Unusual Russian Cuisine

Many believe that Russian cuisine is vodka and pancakes, caviar and pies, dumplings and borsch

Many believe that Russian cuisine is vodka and pancakes, caviar and pies, dumplings and borsch. Everything is very filling, high-calory, and most importantly — clichéd. This opinion has a reason, but we still try to break the stereotypes and show another Russian cuisine that is unusual, and at the same time nutritious and healthy.

In the morning

We'll start right from breakfast. If you think that below is a story about fresh and boring diet, then rest assured: we will even drink. However, we will do it with health benefits!

So, breakfast. Hot cereal will be our main course. As in many other countries, the most popular porridge in Russia is oatmeal. In ancient times, Russians loved porridge made of millet, barley or buckwheat (the latter will be discussed below). Today, people eat them as well adding milk or cream. Cereals fill you quickly and not only that, they also benefit the body being rich in protein, iron and containing many other minerals. To make breakfast more attractive, you can add nuts and dried fruits to the cereal.

Fermented dairy products are an excellent addition to your breakfast. For instance, take soured milk, baked yogurt, sour cream or farmer cheese. They boost immunity, benefit the skin and mucosae, normalize digestion, and contain calcium.

What's for lunch?

One, two or three p. m. is lunchtime in Russia. As a rule, this is the main and heartiest meal of a day. And the main lunch dish in Russian cuisine is soup. And it's not only the world-famous borsch. Few of the world's cuisines can boast such a variety of soups and broths as the Russian one: shchi (meat and cabbage), solyanka (many kinds of meat and vegetables in one pot), ukha (fish), rassolnik (meat soup with pickles and pearl barley), botvinya (cold soup with boiled and grated herbs in kvass), okroshka (another cold soup with kvass). Soups are very nutritious and help to warm up in cold weather, and cold soups, such as okroshka, help to freshen up in the heat.

Doctors advise to eat hot soups during colds, especially if you add celery, ginger or garlic to them. It is believed that, unlike stewing or roasting, cooking vegetables and meat in soup allows you to save more nutrients. Traditionally, most soups are served with sour cream and finely chopped greens — they are added to the plate just before serving.

Soup on the Russian table cannot be imagined without yeast rye bread. Now in Russia this bread is called black (as opposed to wheat bread which is "white"), but in olden time it was simply called "bread," since there was no other bread (wheat flour was intended for sweet pastries). Rye bread is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is much healthier than wheat bread and is not fattening, unlike white bread.

Hot soup is best combined with one or two shots – this can be confirmed by almost any Russian. And since we are talking about the non-trivial cuisine, we will not drink vodka, but bitters. As a rule, homemade bitters are the best, although you can also buy industrially manufactured bitters. A really exotic drink from the Eastern part of Russia is the aralia bitter produced in the Khabarovsk Territory. It is served in restaurants throughout the Far East — from Khabarovsk to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, and sold as a souvenir. And those who are fortunate to get on a visit to the locals might have a chance to try homemade aralia bitter.

Hot soup is best combined with one or two shots – this can be confirmed by almost any Russian. And since we are talking about the non-trivial cuisine, we will not drink vodka, but bitters

At the heart of this strong (up to 40% ABV) balsam are relic wild plants from the Far East taiga. The roots of Aralia, which gave the bitter its name, Lemongrass, and Eleutherococcus not only combine into a single unique taste, but also tone up, invigorate, strengthen and stimulate the immune system. Aralia bitter is also recommend to people with low blood pressure. They say that it helps to ensure well-being in case of abrupt changes of weather, and this is what you need when you fly from one climatic zone to another in Russia.

Aralia itself is a tree growing in the forests and near the rivers in the Primorye and Khabarovsk Territories, as well as in the Amur Region. In addition to the roots that are rich in essential oils, mineral salts, vitamins and organic acids, the barque and leaves of Aralia are also used for medicinal purposes. Like the roots, they reduce blood sugar levels and facilitate proper metabolism. And the Aralia bitter tones and relieves fatigue.

Pickles will supplement lunch, as they are loved in Russia as much as soups. For example, sauerkraut and brined cucumbers. By the way, pickles are very good as a snack to go with strong drinks, especially vodka.

Dinner

Now we have reached the evening meal. Our dinner will consist of baked river fish and buckwheat. Full-flowing Russian rivers can offer a wide variety of choices for gourmets: breams, catfish, carp, crucian carp, whitefish, grayling, perch and dozens of other fish species. In addition, there are many species of marine fish in the Black Sea in the South and the Pacific Ocean in the East.

In the traditional Russian cuisine, the fish is salt baked without scaling or gutting. Such a dish turns out to be fragrant, tender and low-fat. As you know, fish is a more dietary product than meat. It contains easily digested protein, iron, a lot of calcium and phosphorus.

We will serve the fish with buckwheat, the most Russian side dish. It hardly ever occurs in other national cuisines. They say that buckwheat is the food that Russian expatriates miss the most, as you can hardly find it in foreign supermarkets and restaurants. But in Russia, everyone knows it from their childhood. This cereal is boiled and consumed both separately and as part of other dishes. Buckwheat is especially well combined with sour cream, mushrooms and fried onions. Buckwheat is a find for vegetarians: its protein is similar to animal one, so the cereal can become an alternative to meat of equal value. Only it is digested much better. Moreover, buckwheat also reduces the risk of thrombosis and prevents cardiovascular diseases.

It is difficult to mention all the unusual dishes of Russian cuisine in one brief review. For example, we did not have time to tell you about such important drinks as kissel and kvass, as well as dishes from nettle and fern, peas and lentils. However, we hope that we have managed to prove the main idea: Russian meal is not only vodka, pies and borsch. And instead of a hangover and extra pounds, you can bring cheerfulness and new culinary ideas from Russia.

We will serve the fish with buckwheat, the most Russian side dish. It hardly ever occurs in other national cuisines. They say that buckwheat is the food that Russian expatriates miss the most

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