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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Plotkin, Gregory.

Cooking the Russian way / by Gregory and Rita Plotkin-Rev. & expanded.

p. cm. - (Easy menu ethnic cookbooks) Includes index.

Summary: Introduces the cooking and food habits of Russia, including such recipes as beet soup or borsch, stuffed pastries or pirozhki, and beef Stroganoff; also provides brief information on the geography and history of the country.

eISBN: 0-8225-8033-0

1. Cookery, Russian-Juvenile literature. 2. Russia (Federation)Social life and customs-Juvenile literature. [1. Cookery, Russian. 2. Russia (Federation)-Sociallife and customs.] I. Plotkin, Rita. II. Title.

revised a

to include

and yegeta


The Land, 8 A Russiar
The History, 9
The Food, 11 BREAK
Holidays and Festivals, 13 Rye B:
Potatoes witJ
The Careful Cook, 20
Cooking Utensils, 21 DIN!'
Cookina Terms. 2 1 Avvetj Stuffed Pastries, 44 HOLIDA~
Beef Stroganoff, 46 FI
Tea, 48 pj
Fruit Compote, 49 Easter
Boiled Potatoes, 52
Baked Fish, 53 It
Russian Salad, 54
Cheese Pancakes. 56 Russia is a co its long history. great variety of have helped to

Russians love to e

ties. Although food expanses and long win have learned to use the r In the winter, potatoes, hot, filling meals. Russia's ply of fish, and Russian co products in their dishes. Fre the summer and are carefully weather arrives. From refreshing


Arctic Ocean

Barents Sea




<t~ O~

?t •

LITHUANIA Saint Petersburg













Ob ~. r;..

~l-! ~.

t=>. ~

'~. ;£.






Lake Baikal

Caspian Sea


Russia stretches across eastern Europe and northern and It is the largest country in the world-more than om times the size of the United States-and manv differen

most well developed and populous area. Exo Mountains in the south, the region is made up I hills. The Volga River runs southward throug Caspian Sea, and the area contains most of the 0 including Moscow (the national capital) and: western plains are also home to most of Russia

Separating European Russia from Asiar Mountains run the length of the country from of the Urals lies wintry Siberia, a huge, sparsel stretches to Russia's eastern seacoast. Siberia is c Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, a Uplands. Siberia is also divided into several diff climate. The far northern reaches of Siberia a cold zone in which much of the land is permc of the tundra is the taiga, a vast forested regie lies the steppe, a wide grassland that contains soil. Siberia is watered by the Ob, Yenisei, and L( other smaller waterways. Lake Baikal, in southworld's deepest freshwater lake.

Russia's history spans more than one thousa group called the Slavs began to settle in the re~ 500s. The Slavs established the first Russian stat the 800s. Internal unrest and foreign invasions nation for centuries. But in 1547, Ivan IV-als Terrible-became the first of a series of powerf who W0111Cl rule Russia for almost fOl1r hunr

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workers and the middle class were unhappy with tl working conditions and the extreme inequalities in Rus In january 1905, workers made a peaceful march on Czar Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to demand reforrr troops fired on the crowd, killing and wounding hund nle. Violence hroke 011t allover the countrv as Russians n

In 191 7 Nicholas II stepped down from the pressure from revolutionaries. A few months the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, violently nation. The Bolsheviks changed the gro Communist Party Congress and established 1 Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, eventually grew to include Russia and fourt Under the control of the Communist Party, tb of the most powerful nations in the world.

After World War II (1939-1945), relations w the Soviet Union and noncommunist nations States and its European allies. This period becarr War. The USSR's international relationships beg, the 198 Os, but its internal stability weakened as USSR began to call for independence. By the en Union had collapsed, and Russia, officially Federation, had become an independent natior

Many traditional dishes in Russian cuisine are but hearty cooking of the peasants of prer Bread, a longtime staple, remains one of the most loved foods in modern Russia. Borsch is a handed down by the peasants. It is a soup mad, of a variety of other ingredients, including ca toes, onions, and meat.

Russian cooking also has roots in the food f tv of rrrerevolnrionar-v Russia. The most str-iki no

and caviar (fish eggs) to smoked fish and hot pirozhki ( tries). The main meal often included meat, poultry, and as soup, salad, cooked vegetables, and a rich dessert. Al few modern Russians eat on such a large scale, man~ dishes, such as beef Stroganoff and Russian salad, are S1 and serving elaborate zakuski is still a popular custom.

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Russian dining grew more diverse during 1 many traditional foods from the other republics favorites of Russian cooks. The former SOl Armenia and Georgia, for example, contribt nuts, and cracked wheat to the national cuisiru as shashIyk (grilled lamb on skewers), dolmas with rice and meat), and baklava (a rich past] and nuts) also made their way into Russian CO(

Farther east, the former republics in ce Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, introduced pIo, lamb, and spices that is similar to the pilafs s East. Diners in Russia soon included many of their own menus. A wealth of delicious fruit, ir peaches, apples, cherries, and melons, is also ~ the cuisine of this region.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, foods a Europe and the United States also appeared in traditional cuisine is still served every day by n, the recipes in this book you can prepare son classics yourself. You're sure to love the many fl varied country.

The Russian fondness for food is especially app, and festivals. These occasions give friends an excuse to gather for reunions, parties, and speci cooks prepare delicacies to satisfy even the mo:

Most Russians helonc to the Russian Orthod

old festivals were incorporated into church celebrations Soviet era, the government discouraged church holida ship, but many people in the USSR adapted celebration: and political holidays to include some of their treasur traditions. In modern -day Russia, people are once agai: celebrate religious holidays, and their customs combine of the past with modern practices.

