Eat Like The Locals: 3 Easy Recipes for Beginners
Looking for easy recipes to improve your Russian experience? Or, you’ve just arrived in Moscow and want to learn a few easy recipes to try your hand at cooking some of the local fare. But where to start? As you may remember from my previous post, my background is Russian, and my mother incorporated aspects of Russian cuisine into our daily meals growing up. The taste and textures of Russian cuisine are subtle and sometimes delicate, and it may take some getting used to for those who normally enjoy the bolder flavours of, for example, Thai or Indian food. But, all personal biases aside, there’s a lot to enjoy beyond the stereotypes regarding the typical Russian diet! I started cooking at a young age, and quickly learned to make my favourite dishes myself! I’ll share a few easy recipes for delicious dishes that don’t require too many ingredients (or too much effort 🙂 ).
1. Vegetable Borsch
Preparation Time: 1.5 hours
500ml of diced tomatoes
¼ of a head of cabbage, chopped
1 cup sauerkraut
3 medium beets, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red chili, finely diced (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
- Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.
- Add water until all vegetables are fully submerged and there is approximately 1 inch or 2.5 cm left from the top.
- Bring over to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the soup is boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and fresh parsley or dill.
2. Grechka (Buckwheat Grains)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4-8 as a side dish
1 cup of buckwheat
2.5 cups of boiled water
1 tsp salt
You can half or double the recipe, just make sure the proportion of water remains the same!
- In a deep frying pan, add buckwheat and toast grains on medium-high heat for approximately 3-4 minutes. Make sure to give the pan a shake so make sure it is evenly toasted.
- Add boiling water and salt and immediately cover the pan and reduce heat to lowest setting. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the grains to fluff up, but you’ll know it’s ready when the water has been absorbed and little pockets of air have come up through the top of the buckwheat.
Topping Options: Personally, I like to add a tablespoon of good sour cream (%15 fat at least), sautéed mushrooms and onions seasoned with salt and pepper and freshly chopped green onion.
3 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 ⅓ cups of all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ⅓ cups of white or brown sugar
2 tsps of vanilla extract
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
Half a cup of chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius.
- Liberally grease a 10-inch or 25cm springform pan with butter. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using a hand whisk or electric beater, whisk eggs until they pale yellow and fluffy in texture. Add in sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until combine.
- Using a spatula, add in flour to wet ingredients and mix until just evenly distributed and combined.
- Arrange the sliced apples on the bottom of the springform pan and then brush with lemon juice.
- Pour the dough evenly to cover the apples completely. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Feel free to play with the recipes! Let me know how they turn out in the comment section.
This blog was brought to you by Maria, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz