Russian cuisine is known for its hearty meals, typically because it can get extremely cold in this harsh climate during the winter months.
Now because Russia is surrounded by four different bodies of water, there are plenty of lakes, rivers and forests that benefit from the numerous ecosystems, providing the people with plenty of meat, grains, wild fruits and root vegetables. Due to this, a lot of the cuisine is made up of breads, pastries, potatoes and soups. Here are seven of the most popular traditional dishes.
Blini: Thin Crepe Like Pancakes
Although not typically served with fruits, these crepe like pancakes can be eaten as a dessert or for breakfast. They are often accompanied by either sour cream, homemade jams, or some type of fish. Most commonly, you will have these with either smoked salmon, sturgeon or red salmon. If they are being made with dessert in mind then they will be made out of white flour, but if the individual is going for savoury fillings then buckwheat will be used. Condensed milk, honey and sour cream are often served with it. Check out a recipe here.
Oliver Salad (Russian Salad): Cold Salad
Is a fresh crisp salad that is often served with either cucumber or crunchy pickles. It is a cold salad that is made out of either a light bit of mayonnaise mixed with cucumber, pickles, diced potato, peas, and eggs. It may also be served with carrots and sour cream and considerably lighter in nature than western versions. Its texture is akin to potato salad and can be eaten as a side dish or as dinner or lunch. Check out a recipe here.
Pelmeni: Tasty Dumplings
If you have ever wanted comfort food, this would be one of them in Russian cuisine. These dumplings are extremely tasty solely due to the fact that in addition to meat, they are packed with a ton of herbs. Not only can they be eaten boiled but they can also be eaten in broth, and often are served with either a mushroom filling or fish filling such as salmon. Although you may also find some filled with pork, beef or lamb. Check out a recipe here.
Borsch/Borscht: The Red Belly Warmer
This is one of the heaviest and hearties dishes on the menu. It is served during the winter months and is almost always accompanied by garlic bread with cheese or rye bread. It is often eaten as a starter out of the four course dinner menu and is always tasty in flavor. It can be served with meat and potatoes and always had sour cream served with it. It may also have dill served with it as the herb of choice. Check out a recipe here.
Porozhki: Mini Pies
These are extremely similar to Russian dumplings except that they are served with an outside pastry rather than in a dumping casing. They can be pan-fried or oven-baked, are always golden brown and is usually filled with salmon or some other type of fish. You may also choose to get cabbage, egg or potato put into them and you can even request cheese.
These are often served as an appetizer, but can be eaten as a snack. You can even find dessert type versions that are filled with sweet fillings like honey or jams. Check out a recipe here!
Kasha: A Light Porridge
This is a breakfast dish that is considered a cereal and is known as porridge. It is made out of either buckwheat, rye, barley, millet or oats and is usually has milk or boiled water added to it. It is an extremely versatile dish that can be eaten by itself, or as a side dish and it can be served at any meal. It is considered light due to the type of buckwheat grains that are used. It is one of the oldest dishes in Central and Eastern Europe. Check out a recipe here.
Stroganoff: Mushrooms and Creamy Sour Sauce
Is quite a common and loved dish, eaten quite often across dinner tables in Russia. It Is an extremely tasty dish that is comprised of sour cream, mushrooms and wild game. It is a sauteed dish that commonly features beef but there are several different variations on the original mid-19th century dish. It is an extremely creamy dish that is eaten as a main course during dinner. Check out a recipe here.
There are plenty of other recipes and versions of these out there, but going with the traditional versions ensures that you get a dish that is tasty, authentic and hearty.