Easter, or Paskha, is by far the most important hol Orthodox calendar. Easter Sunday usually falls somet April, but the holiday season begins much earlier. Duri period before Easter, most Russian Orthodox Christians ing meat and dairy products from their diets. To prep, Russians celebrate Maslenitsa, also called Butter Week Week. Held the week before Lent begins, this festival j sleigh rides, bonfires-and lots of eating. The traditior Maslenitsa are blini, thin pancakes served with plent Other favorite toppings include caviar, smoked fish, sou: jam. In ancient times, this carnival-like holiday also rep coming of the end of winter. Burning a scarecrow in a a popular custom, representing the heat of the sun melti and ice of winter.

As Easter draws near, Russian cooks spend as lonj preparing a feast for the occasion. Two special desserts, tall, sweet bread made with nuts and dried fruit and to white glaze or frosting) and the paskha (a rich cheesecal ally formed into a pyramid shape) appear at almost e~ Easter dinner. These and other sweets are set out on t night before Easter, along with a tempting array of col and main courses. Blini, cheese, cold meats, and smoked iusr a fpw of the choicp~_ The tradirirmal Faster table ;

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next day's meal to be blessed by the priest. The reaches its climax when the priest carries a cro: out the church doors. The congregation follo' procession circles the building three times. At I Family and friends offer each other the custom; three kisses on alternate cheeks and hurry hom feast that awaits them. Hot dishes such as spicy veal, or ham are added to the spread already I Anrl pvprvnnp rlioc;:. in

bigger and more festive holiday than Christmas in rna day Russian homes. Many families decorate a pine tree ments and candles. Grandfather Frost and the Snow ] households on New Year's Eve, leaving gifts and good dren. Adults celebrate the occasion with parties and sp cies, and on New Year's Day families gather around the ta holiday dinner.

Christmas (Rozhdestvo) is celebrated a week later, b Christmas Eve. For many families, the only meal of the the Christmas Eve church service. This speciallate-eveni usually meatless, but as many as twelve delicious course bles, grains, and fish may be served. A special favorite is made with steamed, sweetened wheat mixed with raisi Families attend church again on Christmas morning, of fresh branches of cherry blossoms, grown from indc adorn the icons (religious paintings). Back at home, down to share another large meal. Like the Easter dinn breaks a fast. For the first time in four weeks, meat and d of the menu, and at least one main dish of pork, goose, ( or chicken is usually on the table. Pirozhki and pelr dumplings) are also common Christmas dishes. The de is still in place for everyone to admire, and groups of from house to house, sharing songs and snacking on sv by their hosts and hostesses. Sleigh rides, dancing, a telling are other popular pastimes during the Christmas

Russia also has populations of Jews and Muslims Christians, have more freedom to celebrate religious h they did during the Soviet era. The Jewish holiday of F in March or April. Russian Jews observe the traditio: meal with dishes such as matzo (a snecial unleave:

celebrated with Eid al-Fitr, a great feast for wh: array of tasty rice, vegetable, and meat dishes.

Russians around the country also mark s( events. In ancient Russia, one celebration honor larks from their winter migration, a sure sign c songs to welcome the birds, and cooks bake shape of larks. Although few people observe t Russians with a sweet tooth can often find th bakeries around March. In the countryside, observe agricultural celebrations, from apple a: festivals in honor of the local livestock. Throng. around the nation of Russia, people come tog: occasions with friends, family, and food.

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Russian cooking know. Sometimes s

in this book can be prepare WI or u te

The most important thing you need to knohow to be a careful cook. On the following pa rules that will make your cooking experience N ext, take a look at the "dictionary" of utensil ingredients. You may also want to read the list healthy, low-fat meals.

When you've picked out a recipe to try, ri beginning to end. Now you are ready to shop £ organize the cookware you will need. Once evervthin 0" _ VOl] 'rp readv to heoin cookin 0"_

Whenever you cook, there are certain safety always keep in mind. Even experienced cooks f( when they are in the kitchen.

• Always wash your hands before handling food wash all raw vegetables and fruits to remove d: and insecticides. Wash uncooked poultry, fish, I cold water.

• Use a cutting board when cutting up vegetable Don't cut them up in your hand! And be sure 1 direction away from you and your fingers.

• Long hair or loose clothing can easily catch fir near the burners of a stove. If you have long he before you start cooking.

• Turn all pot handles toward the back of the stc will not catch your sleeves or jewelry on them especially important when younger brothers ai around. They could easily knock off a pot and

• Always use a pot holder to steady hot pots or t of the oven. Don't use a wet cloth on a hot pal steam it produces could burn you.

• Lift the lid of a steaming pot with the opening so that you will not get burned.

• If you get burned, hold the burn under cold ri Do not put grease or butter on it. Cold water I heat out, but grease or butter will only keep it

• Tf crease or cookino oil carr-hes fire. throw hak

colander-A bowl with holes in the bottom and draining liquid from a solid food.

