Russia is the land of architectural wonders, Matryoshkas (Russian dolls) and – of course – vodka. Although this country is world-famous for its myriad sights, sounds and drinks, there’s one thing that’s unfairly overlooked: its scrumptious cuisine. Let’s talk about three traditional dishes that are sure to leave you licking your lips on your next Russian holiday.
If you believe in “love at first taste,” your palate is bound to experience an immediate and irreversible infatuation with Khinkali. This dumpling delicacy is very sought-after by visitors and tourists alike, who simply cannot get enough of the dish’s flavourful filling. Usually, the dumplings are stuffed with cilantro and ground beef, whose juiciness cannot be bested. The trick to this tasty treat lies in its preparation: the meat is raw and is only cooked when it’s enclosed in the batter, meaning that its delectable juices are sure to make their way to your taste buds. Yum!
If you’re a cheese fanatic, prepare to be wowed by this mind-blowing Russian speciality. The premise is simple: the locals take a loaf of bread, hollow it out and fill it with whatever cheeses tickle their fancy. Then they pop this carbalicious concoction into the oven, and voilà: one of the most amazing dishes you’ll ever taste will be ready in no time. And, although it’s hard to imagine a better combination than crispy bread and melted cheese, it gets better: for additional flavour, they often throw a fried egg on top. It couldn’t be easier … and more delicious.
3. Beef Stroganoff
This is probably the only dish you’ve heard of before (and that you can pronounce). Although it’s generally available across Europe, particularly during the winter months, there’s nothing quite like trying it in its country of origin. You’ll notice that – unlike in most other places – the beef is not dry and overcooked, but loaded with additional moisture and flavouring. This is due to the fact that Russians fry the meat together with sour cream, white wine, onions, mustard and lots of butter. Add the beef to a hearty portion of pasta or rice, and you’re good to go! Straightforward, savoury and superb.
Needless to say, your gastronomic experiences in Russia are sure to delight and surprise you – so much, in fact, that they’re sure to expand your own cooking repertoire.
Bon appétit, or – as the Russians would say – Хороший аппетит!