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Borshch Or Blintz? The Russian Foods You Simply Must Try

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You may have heard about Russian food, but had very few opportunities to sample any of the nation's understated cuisine. Visiting the country is the perfect opportunity to expand your Russian food and drink knowledge beyond just vodka and chicken kievs. If you make it though a Russian voyage without trying any, if not all, of the following, you've not been to Russia!

Borshch
This is probably one of Russia's defining dishes. You may wonder what exactly is so amazing about a bowl of cabbage in meat stock. It is a staple and represents Russia's rich history. This soup from the Soviet kitchen was eaten by peasants and at the high table of the Kremlin alike. It gets its aptly coloured redness from its main ingredient - the beetroot.

photo credit: blogs.edmontonjournal.com
Borshch is somewhat of an impostor in that it originated from the Ukrainian, but is now thought of as quintessentially Russian cuisine. The name for the soup comes from the Slav 'borshchevik' which refers to hogweed, a herb whose leaves and stalks were commonly used for broths. It can be served both hot and cold and usually is complemented with boiled potatoes or a dollop of Slivki (soured cream).

Other soups found in Russia include Okroshka, a cool, fresh broth made with Kvass (bread beer) and vegetables such a cucumber and spring onions, and Solyanka, a thick soup with a bit of a spicy kick commonly containing either meat fish or mushrooms.

Borshch is traditionally made with pork fat, but the Jewish variation will use an alternative to comply with the kosher food laws.

Pelmeni
photo credit: ua-travelling.com

Every nation has its dumpling, and Pelmeni is the Russian version. The filling is wrapped in unleavened dough made from flour, water and sometimes egg. They originated from Tartastan in Siberia but some believe they derived from China, hence the use of spices. The filling is typical a meatball-type mixture.

Beef Stroganov

photo credit: chaosinthekitchen.com
Stroganov has its origins in 19th century Russia. The dish of sautéed beef in a sauce with sour cream, onions and mushrooms is thought to get its name from Russian diplomat, Count Pavel Strognanoff.


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