Dutch oven-A heavy pot with a tight-fitting dor used for cooking soups or stews

rolling pin-A cylindrical tool used for rolling oui slotted spoon-A spoon with small openings in the to remove solid food from a liquid.

spatula-A flat, thin utensil, usually metal, used scoop up food

tongs-A utensil shaped either like tweezers or sc: ends used to grasp food

whisk-A small wire utensil used for beating foo

beat-To stir rapidly in a circular motion boil-To heat a liquid over high heat until bu rapidly to the surface

fold-To blend an ingredient with other ingrediei

overturning circular motion instead of by stir

garnish-To decorate a dish with small pieces of, grate-To cut food into small pieces by rubbing: knead-To work dough by pressing it down in 1

palms, pushing it outward, and then folding

.... "t- ..... t-~"Y'\". t-hn. "h ..... ll ,,+ ....:l""".h "hn.+" .... n. ~ .... n.C"C"~"Y'\". ....:l",

saute-To fry quickly over high heat in oil or fat, stirrir the food to prevent burning

simmer-To cook over low heat in liquid kept just bela point. Bubbles may occasionally rise to the surface.

steep-To soak a substance, such as tea, in hot water to e

S r e-ci Vv l f t1--!J Y e-J f e-t1-- {;./ bay leaf-The dried leaf of the bay (also called laurel) season food

buttermilk-A milk product made from soured milk. : available in low-fat and skim varieties.

cardamom seed-A spice of the ginger family, used whol that has a rich aroma and gives food a sweet, cool tas

cinnamon-A spice made from the bark of a tree in the Cinnamon is available ground and in sticks.

cornstarch-A fine, powdered white starch made from cor used for thickening sauces and gravies

corn syrup-A sweet syrup made from cornstarch dill-An herb whose seeds and leaves are both used in cc dill is also called dill weed.

farmer cheese-A white cheese made from whole or parti milk

feta cheese-A crumbly, white cheese made from goat's IT Gruyere cheese-A firm white cheese from Switzerland that in cooking and which melts very well

. ,

, ,

, . ,

ricotta cheese-A creamy white cheese that resell Ricotta is available in low-fat and skim varieti

scallion-A variety of green onion

sunflower oil-A cooking oil made from sunflower is especially popular in Russia, but vegetable be substituted.

wheat berries-whole kernels of wheat that have Wheat berries are often sold in the health - fo: markets and also in specialty health-food stor.

yeast-An ingredient used in baking that causes ( available in either small, white cakes called co granular form called active dry yeast.

t-I e- t'v l i: It-:J t'vt1.- J J._~\N - 'F. t'v f; c~~ k3 t1.-j Ti r'

Many modern cooks are concerned about preparing hea meals. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce the f most dishes. Here are a few general tips for adapting tl this book. Throughout the book, you'll also find specific for individual recipes-and don't worry, they'll still tasi

Many recipes call for butter or oil to saute some U sing oil instead of butter can lower cholesterol and s but you can also reduce the amount of oil or use a low fat cooking spray instead of oil. Another common sub butter is margarine. Before making this substitution, ( recipe. If it is a dessert, it's often best to use butter. Ma noticeably change the taste or consistency of the food.

Cheese is a common source of unwanted fat. Many available in reduced-fat or nonfat varieties, but keep i: these varieties often don't melt as well. Another easy w the amount of fat added by cheese is simply to use less dairy products, such as milk, sour cream, and mayonnais up often in Russian cooking. An easy way to trim fat fro] to use skim or evaporated skim milk in place of cream, or 2 percent milk. In recipes that call for sour cream or try substituting low-fat or nonfat varieties, or plain YOgl

When cooking with meat, buying extra-lean meats ar off as much fat as possible are two simple ways to re recipes that call for ground beef, some cooks like t ground turkey to lower fat. However, since this does ch, vor, you may need to experiment a little bit to decide if substitution.


Cooks in the United States measure both liquid and ~ standard containers based on the a-ounce cup and 1 measurements are based on volume, while the metri ment is based on both weight (for solids) and volurm vert from U.S. fluid tablespoons, ounces, quarts, and sc is a straightforward conversion, using the chart below. have different weights-one cup of rice does not w' cup of grated cheese, for example-many cooks wh tern have kitchen scales to weigh different ingredients give you a good starting point for basic conversions 1

MASS (weight)


I ounce (oz.) - 28.0 grams (g)

8 ounces - 227.0 grams

I pound (lb.)

or 16 ounces =

2.2 pounds -

!4 inch (in.) Y2 inch

I inch

0.45 kilograms (kg) 1.0 kilogram

212°F - II
225°F - I
250°F - I:
275°F - I:
300°F - I,
325°F - II
350°F - I:
375°F - II
400°F - 21
(To convert te
Celsius, subtra LIQUID VOLUME
I teaspoon (tsp.) - 5.0 milliliters (ml)
I tablespoon (tbsp.) - 15.0 milliliters
I fluid ounce (oz.) - 30.0 milliliters
I cup (c.) - 240 milliliters
I pint (pt.) - 480 milliliters
I quart (qt.) - 0.95 liters (I)
I gallon (gal.) - 3.80 liters PAN SIZES

8-inch cake pan

- 20 x 4-centimeter cake pan

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The table and the stove are Russian home. In a rural d of the family's main room, light, and, of course, food. own and is usually set for a m plates and glasses, and s I~~~"_ki (appetizers) are being s tempting array of dishes to whe

To Russians, the most . guests around it. Traditionally, ev two items that even the most mode fact, the Russian word for hospit words for bread (khleb) and salt (sol great hospitality, and no guest is crowded the table. No one ever leave host or hostess sees to it that everyone eniovs d

