Friday, August 3, 2012

Okroshka



If you are reading this blog, then I assume you are an adventurous eater who is curious about modern Russian cuisine. Have I got an adventure for YOU! This is okroshka - cold soup made with vegetables (such as cucumbers, radishes and potatoes), boiled eggs and bologna. It is an acquired taste, but the soup is extremely popular in Russia, especially in spring, when first fresh vegetables and herbs appear. People make it at home but it is also often included as a seasonal item in the menus of cafes and restaurants. I've already talked about the Russians' love of soups, such as borsch or yellow pea soup, so here is another favorite.

Okroshka is to the Russians what gazpacho is to the Spaniards: a cold, refreshing liquid snack for the hot summer weather. I remember watching Almodovar's Women on the Verge of the Nervous Breakdown one day, and the characters would go to the fridge and take a few sips of gazpacho. This made me think of a housemate I had when I was a student and rented a room. His wife would make a big pot of okroshka and he would spend his day opening the fridge door at regular intervals and eating a few spoonfuls of the soup right out of the pot. Glad I didn't have to share my meals with that family :).

"Okroshka" comes from the word "kroshit," to dice. The liquid that is traditionally used is kvas, a fermented drink made from bread - that should be the subject for a whole different conversation, remind me to tell you what kvas is and what it tastes like :). Some people, including me, prefer to make it with kefir - a drink made from cultured milk, similar to drinkable yogurt or buttermilk. Kefir is sold in many supermarkets in the US nowadays and is worth trying. For the soup the plain (unsweetened) flavor should be used, but it also comes in various fruit flavors. Even my picky kids like it. If you can't find kefir, regular buttermilk will work, too. I prefer to dilute the kefir with water mixed with lemon juice so that it is not so thick and rich.


Okroshka

Serves 4

3 large radishes
2 spring onions (white and green parts)
1/3 English cucumber
1 medium potato, boiled with skin on and peeled
3 hard boiled eggs
3 slices bologna
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 cups kefir (can be substituted with buttermilk)
2 cups ice cold water
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoons salt
freshly ground black pepper

Dice radishes, onions, cucumber, potato, eggs and bologna. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasoning. Serve cold.

15 comments:

  1. Okroshka - it's like Polish "chlodnik"? We do that in simpler version - cucumber and radish only. But your okroshka looks magnificient!
    Pozdrowienia,
    Mr.&Mrs.Sandman

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    Replies
    1. I've never had khlodnik but it sounds like something I'd like. Do you have a recipe?

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    2. I'll dig it up and let you know - Mr.Sandman is responsible for khlodnik ;-)

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  2. in lithuania we have cold beetroot soup 'šaltibarščiai' - the best thing when summer is hot-hot-hot :)

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    Replies
    1. I think I made it once: it's grated beets with kefir, right? I liked it a lot, and it looks spectacular.

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  3. That s a pretty interesting soup. No cooking expect dicing and boiling egg. I will give this a try and let you know :) Thanks for sharing all those interesting information. I am learning about Russian food from you.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, there's a lot of dicing :). Thanks for reading, I'm happy to share!

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  4. Hi Alina: The Okroshka sounds good, as do the Lithuanian, Polish soups. I'm a
    guy in central Illinois. I will try it, as it is hot hot hot here. I just gained
    some Polish relatives, as my brother married a Polish girl a couple of years
    ago. Their food was a surprise to me, and interesting: lots of traditional soups,
    particularly a Spring one I liked. Thanks for introducing me to Russian food.
    I will come back and try some more. Mark

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mark! Glad you find this interesting. Stop by any time :).

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  5. Hi Alina :) I'm Ana Eugénio from Portugal and I'm doing the August Break with you too ;) hope you have an extraordinary week ahead. xxo

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ana! How's it going? I find it difficult but fun.

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  6. I'm so happy to discover your blog! I love it when I find Russian/Ukrainian type foodie blogs. Your photography is awesome! Keep up the good work and I look forward to following your blog :)

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  7. Superb photos and the soup sure looks inviting :)

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  8. This soup was amazing! We currently live in Ukraine and had seen this dish offered at lots of restaurants but my (Ukrainian) boyfriend never wanted to order it because he said it goes bad quickly. Finally I found your recipe (via Natasha's blog, I think?) and made it and my boyfriend LOVED it. He insisted that I make it again the following week! Thank you for all the info and detailed pictures; I'm inspired just looking at your post!

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    Replies
    1. How awesome is this? You never know where your recipes will end up :)).

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I greatly appreciate your comments. There is nothing I like more than the two-way communication with my readers. Because I hate word verification I won't make you look at those squiggly letters... but I do have to moderate to protect from spam :).

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