Russian Food & Cuisine - Appetizers & Recipes

Author: Maria Mushtrieva (on 01 Feb 2015)
Appetizers are usually eaten before the main course and sometimes are accompanied with an alcoholic beverage. 
 Salads and pickled vegetables are the essential part of any festive table. 

Russian Appetizers and Starters

Salted cucumbers (soleniye ogurscy) 
small or medium size cucumbers which were kept in the salted water with spices for several weeks, traditional vodka snack.

Salted cabbage (kvashennaya kapusta) 
another vodka snack: the pickled cabbage is being kept in the jar for the several days.with berries, salt and spices. 

Herring under the coat (seledka pod shuboy)
small pieces of the herring mixed with the boiled potato, beet, carrot and mayonnaise.

Fresh vegetables (svejie ovoshy)
the salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Usually made with vinegar and oil.

Salmon caviar (ykra) 
red or black. Traditional Russian appetizer. Black one is far more expensive. Usually served on ice. Russians prefer to eat toasts with butter and caviar.

Medley (vinegret)
pieces of herring, chopped beet, cucumber, carrot, potato and oil. One of the few vegetarian salads in national cuisine.

Boiled beef tongue (govyzhyi yazyk)
slices of the tongue, served with horseradish.


Russian Cuisine Starters Recipes

Sandwich with red caviar recipe

Ingredients: 150 g red caviar, 20 g butter , 300 g bread , greens

Slice bread finely. Cut out crusts from bread. Put a small hit and a decorated piece of butter on a bread slice. Decorate with greens.



Ingredients : 2 average beetroots boiled, 4 potatoes boiled, 3 pickled cucumbers, 2 carrots boiled, 100 g green peas (optional) or 100 g of walnuts, vegetable oil, mayonnaise (optional), salt to taste.

Boil all vegetables separately. Let them cool down and then peel. Chop into cubes beets, 
potatoes, cucumbers and carrots.

Add green peas, if you want. Round colourful peas will be contrasting with other vegetables nicely. Another option is to add some walnuts instead of peas, which will underline the taste of sweet beetroots.

Season with vegetable oil or mayonnaise. Add salt to your taste.


Photo by User:Loyna/Wikipedia

Selyodka pod Shouboy (Herring under a coat) recipe

Ingredients: 2 thick salted herrings, 5 potatoes , 4 carrots , 4 beets , 5 eggs , 400 gr mayonnaise 

Layered salads are quite common in Russian kitchen. They always hold a little mystery and they unravel their composite nature slowly but once you try it you keep wanting more.

Boil vegetables until they are ready (you can boil vegetables in 1 pan). Boil eggs hard. 
Peel skin from herrings, cut them along the spine. Take all bones away.

Cut herring meat into very little pieces and always check for bones. Take a large dish. Put herring meat evenly on the bottom. If you like onion, you can put little pieces of onion on the herring. A trick is to soak onion in vinegar for a bit so it becomes sour but less spicy.

Then spread mayonnaise evenly (thin layer). Cut potatoes in thin circles and make the next layer of it. Spread mayonnaise. Use a fork to plane the layers. Then goes carrot (grind, put, spread). Then you do the same with 4 eggs and beets. Spread mayonnaise on the beets and grind 1 egg on it to decorate. Put the dish in the fridge for an hour.

If you  are a vegetarian try this salad using Wakame instead of the herring. 

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Vegetarian version of herring under the coat salad

photo by User:Alex Ex/Wikipedia
This salad must look like a cake.

Salad "Olivier" a.k.a. "Russian Salad" recipe

Ingredients : 5 potatoes , 3 carrots , 4 eggs, 1 pound boiled meat, 1/2 pound green peas, 2-3 dill pickles (you can use fresh cucumbers), salt to your taste, 1/2 pound mayonnaise 

Boil potatoes and carrots in skin (it helps to keep vitamins), then 
cool them down and peel them. Boil eggs and boil meat. Chop potatoes, 
carrots, eggs, meat dill pickles into 1/2 inches squares. Add green 
peas and salt.

Trust your own taste, everything must be in proportion. 
Stir mayonnaise only for the part of salad you are going to eat. It 
will be kept better without it. Mix the salad and refrigerate for a 

If you want your salad a little tender, mix a part of 
mayonnaise with an equal part of sour cream.

Pickled mushrooms recipe

Ingredients: 1,5 kg small mushrooms, 4 cup boiling water , 1 1/2 Tbsp salt 
Pickle: 3/4 c sugar , 3/4 cup vinegar , 1 3/4 cup water, 10 peppercorns, 3 bay leaves

Cook mushrooms well washed over medium heat in boiling water with salt until they are on the bottom for 15-20 mins. Place in sterilized jars.

Make pickle. Boil water with spices for 30 minutes. Add salt and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add vinegar and bring to boiling. Pour hot pickle over mushrooms.

Close the jars. Keep in the fridge for 3 days before serving.

Pickled Cucumbers recipe

Ingredients : 5 kg cucumbers , 1/2 kg onion, 1 kg paprica , 200 g parsley, 200 g celery , 300 g dill, 200 g garlic , 200 g horseradish root , 5 l water , 1 l vinegar , 400 g salt , 400 g sugar, 20 g black pepper

Soak cucumbers in cold water for several hours and slice 1/2 cm thick. Peel onion and chop into rounds. Seed paprica and cut into strips. Chop greens. Cut horseradish roots into cubes.

In well washed jars, put chopped cucumbers and papricas, put greens, horseradish and chopped onion in the top. Melt sugar, salt vinegar in the boiling water. Pour marinade in and sterilize the jars in a boiling water for 15 minutes.

Cork up and cool down.

Pickled cucumbers

Photo by User:Mfloryan/Wikipedia


Pickled tomatoes recipe

Ingredients : 2 kg average tomatoes , 1 l water ,1 Tbsp salt , 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/3 c vinegar 9% , 3 Tbsp vegetable oil , horse-radish , dill, garlic .

Tomatoes are usually pickled in large jars ( 3 l, and this recipe is for 3 l jars ). If you want you can use little ones, it's more comfortable to open them. Clean the jars very well. Sterilize them in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Put a leaf of horse-radish, dill and few cloves of garlic on the bottom of the jar.

Then put the tomatoes up to the top. Sterilize the covers (there are special ones for preserving) in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Add sugar and salt into water and boil it.

After boiling add vinegar and let liquid boil during 5 minutes. Pour hot liquid into the jar to the brim. Close the jars with covers. Turn the jar upside down to check the leaking. Put the jars upside down and cover them gently with a blanket.
Leave them for 4-6 hours.

After that if the jars are still warm, let them cool down. Then place them in a cool place (fridge, cellar) and keep for months. Pickled tomatoes can be served with anything you like. They are especially good in winter because they preserve all the vitamins one need some much during the cold season.

Bon appetit!



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