This beetroot and cabbage soup is a delicious stomach warmer on the coldest days in Moscow. It comes with or without meat, potatoes, herbs (usual dill), a dollop of Smetana, and sour cream. Accompanied by a piece of rye bread or garlic bread with melted cheese, this dish is hearty enough to serve as a meal, although it’s typically eaten as an appetizer. A staple of Russian cuisine, it would be an insult to leave Moscow without trying this soup at least once, although its surprisingly hearty flavor will surely have you wishing you’d tried more local variations.
Blini are Russia’s version of the thin French crêpe. They’re a staple food on most Russian menus, typically using buckwheat for savory fillings or white flour for sweet toppings. You’ll see accompaniments of smoked salmon, creamy mushrooms, sour cream, jams, and condensed milk– to name a few– but the high-end, revered combination is a spoonful of red salmon or black sturgeon caviar. Another tasty Russian pancake is the cottage cheese version called syrniki, a denser form of ricotta pancakes, which are eaten for breakfast or dessert.
If undercooked marinated fish isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to love these grilled meat and fish skewers. As the name suggests, this dish is a shish kebab, although the Russian version is served with heavier portions of lamb, beef, chicken, or salmon and served with plain bread, and Russian pickles, and it becomes a sometimes spicy tomato sauce.
One of the most ubiquitous Russian foods is mini-pies (pirozhki), which use fillings and herbs similar to those in meatballs. The difference is that they are wrapped in puff pastry and fried or baked. However, in addition to the typical meat or salmon fillings, you also have the option of using cabbage, potato, egg, cheese, and even sweet fillings. Pirozhki makes one both in a restaurant and as an appetizer great appetizer from fast food from a street stall or bakery.
Another Russian dish that is served on tables around the world is eating Russian stroganoff, which is everything you expect. It’s tastier, smoother, and creamier than you’ve ever made at home. That’s thanks in part to Russian sour cream, but Russia is also home to some of the finest and most diverse varieties of mushrooms. Paired with exciting venison/wild meat variations, you will want to try this dish (again).