The heart of Russian cuisine
As we are getting closer to Mongolia, churches transform into Buddhist Temples and tight fir forests into wide space with mountain views. It felt amazing to witness this transformation. And not only the land has changed , but also its people. We arrived to Ulan Ude, the Asian part of Russia and home to the Buryats, who are the largest indigenous group in Siberia. Knowing that this is the end of our journey in Russia, we wonder if we will still meet a local to cook with. We didn’t want to leave Russia without a recipe. It should be a dish that represents the heart of Russian cuisine, something honest and authentic. And what would reflect this more than a beautiful Bowl of Borscht!?
From our time in Riga we knew, that cooking in a Hostel can be really fun and a great way to meet locals. So we contacted the guys from Ulan Ude Travelers House which is famous for its family vibe hospitality and great reputation.
Hostel Owner Denis is an expert when it comes to traveling in Russia. Being a tour guide and a traveler himself, Denis knows the Trans Siberian Railway like the back of his hand. Visit him at his Hostel, if you ever plan to do this epic journey of a lifetime. Denis is the man in Ulan Ude. He can help you with tickets, tours and give you general advice about traveling in Russia. Without any doubt, this was our address to go.
Our local Chef Anna
One night we had sent a message to travelers House, asking if we could come over for some cooking. Anna, who is staff in the hostel, invited us over for the next day. She was so relaxed and kind! When she heard of our cooking mission, she loved the idea and agreed to cook the Borscht for us. I think she doesn’t know how happy she made us.
It felt like a gift from heaven! On that evening we also had a group of lovely travelers joining us for dinner.Guys, it was a pleasure to meet you all! Thanks for the good conversations. And a special Thank you to Anna who cooked up a storm for us! We loved your Borscht and keep the recipe in honor.
- 1 beef shank, browned from each side
- 2,5 liters of water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Carrots,chopped
- 1 beet, diced
- 1 quarter of a cabbage, finely sliced
- 2 potatoes, diced
- 1 bunch fresh dill, for garnish
- 1 bayleaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of sugar
- 200ml sour cream
How to make the Borscht
First, brown the beef shank from each side to get the maximum flavors out of it. This is important for the stock later. After browning, place the shank into the water and bring to the boil. Simmer the meat away for about 3,5 to 4 hours to create a beautiful stock for the Borscht. After 4 hours set the meat aside and use the remaining stock for further cooking. The meat will come off the bone and will be used in the Soup after.
Fry the carrots, onion and the cabbage in a pan until they get some color. Add a pinch of sugar as well which helps caramelizing the vegetables. In meanwhile start to bring the stock to the boil again. When the Veg is browned as well, add everything to the pot. Now also add the potatoes, beets and the bay leaf. Let it cook on medium heat for 2o-25 minutes.
The color of the soup should have turned into red already. Now it is time to season the Borscht. Put in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If you are satisfied with the result, add the beef chunks to the soup and simmer for some more minutes. You can now plate your beautiful Borscht and serve it to your friends. And you can tell them that this Recipe is coming straight from Russia.
Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and a spoon of sour cream. If you desire add a bit of vinegar for acidity, go for it!
As a side dish we had a delicious Salad Olivie. The recipe will follow soon!
Are you planning to visit Russia soon? Let us know which dishes you liked most!