The following menus are examples of a typical Russia Shopping lists of the ingredients necessary to preparE included. Keep in mind that these combinations of dish€ You can make your own menu plans based on the ava occasion, and the amount of time that you have to prer

DINNER Produce 1 Sl
1 Sl
Appetizers 1 pint cherry tomatoes n
4 cucumbers v
Beet soup 2 carrots 42
1 green pepper 1
Spring vegetable salad 1 head cabbage 16
2 beets lerr
Boiled potatoes 2 lb. new potatoes sun
3 medium potatoes olh
Beef Stroganoff 3 bunches radishes
6 onions
Tea 1 bunch scallions Mi
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 p
1 head garlic
1 lemon bla~
Dairy/Egg/Meat fres
8 oz. feta cheese per
assorted cheeses, sliced or cut sug
into wedges
32 oz. sour cream
2 sticks butter or margarine
1 II.. l l-, ht:>t:>f (C'1 1 r" h "'l C' C'; .... 1 ,,;,., SUPPER

Cheese pancakes Russian salad

Rasp berry kisel



6 large potatoes 1 onion

1 bunch scallions

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 lb. raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Dairy / Egg/ Meat

2 lb. farmer cheese or ricotta


8 oz. mayonnaise 8 oz. sour cream

8 oz. whipping cream (or 1 container prepared whipped cream)

7 eggs

2 skinned, boneless chicken breasts

The first meal of those who live in the climates or perform ing meal, breakfast p part of the day. During 8:00 A.M.

Sunday breakfast, or during the week. On Sun 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. It is breakfast, and all members to hp tocerher.

Russia is known the world over for its wonderful rye bread. This recipe IT loaf that is well worth the time and the effort that it takes to make it. *

2 packages active dry yeast (41'2 tsp.) I c. warm water (105°F to 115°F)

Yl c. dark corn syrup

41'2 to 51'2 c. dark rye flou r 2 tsp. salt

1. In a large bowl, dis: 1 c. warm water. St: and set aside for 5 r yeast mixture foams 5 minutes, yeast mi started to foam, the cold or too hot or t] old. Discard the yea try again.

2. Add 21/2 c. flour to 1


.... : .

. , /


making good rye add too much flour t enough to let the

little at a time, and spoon until smooth

3. Set bowl in a warm with a cloth towel ( and let rise for 30 n

4. Add 2 to 3 more cu a time, stirring after When dough becon stir, turn out onto a and knead with you Continue to add flo until dough is stiff 1 sticky. Form dough

5. Wash and dry bowl

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_ ._./7')

" .... --. .. f

~ -, "_

- ..


6. Turn dough out onto floured surface and, with floured hands, form into a loaf. Place loaf in a well-greased 9 X 5-inch baking pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and return to a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

7. Preheat oven to 350°F.

8. Bake loaf for 30 to 35 minutes. (Bread will not brown much.)

Preparation time: 45 minutes (plus rising time of 4 to 41/2 hours) Baking time: 30 to 35 minutes Makes 1 loaf

Potatoes with Dressing/ ~Mf;trJ"'ktv v' M1

While some foods are difficult to find in parts of Russia and may be expens available, and Russian cooks have found many ways to use them. Kartoshkc served for breakfast but make a simple side dish for any meal.

8 medium potatoes I tsp. salt

1. Scrub potatoes thorc a large saucepan, an water.


2. Bring water to a bo:

Add salt, reduce he, low, and cover, lea, slightly ajar so stear Cook for 20 to 30 r potatoes can be easi fork.

3. While potatoes are c dressing. In a medii combine all ingredi Mix well with a wh oil, beating constan Set aside.

4. Drain potatoes in a ' aside until cool eno Peel potatoes, toss v oil dressing. Serve v temperature.

2 tbsp. vinegar Y2 tsp. salt

Yo tsp. pepper

Yl c. sunflower oil

tatoes are cooked first their name Ii terally in their jackets:'

PTI Cooki:

Beef or pork sausage is a simple dish that is a favorite for breakfast ln as an appetizer, side dish, or even main course. It is very popular beca and filling meal. For a low-fat alternative, try chicken or turkey saw

I lb. smoked, precooked beef or pork sausage (such as kielbasa)

1. Place sausage in and cover with '

2. Bring water to a high heat. Boil £ or until meat is Serve hot with r

Preparation and

their mustard hot. To prepare typical Rus dry mustard with 2 tsp. water in a small

ully pour 6 tbsp. boiling water over the pas water. Stir in 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 1 of salt. Mix until smooth, and refrigerate. bit of this flavorful blend goes a long way!



Dinner, the main m usually eaten between ing of three to four c tizers). Although the Russian, this first course can be quite filling. A soup such as borsch or bouillon is usually ser by a main course of beef, pork, chicken, or fi: side dishes of potatoes, noodles, rice, or buckv fruit beverage, often concludes the meal. Dine] as they sit around the table and chat after eatin

Appetizers / z:vkuJ ki

In Russia, the tradition of starting dinner with an appetizer may have be9 where people had to travel great distances to visit each other. Hosts would s( to their guests until everyone had arrived and dinner was served.

