинья / Ботвинник} (beef and beet soup / beet soup)


In Russia this traditional dish is a chilled summer soup made largely with red beet, leaves and root, horseradish, mustard leaves, sorrel leaves, spinach, spring onions and wild greens, dandeloin, nettles, wild garlic with kvass and lemon juice. In Bosnia and Herzegovina it is made hot with celery, onions, red beets and beef. And back in Russia sometmes it is made hot with fish.

The name of the soup comes from the Russian word botva – leafy tops of root vegetables, usually beet and sorrel. Traditionally the beets are peeled and grated. After that the other ingredients are personal and regional, and will included every type of leaf and root vegetable. Kvass, the fermented bread-yeast drink, is generally added at the end of cooking to give the soup a sour flavour.

Hot Version

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 beet with tops
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 g sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 4 pickled cucumbers
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chilled
  • 4 ham slices, thick, cubed
  • 8 spring onions, chopped
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • 4 tsp kvass
  • 2 tsp horseradish

Separate the tops (the stems and leaves) from the beetroots. Wash the beets and tops, peel the beets, coarse grate. Chop the stems and leaves.

Put the grated beets into boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tops, salt, sugar and lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes.

Garnish with choice of cooked meats, greens, pickles and spices.

We suggest the above ingredients. Cut the eggs in half, put two halves in each bowl, then pour the soup and arrange choice of garnish.

Beef and Beet Version

  • 3 litres water
  • 750 g (5) red beets, grated
  • 750 g beef, cubed small
  • 750 g potatoes, small whole (optional)
  • 500 g carrots, grated
  • 400 g (5) plums, de-seeded, sliced
  • 300 g celery, cubed small
  • 300 g green leeks, thin sliced
  • 300 g (3) onions, quartered
  • 300 ml sour cream (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 10 g capers
  • 5 g peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp celery leaves
  • 1 tbsp lovage leaves
  • 1 tbsp peppermint
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pinch
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped, for garnish

Cook the leeks in a litre of water for two hours. When the mixture is cool, blend with the cooking water, set aside. In two litres of water add the bay leaf, beef, capers, celery, onions dotted with cloves, peppercorns, plums and, if using, the potatoes. Cook over a low heat for two hours. At this stage add the grated beets, grated carrots, red pepper and the blended leeks. Cook for an hour. Taste for flavour and season with a small amount of salt. Add the leaves and mint, cook for 10 minutes. Serve garnished with capers and chives and, if using, a dollop of sour cream.

Legendary Dishes | Chorba / Ciorba (bean and vegetable soup)


A mixed vegetable winter soup laden with brown, red or white beans, variations of this soup are found throughout the eastern Balkans and among the Black Sea and Caspian Sea countries as a winter stable.

  • 3 litres water
  • 400 g brown / red / white beans
  • 400 g carrots, grated
  • 300 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 250 g onions, chopped
  • 150 g roasted red pepper paste
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 30 g sweet paprika
  • 20 g parsley, chopped
  • 15 g mint, chopped
  • 10 g vegetable bouillon
  • 10 g savory / sage, chopped
  • 5 g salt

Soak beans overnight. Bring to a boil in a large pot, remove scum. Lower heat, add onions followed by carrots and tomatoes. Cook for an hour, add red pepper paste followed by the herbs and spices, then the oil. Ladle 100 ml of the soup with roughly half and half liquid to solid and blend into a purée. Continue to cook until beans are tender. Finish with parsley.

Serve with country bread.

Legendary Dishes | Găluşcă / Galuska / Galushky / Haluška / Halušky / Kliecka / Virtinukai (dumplings)


The dumpling tradition across northern and eastern Europe is generally characterised by the simple flour and egg version. Known as galuska or haluška it is also associated with the potato dumpling tradition with mashed potatoes added to the flour and eggs. Whereas in Ukraine the flour and eggs will be married to curd cheese and sour cream. This is the original version – flour, eggs and butter – generally favoured in Hungary.

  • 200 g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g butter
  • 15 ml oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Combine flour and salt, work in eggs, oil and water to form a soft dough.
Boil a large pot of salted water.
Grate dough into the water.
When the noodles rise to the surface drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Melt butter in a saucepan.
Dress with the butter.

Legendary Dishes | Tyurya Тюря (bread soup)


Known as Siberian gaol soup, this surprisingly delicious soup is also associated with fasting. No longer as popular although it is improved with the quality of bread. The liquid medium is a choice of kvass, milk, tomato juice, vegetable stock or water, the latter hardly necessary anymore.

  • 1.2 litres kvass, warmed / milk, warmed / tomato juice, warmed / water, boiled / vegetable stock, warmed
  • 4 bread slices, cut into small squares / 200 g breadcrumbs
  • 4 soft-boiled eggs (optional)
  • 140 g onions / shallots, chopped small
  • 40 g butter
  • 5 g salt 
  • 5 g black pepper

Divide the bread or breadcrumbs into four equal amounts, place in bowl, add onions and a knob of butter in each bowl. Season and pour an equal amount of liquid into each bowl. Stir and eat.