In Russian, small thick pancakes are called Oladi (оладьи [aládyi]). Basic Oladi are made of simple batter that contains flour, eggs and water or milk. The batter is poured into hot oil to fry. Various vegetables and fruits can be added to the basic recipe. Try this popular hearty Oladi with zucchini.
Oven-baked dishes are very typical for Russian cuisine. Potato was brought to Russia in the 18th century. Initially, the foreign vegetable was totally rejected by Russian farmers who called it “Devil’s apple”. With time, people learnt to grow and cook the versatile tuber and potato became one of the most important vegetables in Russia. This casserole recipe combines potato with typical Russian ingredients like mushrooms and sour cream.
The Russian roast beef is traditionally stewed in a clay pot in the oven. It is often recommended to sear the meat first in order to get a nice crust. It makes the meat really juicy and tasty. The selection of vegetables can vary according to season and mood. In Russia, root vegetables such as carrots and celery are quite common. Whole grain rye bread used in this recipe gives the dish a special flavor. Potatoes can be served separately or braised with meat in the oven.
The world famous dish of Russian cuisine Boeuf Stroganoff was invented at the end of the 19th century and named after Count Alexander Stroganov. The recipe was influenced by French cuisine. Like in France, the meat is usually cut into small pieces and sautéed. The sauce is not served separately, though. According to the Russian tradition, the meat is then simmered in the sauce. The sour cream sauce makes meat very tender and gives it a special flavor. The original recipe was not preserved and there are many variations. Classic Boeuf Stroganoff ingredients are beef, onions and sour cream. Sometimes tomato paste is added to the sauce. In this recipe, the dish is prepared with green onions and mushrooms.
White cabbage plays an important role in Russian cuisine. And it’s no wonder. Cabbage resists low temperatures and can be stored in frost-free places for months. White cabbage is low in calories, high in fiber and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It has been shown to strengthen the immune system and to protect against cancer. In Russian cuisine, cabbage is often served with meat. Vegetarians can mix cabbage, for example, with onions, carrots or mushrooms. Cabbage can also be served with potatoes.
Golubtsi (Russian: голубцы) are stuffed cabbage leaves. In Russian cuisine, cabbage rolls are made with white cabbage and stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and rice. Traditionally beef and/or pork is used. Golubtsi made with chicken are tender and mild in flavor. One can also add tomatoes and carrots. Vegetarians can use vegetables or mushrooms as meat substitutes. The name “Golubtsi” is supposed to be derived from the Russian word “голубь” = “dove”, as the form of the cabbage roll reminds of a sitting pigeon.
Pelmeni (russ.: пельмени) are in their form like Italian tortelloni stuffed with minced meat. This dish originates from Siberia and was a popular meal among coachmen or hunters on their long trips across this vast and cold part of Russia. Pelmeni were prepared and stored frozen for a long period of time without being cooked. So it was frozen food that could be easily cooked and eaten either at home or on a journey. One only had to light a fire and boil some water or melt snow to cook pelmeni. During long and hard winters this hot and nourishing food was a real blessing.