Y2 lb. herring, smoked or pickled Y2 lb. chopped liver

12 slices assorted cold cuts

Arrange all ingredie in an assortment of bowls.

various cheeses, cut in thin wedges or slices

I cucumber, sliced 12 cherry tomatoes 12 radishes, sliced 12 dill pickles

12 marinated mushrooms or other vegetables

I package party rye bread butter

Beet SOUp/$1TYJC!t-

2 beets

1. Scrub beets and onion in half an oven with beets

2 carrots

2 onions, peeled

12 c. (3 qt.) beef broth, or 12 c.

water with beef bouillon cubes*

3 medium potatoes

!4 head cabbage

!4 green pepper

I bunch fresh parsley or I tbsp.

dried parsley flakes

!4 tsp. salt

2 c. tomato juice I tsp. lemon juice pepper to taste

sour cream and dill to garnish

I "'.' I I

. \ r- '~.


" "'>' " ". ':;.

pletely vegetarian borsch, oth instead of beef broth . a heartier meat borsch,

2. Add 11 c. beef 1 water with boui bring to a boil. ] medium and usi skim off foam tl Cook for 20 to : vegetables are sc

3. Remove vegetab with tongs. Disc carrot and beets

4. Peel potatoes an, Slice cabbage an strips. Peel and ~

5. Add potatoes, cs pepper , raw can remaining 1 c. 1 for 20 minutes. and cook for 8 t

6. Peel the beets ar grate or chop fir soup. Cook for:

7. Add lemon juice serving. If you t

11_ _ I· __ ] 1 1' 1 • _'- _ L _

Spring Vegetable Salad/Ov1TJluw-j SA.-

Vegetable salad goes well with a variety of dressings. This recipe is also delicious when made with mayonnaise or with vinegar a

I tbsp. olive oil

1!4 c. sour cream*

1. Wash vegeta Cut roots am Cut roots am of scallions.

2. Slice cucuml thin rounds. cubes. Chop

3. In a large bo cream, and s cheese and t~ temperature,

2 bunches radishes I bunch scallions

3 cucumbers, peeled 8 oz. feta cheese

!4 tsp. salt

content of this creamy salad, sub or try strained nonfat yogt in a funnel over a jar. Spoon y the refrigerator. Allow the liquir yogurt is the consistency of sour

Beet Salad/ V1tt-tjye-t

Vinegret is an old Russian recipe that is easy and inexpensive to prep


1. Scrub beets, pot and place in thn saucepans. Add I each pan to COV( to a boil over hi heat to medium leaving lids sligl can escape. Coo] minutes, or unti easily pierced w and potatoes wf than beets.)

2. Drain vegetables rinse with cold,

3. Cut pickles leng' then chop into s sticks. Peel potat cut into 14- inch half and slice th: vegetables in a 1; sauerkraut if des

4. To make dressin vinegar, mustarr in a small bowl. for 2 minutes. P vegetables and r


3 medium beets

6 medium potatoes

3 medium carrots, peeled and

chopped into short sticks

6 dill pickles

I medium onion, peeled !4 c. sauerkraut (optional)

1) c. olive oil

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar I tsp. dry mustard

!4 tsp. salt

!4 tsp. pepper

chopped parsley or dill for garnish

Stuffed Pastries/t1Y~k1

This tradi tional Russian dish can be served wi th the zakuski or make a favorite holiday treat.


1. In a large fr) oil over mec minute. Add about 5 to 1 golden brov and set aside

2. Add remaini and heat for high heat. A~ brown, brea pieces with ( spoon. Caref

3. Place onions in a blender Cover and bJ for 5 to 7 se have a blend a large bowl fork.) Set fill

4. To make doi egg In a mer or milk, a lit dough is stii

4 tbsp. sunflower oil

3 medium onions, peeled and


11) lb. lean ground beef* I tsp. salt

Va tsp. pepper


2 c. all-purpose flour Va tsp. salt

I egg

1) to y.. c. water or skim milk

melted butter (optional)

5. Knead dough for 2 to 4 minutes on a floured surface. You may need to add more flour if dough is too sticky. Roll out dough to Vs - inch thickness with a rolling pin. With a glass or a circular cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough about 3 inches in diameter.

6. Preheat oven to 400°F.

7. Put 1 tbsp. filling on one half of a dough circle. Lightly dampen edges of dough with a little water. Fold dough over filling and press edges together first with your fingers, then with the tines of a fork. Repeat with remaining filling and dough.

S. Place pirozhki on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. If desired, brush lightly with melted butter. Serve at room temperature.

Preparation time: 40 to 45 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Makes 12 to 18 pirozhki

Beef Stroganoff / $tf S f;f"17J1U1-1Tv'

Beef Stroganoff, a dish that originated in the 18 Ofls, was named a: aristocratic Russian family.

!4 c. sour cream

1. Heat oil in a Dutch medium-high heat j Add onions and sau frequently, until go:

2. Add beef, cover, ani 5 minutes over mec Remove cover and 5 5 minutes, or until through. Add salt ar and remove from hI

3. Melt butter in a sms flour and dry musta mixture with a wire for one minute, the beef broth. Stir con: sauce is fairly thick.

4. Add sour cream, mi sauce over meat ane Heat through, beinj boil. Garnish with s parsley and serve he

3 tbsp. sunflower oil

3 medium onions, peeled and chopped

I Y2 lb. beef (filet, tips, or tenderloin), sliced in short, thin strips

I pinch salt

I pinch pepper 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. flour

I tsp. ground dry mustard

I c. beef broth (or water with bouillon)

fresh parsley to garnish

with beef Stroganoff. 'ULUL .. '"". Cut into long thin

Prl Cooki:

Teal C~rvl

Tea is a favorite beverage in Russia. It may be drunk at any time of offered to guests. Most households have samovars, metal urns that keep WG eu p of fresh tea.

