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Russian Cuisine

Straddling Europe and Asia, Russia's cuisine doesn't disappoint: expect rich culinary diversity from this enormous country.

Russia's size accounts in part for its rich culinary heritage. Fertile plains provide grains for breads, brews, pastries and cereals. Rivers and seas offer fish, including the coveted caviar-laden sturgeon. Tundra in the north provides wild game, while the southern and eastern reaches introduced Middle Eastern and Asian influences.

Culinary Upgrade

Russian cuisine was just one area that benefited from Peter the Great's wide-ranging 18th century program to Westernize his country. Peter encouraged European chefs to come and practice their art in Russia and promoted the importation of European foods. Many dishes we associate with Russian cuisine were developed and refined during this time.

Soup for You

In a land of harsh winters, it's no surprise that soul-warming soups are a mainstay. Undoubtedly the most recognizable to Westerners is borscht, a beet soup served with sour cream. Cabbage, potato, fish and mushroom soups provide additional comfort during the long Russian winter. 

Beyond Borscht

Other familiar traditional Russian foods include blinis (thin, yeast-risen pancakes traditionally made with buckwheat flour) and pirozhki (sweet or savory turnovers). And let's not forget Caspian caviar and beef stroganoff. Cucumbers, sour cream and mushrooms are also important ingredients, as are dill, horseradish and pickled vegetables.

The Potato's Slow Road to Popularity

Introduced into Russia in the early 18th century, potatoes took a slow route to popularity. Despite continual governmental encouragement to plant them, peasants remained skeptical of this tasty tuber until the 19th century. Today Russians cook potatoes in every conceivable way.

Oct. 19, 2009 7:28 am
An excellent article! I grew up eating Russian cuisine thanks to a Russian grandfather. In my work in the Soviet Union & then former Soviet Union I became a self-proclaimed expert on these cuisines. This is an excellent collection of recipes. Keep up the good work!
Dec. 12, 2009 8:28 am
My family is from the Tans-Carpathian region of the former Soviet Union as is my husband and I grew up on these foods. I would like to see a larger collection as there are so many wonderful foods from this region. A top fench chef has nothing on a good russian cook.
Jan. 27, 2011 9:08 am
I'm looking for a recipe for Russian pelmenis, meat filled pockets like tortelinni. Sooo good!
Jul. 6, 2014 3:53 pm
Russian cuisine is one of the best foods I've ever tasted from different places around the world
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