Russian Cuisine in Prague
Discover the authentic flavor of Eastern Europe
Okroshka, tyura and botvinya are among the most popular cold soups. The base of cold soups is kvass, a type of 'sour milk' – it is a special type of fermented beverage made from dark bread. Okroshka for example is made out of two vegetables: one with a neutral taste such as potatoes and the other spicier, like green onions.
The same proportion of vegetables and cold boiled meat/fish are enhanced with herbs, pickled cucumber and boiled eggs. You can often find okroshka and other types of Russian soups at Polévkárna in Karlín.
Hot soups, such as shchi have been an important part of Russian cuisine for thousands of years. This cabbage soup was a popular first course served in households both rich and poor. Of course, richer families used better quality ingredients but were cooked in the same tradition.
The plainest shchi soups are made with minimal ingredients but it's also possible to add meat, carrots, spices and sour components like pickled water. Another great place to sample some Russian soups is Kalinka, a restaurant that specializes in Russian cuisine.
Another liquid-based meal that is popular in Russia is porridge. There are several varieties of cereals including whole grains cooked in milk. Buckwheat, millet, semolina, oats, barley and rice are popular for breakfast. Butter, salt or sugar is added for flavor.
While Czechs also like buckwheat and sell it in larger stores including Albert, it is very different than the buckwheat in Eastern Europe. Russians are used to darker buckwheat that needs to be cooked longer (and is harder to overcook). You can buy this type of buckwheat in stores such as Vlaštovka and Arbat.
Meat is the essential ingredient in all main dishes. Kotlety, a type of minced cutlets/meatballs are eaten frequently in more modern households. Pelmeni are the popular dumplings consisting of minced meat fillings wrapped in dough. Any meats can be used but the traditional Ural Pelmeni are 45% beef, 35% lamb and 20% pork.
You can find some delicious Russian meat dishes in restaurant Sochi. It offers a combination of Russian and Georgian cuisine and has a great selection of pelmeni with sour cream on the side. They also have a great daily lunch menu and a Siljotka (pickled fish with onion) special. Another great place that combines the best of Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian and Russian food is Havlíčkova Restaurace. They serve amazing kotlety as well as other Eastern European specialties.
Kholodets and shashlyk are also popular dishes. Khoholets are jellied pieces of either pork or veal with some vegetables and spices. The jelly isn't made out of gelatin, the substance in pig's feet and heads is enough. Shashlyk is shish kebab: marinated meat grilled on a skewer. It is cooked outside and is comparable to a BBQ meal.
While most traditional dishes are filled with meat, there are many delicious salads that are popular in Russia. One of the favorites is a beet salad with prunes and walnuts. It may sound like a strange combination if you’ve never tried it, but the ingredients taste perfect together. It’s also a great recipe for vegetarians and vegans as the nuts add protein and beets are filled with important nutrients and vitamins. You can find a recipe for one of the many variations here.
There are many desserts that you can enjoy at the end of your Russian meal. Chocolate, cakes and sweet milk-based desserts are the most popular. The sweet taste balances the generally salty or savory main meal. It can be difficult to find Russian desserts in restaurants, but you can buy candy at the stores or prepare the desserts yourself using the recipes here.
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