I c. water per person

I tsp. black tea leaves (or I teabag) for each 2 to 3 c. water

1. In a teakettle or sa u. water to a boil over

2. Rinse a teapot with

3. Place tea in teapot. ] quarters full of boil: steep for 5 to 7 mir remaining water.

4. If you used tea bags, from teapot after sn doesn't become too used loose tea, strai: filter. Serve hot witl sugar.*

lemon slices

sugar cubes

Preparation and cooki:

",,,,.UU'U'" enjoy mixing a small

or preserves into their tea as a er variation is substituting a of apple for the lemon.

Fruit Compote/ ~r17't

Kompot is a thick, sweet frui t drink that makes an excellent dessert or glasses with spoons for scooping up the fruit at the bottom.

I lb. fruit*

6 c. water

1) c. to 2 c. sugar

I whole cinnamon stick

Va tsp. nutmeg

. ,.?

~.J ..

.-. ( "'-_

ay use a single type of assortment of fruit for les, pears, plums, and all delicious choices .

-, : -. ._j!<

',' '-.;... . .....

f. 1":/

\./ I ...

" !.

. .:-,

} • . ":t~ . r.tJ

,. ,

, ,

1. Wash fruit in co into small piece: and inedible see

2. Place fruit in a L 6 c. water. Brinj heat.

3. Reduce heat to I and stir. Cover a to 25 minutes.

4. Depending on tl fruits you have 1 to add more sug sparingly-if ko when hot, it wil when cold.)

5. Add cinnamon s and stir well. Sir 10 minutes.

6. Remove cinnam or chill and serv

Pre (plus 1 to 2 he


1 ~:-t"




f i

In Russia, the lightes However, In someone dinner and s soup, and so a long time, a conversation. !\ followino the m

This dish is one of dozens of ways to prepare potatoes Russian-style.

2 to 21'2 lb. new potatoes, peeled I medium onion, peeled

1'2 tsp. salt

I bunch dill, or I tbsp. dried dill weed

y.. c. butter, melted

I clove garlic, minced (optional)

1. Wash potatoes and I onion in half. Place onion in a large sa u with water, and adc

2. Bring water to a bo:

Reduce heat to med cover, leaving cover steam can escape. C about 20 minutes, ( be easily pierced wi

3. If using fresh dill, v in cold water and cl Combine dill, melte garlic, and set aside

4. When potatoes are ~ a colander and disc, Return potatoes to I mixture over potato tightly, and shake g Serve hot.

PTI Cooki:

Baked FiSh/Zare,C~Aj/V 1Z1~/v

Try serving this simple but delicious dish with boiled potatoes for a 1

8 white fish fillets (such as cod, halibut, or flounder), fresh or frozen and thawed, about 2 lb.

salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp. lemon juice

% to I c. flour

5 tbsp. unsalted butter

2 onions, peeled and sliced into

1. Preheat oven to

2. Rinse fish fillets rub with salt am in a shallow dis] juice over fillets minutes.


r:~' ~ .. ~ ~ - ..-4'-" .. ":".:.

.' "".m r •• :. ~f ••

. ~ ..i"" .... ft.!. _ ~

. ~..,: f ,.' ~ ,yo r-

I :' ;. • _ .. • • ~.

content of this dish, nurse or sour cream

3. Put flour in a sh and roll fillets ir lightly. In a fryu of butter over IT. each floured fille on each side, or opaque. Place fi~

4. Wash and dry fr remaining 2 tbs' medium heat. S, 10 minutes, or 1

5. Use a knife or rt spread mayonna over fish. Place ( sprinkle cheese e

6. Place dish in OV( to 15 minutes, ( browned and bi oven, sprinkle ""



1) c. mayonnaise or sour cream* 1) c. grated Gruyere or white cheddar cheese*

chopped fresh dill to garnish

Russian Salad/ S:vl:vt Olivl e.

This gourmet dish was created by a French chef in a Moscow restaurant i still a must -have at Russian parties. *


1. Wash chicken in co: onion in half. Place onion in large sa uce water, and bring to heat.

2. Cover pan, reduce I simmer for 30 to 4( until chicken is tenc the way through. RI and let chicken coo] temperature in brot onion.

2 skinned, boneless chicken breasts I medium onion, peeled

6 large potatoes

6 eggs

8 medium dill pickles

I 16-oz. can sweet peas, drained parsley, scallions, and dill to garnish

3. While chicken is co potatoes well, place saucepan, and covel Bring to a boil over Reduce heat to med cover pan, leaving c so steam can escape potatoes can be easi fork. Drain in a cola with cold water unt

4. While chicken and ] cooking, place eggs saucepan. cover wit

s. Cool salad ingre temperature bef Cut chicken intc Peel potatoes an, potatoes, eggs, c lengthwise into into wedges. PIa


1. Prepare dressing Combine olive ( sour cream, salt, mix well. Add d peas to salad anc

2. Serve in a large with fresh parslr scallions, and fn

2 tbsp. olive oil

I c. mayonnaise** I c. sour cream**

!4 tsp. salt

!4 tsp. pepper


Cheese Pancakes/ Sivl't-i ki

Sirniki can be eaten for supper or for breakfast. They are often served with SOL

2 lb. farmer cheese or ricotta cheese

I egg

1'2 c. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 1'2 tsp. salt

I to 11'2 c. all-purpose flour sunflower oil for frying

summertime treat, serve

1. In a large bowl, rna fork. Add egg and r sugar and salt.

2. Add flour, a little at dough is firm enou hand. Continue add kneading until douj easily with hands.

3. Dust hands with flo a piece of dough ab medium apple. Roll between palms and pancake about 1 inc batch of 3 or 4 befe

4. Pour a thin layer of frying pan and heat heat for 1 minute. ( pancakes in pan wit fry for 3 to 4 minut bottoms are golden over and fry until s( golden brown. Rem on paper towels.

