Welcome to our course!
Thanks for joining us to this amazing adventure! Today we are going to have 3 lessons on how to cook the most authentic Russian dishes (or dishes popular in Russia with other origins) — Borsch, Olivier salad and Syrniki. You will get to know the back history of those meals, the traditional way to serve them, as well as the tricks of how to make them delicious!

Olivier salad
We start off with the salad, because this is how a typical Russian lunch starts
Olivier Salad Ingredients:
- beef / ham 300 g
- potatoes 3 pcs
- carrots 3 pcs
- eggs 6 pcs
- dill pickles 3 pcs
- sweet onion 1 piece
- frozen fresh peas/canned peas 1 cup
- medium fresh cucumbers 2 pcs
- mayo 1 cup
- dill to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
Olivie Salad Recipe | Online Course by @Best.Russian.Food
Step by step
Get the ingredients ready
First you need to boil the potatoes, carrots and eggs without peeling them. Put the potatoes to a pot of cold water, with enough water to cover them, bring that to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft when pierced with a fork. This should take around 15-20 minutes. Do the same with the carrots.
Cut into pieces of the same size
The eggs will be boiled until hard boiled – about 10 minutes. Once the veggies are cooked and cooled you need to peel the carrots, potatoes and eggs and finely dice them. The key to this salad is that every item is cut up the same. The size must be the same for you to be able to get a forkful of all the different ingredients all at once.
Mix it all, salt & mayo after
Dice the pickles and meat and mix everything together in a large bowl with the peas. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve. Add the mayonnaise when ready to serve and enjoy!
Olivie Salad Tricks
Cooking the day before
Cook the potatoes and carrots together. Check readiness of the potatoes and carrots with a knife, it should piece through the center easily. Cooking them the night before is a great idea, once cooked just refrigerate (skin on).
Same size & shape
It is important for all components of Olivier to be cut the same size and shape. Cubes, to be precise. Take the size of your peas as a reference and remember to use a sharp knife.
Mayo love
Don't be afraid of it! Some recipes use sour cream or even yogurt, but that's mostly for a low-calorie salad. However, there's nothing like good old mayo. It was just meant to be there from the beginning and we shouldn't be the ones to alter it. Don't go too crazy on it though; mayo is just another ingredient and it shouldn't overpower all of the others.

Borsch soup
You eat soup after salad and before the main dish. Cannot miss it!
Borsch Ingredients:
For the stock:
- cold water 3 litres & pork ribs or beef attached to a bone 600g
For the borscht:
- medium beets peeled and grated 2 pcs
- medium potatoes peeled and cut into 5 cm chunks 3 pcs
- medium carrots grated 2 pcs, medium onion chopped 1.5 cup
- garlic minced 2 pcs; bay leaves 3 pcs
- tomato puree/paste 3 tbsp
- small white cabbage cored and sliced ½ piece
- one lemon juice only or 1 tsp of white vinegar
- salt, sugar & pepper to taste
Borsch Soup Recipe | Online Course by @Best.Russian.Food
Borsch stock: Step by step
Meat & water
In a large stock pot combine water, pork ribs cut into smaller chunks to fit the pot, quartered half onion, celery sticks and carrot cut in half, bay leaves and peppercorns and a pinch of salt.
Boil & remove the scum
Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 1 hour to 1.5 hours until the meat is nearly falling off the bones. Remove the scum that floats to the top with a slotted spoon several times through the process.
Take it off the bones
When the stock is done, let it cool slightly, then remove the ribs to a separate plate and strain the stock by pouring it over a sieve. Discard the vegetables. When the meat is cool enough to handle, take it off the bones and shred with two forks or by hand.
Borscht: Step by Step
Veggies ready
Prepare all the vegetables by peeling and grating the beets and carrots separately, chopping the onions, peeling and cutting the potatoes and slicing the cabbage. Have all vegetables ready before starting on the soup.
Add to the pot
Add the stock to the large soup pot, then add shredded meat, grated beets, cut into medium chunks potatoes, tomato puree, a pinch of salt and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer.
Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan, then add the grated carrots and chopped onions and saute over low heat for 7-10 minutes until caramelised, then add minced garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds.
Mix all up
When the onions and carrots are done, add them to the soup pot together with sliced cabbage and cook for 15 minutes or until the cabbage leaves are tender but not mushy. Then add the juice of one lemon or 1 tsp of white vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot
Serve borscht with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche and sprinkled with fresh dill or parsley.
Borsch Tricks
It all depends on the stock
Making a delicious stock is by far the most time consuming part of this recipe. It's not difficult, it just takes time. The best flavour comes from meat on a bone, simple vegetables like onions, carrots and a couple of aromatics. Skim the fat from the surface of the soup as it cooks, otherwise it could turn out pretty greasy.
Grate to have the right color
Grate the beets instead of simply chopping them. With more surface area, more of the beet flavonoids come to the surface and then leach out into the soup, which will give the perfect red colour of the soup.
Vinegar adds the taste
Citric acid added right at the end. This will not only help the beets keep their vibrant color, but it also gives the borscht a little bit of tang. Tomato juice, citrus juice, and vinegar are all good options so here too, you may have to play around with it a bit to see what you like best. Borscht must be served with sour cream and fresh dill. These can be placed alongside the borscht, or placed right on top while it's in the bowl it will be served in.

