Хорошая Пища из России (Good Food from Russia)

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “Opening Ceremony Orchestra Theme” from Sochi Winter Hits 2014 – The Unofficial Olympics Edition by Chris Huelsbeck. Released: 2014

The Olympic spirit is with us once again and even diehard non-sports fans like myself, love watching the winter Olympics. I confess that until Russia won the bid for the 2014 Olympics, I had never heard of Sochi.

Map of Russia, showing location of Sochi

Map of Russia, showing location of Sochi


Russia is such a vast country, covering more than 17,000,000 square miles. Compare this to the USA, with 3,794,000 square miles! Russia shares borders with 14 countries, compared to the USA, with 2: Canada and Mexico. The Russian geography ranges from tundra, taiga, mixed forests, steppes, and semi-desert, where Sochi is located, on the Black Sea. There are 9 time zones in Russia, which gives one an idea of its sheer size.

In my cookbook collection, I have a number of Russian cookbooks, and being fired up about the Olympics, I browsed through them last night. There is such a variety in the cuisine, by region, by geography and by influence from neighbouring countries, that it is difficult to summarize Russian cuisine easily. I did learn that in the area around Sochi, popular dishes include Circassian Chicken, Shish Kebabs of many varieties, Solyanka Soup and “Khinkali”.

Shisk Kebabs, a popular food in the region around Soshi

Shisk Kebabs, a popular food in the region around Sochi

Khinkali waiting to be cooked

Khinkali waiting to be cooked

In “Culinaria Russia”, which includes recipes from Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, I found a recipe for “Khinkali”, which are filled pasta pockets, a kind of dumpling. According to Culinaria Russia, which is edited by Marion Trutter and was published in 2007:

“Housewifely virtues are measured by the skill in forming the bag of dough: the more folds of pasta dough that can be pressed together over the filling to form a knob, the greater the devotion of the woman to her family”

To eat Khinkali, the knob is held in the fingers and bits are bitten off carefully. In this way, the juices of the filling generated during cooking do not run over the hands and clothes. Very practical, those Russians.

The proper way to eat Khinkali (whoever made these was certainly devoted!)

The proper way to eat Khinkali (whoever made these was certainly devoted!)


Khinkali cooking

Khinkali cooking

Culinaria Russia, edited by Marion Trutter and published in 2007

Culinaria Russia, edited by Marion Trutter and published in 2007

Here is the recipe:

For the Filling

1 ¾ pound ground lamb or mixed ground pork and beef
salt
black pepper
3 large onions, chopped very fine
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

For the Dough

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
about 2/3 cup lukewarm salt water

Knead together the ground meat with the salt, pepper, onion, cilantro and about 7 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Prepare a smooth dough from the flour and salt water, roll it out thinly and cut out 6 inch circles using a saucer. Put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat filling into the center of each circle.

Gather up the edges of the dough to the center over the filling and pinch neatly together. Put the Khinkali in a large pan with boiled, lightly salted water and simmer very gently, gently agitating them with a wooden spoon now and again. When they float to the surface, continue to simmer for about 6 minutes, then remove from the water using a skimmer, sprinkle with black pepper and serve hot.

The 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia

The 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia

Don’t forget, the more folds you make, the more devoted you are to your family! Enjoy!

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 5,851. What next? More cookbooks, naturally (small ones !)
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