5. Continue making ar adding more oil to :

_ ~~~~~ ~ •• _ ... .:1 ..J ~ ••

Raspberry KiseII MItJ11't1Tv1j ~lJe,1

Kisel is a thick fruit dessert that is served chilled.

be made with strawberries, blackberries, cranberries,

. cots, peaches, or plums.

1. If using fresh ra: cold water and ( rasp berries in a : crush well with Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, with V2 c. water cornstarch is COl Set aside.

3. In a large sauce! and remaining ~ well. Bring to a stirring occasion

4. Add crushed fru mixture to boili: 4 to 8 minutes, begins to thicke:

5. Remove pan fro: cool to room tel Refrigerate for a serve chilled in I


whipped cream.

I lb. raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)*

1) c. cornstarch

81) c. water

I c. sugar

whipped cream or nondairy topping

(plus I

Many Russian holidays and festivals are strongly tain foods. For example, Maslenitsa (Butter Wee without plenty of blini, During the chilly wirr enjoy warm, fresh blini at home, buy them fror even take part in blini -eating contests. But the cious pancakes during the rest of the year. Sirr. tional Christmastime dish, makes a tasty and : meal no matter what the season. The holiday n are perfect to prepare for your friends or fami sion-and they iust rniohr hecome everyday fa'

Pancakes/ $11~1

Blini are a must during Maslenitsa, but they make a delicious breakfast (

. with tasty toppings such r cream, jam, fresh berries, smoked fish, or caviar.

1. Place flour in a largt Gradually add butte well with a spoon.

2. Add egg, salt, and s until blended. Mixti the consistency of p mixture is too thick warm water. Set bat place for 1 0 to 1 5 r

3. Lightly grease a sms with 1 tsp. oil. Hea1 seconds over mediur batter into pan, quit so a thin, even layei bottom. (If batter h; add a little more wa mixture in bowl an. When edge of pane from pan (about 2 1 carefully flip over ~

4. When other side lif pan, remove pancak plate, and cover wit Repeat with remain: adding more oil to . necessary. Serve wa:

4 c. all-purpose flour 2 c. buttermilk

I egg

1'2 tsp. salt

I tbsp. sugar

1'2 to I c. warm water (optional) sunflower oil for frying

Easter Sweet Bread/ tLulick-


1. In a large bowl, cor warm water, 1f4 c. si milk. Stir until yeas1 dissolved. Add 1 c .. until blended. Cove: towel and let stand for one hour.

2. In another large bov butter, 1/2 c. sugar, a Add the yeast-flour mixture and stir we] extract, cardamom, flour to make a soft raisins, almonds, an

3. In a small bowl, use beater to beat 2 egg stiff. Carefully fold j Turn dough onto a floured surface and 5 minutes, or until and elastic. Place in and turn to grease a dough. Cover with I rise in a warm place hours, or until doul

4. Grease a clean, 2-lb. butter or shortening sides and bottom of

I package (!4 oz.) active dry yeast !4 c. warm water

!4 c. sugar

Y2 c. warm milk

I c. flour

8 tbsp. unsalted butter Y2 c. sugar

8 egg yolks (save 2 egg whites)* I tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. ground cardamom Y2 tsp. salt

3 to 3Y2 c. flour

1) c. golden raisins

!4 c. slivered almonds

!4 c. chopped candied orange rind (optional)


I c. powdered sugar 2 tsp. lemon juice



bread will not stick to paper. Make sure that the edges of the paper stick out over the top edge of the can by at least one inch. Fold paper down over outside of can.

5. Punch down dough and knead lightly. Place dough in coffee can. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until dough reaches the top of the can.

6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake loaf for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until kulich is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the top comes out clean.

7. While kulich is baking, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, and enough water to make a smooth glaze that is runny enough to be drizzled.

8. Remove kulich from oven and let cool for 1 0 minutes. Very carefully remove from can and coolon a rack. While kulich is still slightly warm, drizzle glaze over the top. Serve by cutting off crown and slicing base into rounds. Replace crown to keep bread moist.

*To Sf edge c halves

Wheat Porridge/ ~ut:J/V

Kutya is a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Russia and other forme

I c. wheat berries, whole* 4 c. water

!4 tsp. salt

1) c. poppy seeds

1) c. slivered almonds 1) c. honey

1) c. raisins

cinnamon for sprinkling

*Look for wheat berries in the bulk foods or health section of your grocery store or in a specialty health-food grocery or co-op. If you don't find them, can make a simpler version of kutya cream of wheat. Boil 2 c. water,

1 c. cream of wheat, and cook, until mixture thickens. Remove and add other ingredients as

cted in recipe above.


." -r- .J

( ... \:, -. -- ...