A healthy breakfast rich in proteins, and a sweet pleasure as a desert
Syrniki Ingredients:
- tvorog (cottage cheese / ricotta cheese) 400 g
- egg 4 pcs
- sugar 3 tbsp
- all-purpose flour ¾ cup plus extra for dusting
- vanilla sugar 1 ½ tsp (optional)
- salt ¼ tsp
- oil for frying
Syrniki Recipe | Online Course by @Best.Russian.Food
Syrniki: Step by step
The method of preparing syrniki is pretty much the same as old plain pancakes. If you ever attempted to make pancakes you will manage this recipe with ease.
Sticky mix
Combine cheese, eggs, sugar, oil, flour, baking powder and vanilla in a medium size bowl and mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer until you get a homogenous mass. No longer than 2-3 minutes. The mixture will be very sticky. Don't panic, that's what you are supposed to get!
Tvorog patties
Put your non-stick or cast iron frying pan on a stove on medium heat and add 3 tbsp of oil to it. Dust a clean work surface with some flour. Take a regular soup spoon and start scooping the mixture from the bowl.
Put it directly on the floured surface and roll it in the flour, then flatten it with your palm to make it into a patty. Continue the process with the rest of your cheese mixture until it's all gone. You should get about 14 patties.
Crispy fries
Before you start frying your syrniki make sure the oil in the frying pan is very hot by sprinkling a bit of flour into it. If it sizzles it's hot enough.
Fry your syrniki the same way you would pancakes. When you turn them over they should puff up a bit. The flour coating will make the outside slightly crispy while the mostly cheese filling will taste light and delicious.
Syrniki Tricks
Tvorog matters
Syrniki pancakes are made from tvorog, which is somewhat similar to ricotta cheese.
WHERE TO BUY Tvorog: tvorog or farmer's cheese can be found in the refrigerated dairy section, next to ricotta, cottage cheese and sour cream.
Or use farmer's cheese instead
Farmer's cheese is available at most major grocery stores and in pretty much all Slavic/Russian grocery stores. If you can't find farmer's cheese, you can use ricotta cheese – just drain it in a colander overnight in the fridge to get the extra liquid out, otherwise your syrniki will fall apart when you form them.
No olive oil
You'll want enough oil in the pan to coat it slightly. You can use a spoon to help you flip these pancakes easily. Do not use the olive oil – it has too much of a strong savory smell.
Thanks for joining!
Closing video by our founder, @Katya.2RU
Katya 2RU
The founder of @best.russian.food
That's it! I really hope you enjoyed it! Keep in touch on social media :)
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