'1 ,

'~. \. 't

1. Place wheat ben with enough col Soak overnight.

2. The next day, dr and refill pan wi salt and bring to and simmer unc hours, or until v tender. If water


enough to cover

3. While wheat ber soak poppy seed lukewarm water Drain seeds and processor or cofl

4. Preheat oven to almonds on a be for 3 to 5 minui gold. Set aside t(

5. When wheat bel drain and place bowl. Stir in PO] raisins, and two almonds. Mix w remaining almo:


_ .. _------ _ ..... _- ~

Twig Cookies/ tt-!tv-vv-VJt

Khvorost means "twigs" in Russian and refers to the shape and the delicious little cookies. An old favorite, they are an especially popular treat day of the Russian Orthodox calendar is associated with a saint, and people name celebrate their name day, much like a birthday.

21'2 c. flour

1. Place flour in a larg~ Form a hollow in tl add egg yolks, egg, cream, vanilla, rum water. Mix well.

2. Stir in salt and 1f4 c. sugar. Turn dough ( lightly floured surfa until dough become pliable. Return half the bowl and cover

3. Use a floured rollin'


other half of the do

thickness of about) strips 5 inches long 2 inches wide.

4. Use a sharp knife to lengthwise from the one end of each stri other end of the stri slit and twist slightl all remaining strips nro('p<;;.<;;. "With thp or]

2 egg yolks I egg

y.. c. whipping cream* 1'2 tsp. vanilla extract

I tsp. non-alcoholic rum

flavoring or rum extract

5 tsp. water

!Is tsp. salt

1'2 c. powdered sugar vegetable oil for frying

5. Place about one inch of oil in a deep kettle or frying pan and heat to 36SoP (if you have a fat thermometer). If you don't have a fat thermometer, heat until a drop of water flicked into the pan jumps out.

6. Carefully place 3 or 4 twists of dough into oil and fry, turning once, for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

7. To serve, place cookies on a platter and sprinkle with remaining powdered sugar.

Preparation time: 3,4 to 11,4 hours Cooking time: 1 hour Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies

appetizers, 11-12, 27, 37, 38-39

healthy and low-fa 53,55,69 holiday and festival holidays and festive 67,68

baked fish, 50, 51, 53

beef Stroganoff, 12, 46, 47 beet salad, 42-43

beet soup, 7, 11, 36, 37, 40 bef Stroganov, 1 2, 46-47

blini, 7, 61, 62-63

boiled potatoes, 50, 5 1, 52 Bolsheviks, 11

borsch, 7, 11, 36, 37, 40 bread, 7, 11,27 30,31,32-33 breakfast recipes, 30-35

Ivan the Terrible, 9

Jews, 16

chai, 3 7, 48, 5 1

cheese pancakes, 56-5 7 Christianity, 13-16, 68 Christmas, 15-16, 61, 67 Communism, 11

cooking safety, 20 cooking terms, 2 1-22 cooking utensils, 21

kartoshka v mundire, 3 khvorost, 60, 61, 68- kompot, 37, 49 kulich, 14, 18, 19, ~ kutya, 16, 61, 66-6

Lenin, Vladimir, 11 Lent, 14

dinner recipes, 36-49

malinovi y kise1, 5 8- 5 ~ Maslenitsa, 14, 61, menu planning, 28 metric conversions Moscow, 9, 54 Muslims, 16-17

Easter, 14-15, 19,27,64-65

Easter sweet bread, 14, 18, 19, 64-65 l=i'irl ;11-l=i'itr 1 7

New Year, 15-16 l\.Tirnnh<;: TT r7;1r 1

pancakes, 7, 16, 62-63 Passover, 1 6

Peter the Great, 9

pirozhki, 1 2, 1 6, 3 6, 3 7, 44-45 potatoes with dressing, 30, 3 1, 34

Ramadan, 1 6-1 7 raspberry kisel, 58-59

Russia: cuisine, 11-13; history, 9-11; holidays and festivals, 13-17, 61, 62, 67, 68; land, 8-9; map, 8 Russian cooking: before you begin,

19; menu, 28-29; special ingredients, 22-23; table, 27 Russian mustard, 35

Russian Orthodox Church, 13-16, 68 Russian salad, 12, 54-55

rye bread, 30, 31, 32-33

rzhanoi khleb, 30, 31, 32-33

Saint Petersburg, 9, 10 salat Olivie, 12, 54-55 sardelka, 3 0, 3 1, 3 5 sausage, 30, 31, 35 Siberia, 9

sirniki, 5 6-5 7

Slavs, 9

~nvipt rpnll hlir'" fnrrnpr 1 ~ h 7

straw potatoes, stuffed pastries 44-45

supper recIpes,

tea, 37,48,51 twig cookies, ~

vegetarian reci 1 48,49, 52, 68-69 vinegret, 42-43

wheat porridg€

zakuski, 11-1 2, zapechonaya riba, .

Gregory and Rita Plotkin were born in the forrru where they both learned to love cooking the Rt moving to the United States, Gregory and Rita co: cooking their native cuisine and sharing it with th

Photo Acknowledgments (printed version)

The photographs in this book are reproduced courtesy of: © Rjadno, p. 2-3; © Walter and Louiseann Pietrowicz/Septembe p.4 (both), 5 (both), 6, 18, 30, 36, 39,42,47, 50, 57, 58, 60, 63, Jemolo/Corbis, p. 10; © David and Peter Turnley/Corbis, p. 12; pp. 15, 26; © Trip/l. Deineko, p. 17.

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