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Vladimir Putin: National cuisine enterprises can compete with McDonald’s

Putin Russian food to beat McDonald's

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation proposes developing “national fast food” enterprises in the regions and believes that national cuisine can compete with McDonald’s.

“We have wonderful cuisine”, Putin says and notes that it is necessary to establish competitive and high quality industrial production of national food products. At the meeting of Board of Legislators, the president noted that regional and municipal authorities need to support small and medium businesses producing “national fast food” by creating favourable conditions for such enterprises.

 The president of Russia named quite a few foods he finds delicious and believes in their potential on the market – Ossetian pies, Tatar sweet cake “chak-chak”, belyash pirozhki from the Volga region etc. He concludes “Such catering should provide us with food that looks home-made but is cooked in compliance with industrial production principles.”

It should be noted that McDonald’s has been doing business in Russia for almost a quarter of a century and received more than a warm welcome on its opening day. People were waiting patiently in long queues for a “happy meal” and it was not only about the food, but about the charm of the new and the foreign. Long past are the days of going to McDonald’s  for a romantic date, but this fast food giant is always vibrant, especially during lunch hours

A number of other world-known fast food enterprises are holding strong positions on the Russian market – KFC, Burger King, Sbarro etc. However, their local equivalents are starting to spur – “Teremok Russian bliny” and “Kroshka Kartoshka”, but their networks are limited by Moscow and a few major cities.

Other national foods are produced by small businesses or sold by individual entrepreneurs – shaorma wraps – doner kebabs in Armenian style – are very popular. Here and there old grannies are selling pirozhki – cakes with fillings made of cabbage, potatoes or jam. Russian Koreans are selling “Korean style carrot” salad – a local equivalent of khimchi, – as well as crunchy pickled sea weed. The iconic salad “herring under fur coat”  was picked up by some industrial producers and now you can find this salad in the shops.

The country has quite abruptly moved from command economy into the market economy and has witnessed with an open mouth the triumph of foreign catering sharks. After all these overwhelming changes and head-over-heels excitement about burgers and chips, people start longing for home-style foods.

Russian cuisine is indeed very rich and diverse, and incorporates culinary heritage of many of its nationalities. Time will show if mass-scale production of such foods can locally beat major fast food companies, but who knows – taste and cultural value associated with national foods are good assets.

Based on materials of RIA Novosti (РИА Новости)


Pilav plov recipe

Pilav rice (Plov) recipe

Pilav (Rus. Plov) is a staple Uzbekistan meal, hearty rice with chunks of meat, special spices and vegetables. There are a lot of variations of pilav rice, including recipes where rice is cooked with dried fruit, all covered with a thin sheet of pastry.

Traditionally plov is cooked in the open air, in the large metallic pot called “kazan” (which is similar to a cauldron). And an important traditional ingredient is sheep tail fat, in which the meat is fried (in Russian this fat is called “kurdyuchnyi zhir”, and it might be possible to buy it from the butchers selling lamb in the market).

Spices are very important for the flavour of pilav: cumin seeds (зира), coriander seeds (зерна кориандра), berberis. Dried basil can be used as well, and saffron to enrich the colour. If you can’t find some of the spices, in Russian shops they usually sell spice mixtures for plov that has all of them.

For extra flavour a whole garlic bulb is used (upper peel removed), which get simmered together with rice and then discarded.


What is good about pilav rice that this meal can last you for 2 days, if you choose to cook enough.

Fergan Pilav (plov) in a large frying pan


Mutton – 350 grams (fatty pieces)

Onion – 1

Carrot – 2 middle sized

Coarse salt – 3-4 teaspoons

Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, berberis – half a teaspoon each

Garlic – 1 bulb

Basmati rice – 350 grams

Vegetable oil


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly so the water is clear; cover with water and let the rice soak. Boil some water. Finely slice the onion into circles; slice the carrot into strips; remove the first peel from the garlic.
  1. In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil until it smokes. Stir-fry onion until golden. Stir-fry chunks of meat till crispy and reduce the heat to low.

Bring carrots, salt, spices and place garlic into the middle of the frying pan. Cover the ingredients with some boiled water. Cover the pan with a lid or a plate and let simmer for about 20 minutes (this bouillon is called zirvak).

  1. After 30 minutes, pour out the remains of water from the soaking rice. Put rice over the ingredients in the pan, even out. Add boiled water so it covers the rice by about 1 cm. Simmer the water out for about 15 minutes. (when the top layer of water is simmered away, you can make holes in the rice with a spoon).
  1. Once the water is evaporized, cover the pan with a lid or a plate and let stand for about 15 minutes. Gently mix, giving a shake, and serve.


Cep Penny bun Russian mushroom soup

Cep Mushroom Soup


Mushrooms are very popular in Russia and many people collect mushrooms in the wild, learning how to tell edible ones from poisonous ones in the early childhood. It is much more then gathering your food  – this pastime referred to as “quiet hunting” is a great way to unite with nature, relax and of course it gives you a goal and a challenge – spotting mushrooms is not straightforward because you never know where to expect them and they are often disguised with a leaf or other debris.

The most popular mushrooms are penny buns, chanterelles, birch boletes, honey fungus and most popular dishes are soups, fried mushrooms and pickled mushrooms. Pickled mushrooms are quite popular as an appetizer. Another popular appetizer is julienne – baked mushrooms julienne in béchamel with cheese.

The mushrooms you can see in every grocery are called champignons and they cannot compare with the rich aroma and taste of wild mushrooms. On top of distinctive flavor mushrooms are a great source of proteins, vitamins and important minerals. Mushrooms are suitable for a vegetarian diet. You can get wild mushrooms in the food markets at the end of summer or beginning of autumn.

With ceps (Penny buns, Rus. белый гриб) you can make a very simple but delicious soup. The soup is very clear and remarkably rich in flavor. The squidgy mushrooms remind scallops by their soft and moist texture (but not the taste). If you are lucky to spot ceps in your local market don’t hesitate – grab them and make yourself some delicious  mushroom soup. I have got these mushrooms on the market in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.

  • 250 gr penny buns
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Bay leaf
  • Some vegetable oil
  • Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Smetana or yoghurt
  • Dill (optional)

1. Wash mushrooms, clean from debris and chop into large chunks. Examine the stalk and head for worms. If there are any, pick them out some small worms after chopping. They are harmless and quite common, so if you do accidentally eat a few you’ll be fine!

2.Bring the mushrooms, bay leaf and peppercorns into a pot and pour over 1.5 liters of water. Bring to boil and let simmer for 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile chop the potato into small cubes and finely slice the onion. Fry the onion until golden in vegetable oil.

4. After 40 minutes add potatoes and salt to the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Then add fried onions, simmer for another 5 minutes. Switch off the heat and let infuse for 10-20 minutes.

6. Serve with smetana/yoghurt and finely chopped dill. Enjoy!

Napoleon cake recipe

Napoleon cake is a staple cake of Russian cuisine. This delicious vanilla slice of many puff pastry layers and custard cream is soft, moist and tender.The variations of this cake are called mille-feuille. Russian Napoleon cake became very popular after the victory over the Napoleon troops. In the 19 century this cake was made in a triangular shape resembling the bicorn, the characteristic Napoleon’s hat. Nowadays the cake is mostly made in a round or rectangular shape but the popularity of this fantastic cake has never declined.

You hear puff pastry, many layers, and get scared? Do not be! We would like to share a great family recipe of authentic Napoleon cake with custard crème (courtesy of my aunt) The puff pastry is done in what it’s called “rough puff” way – it couldn’t be easier! The secret to this vanilla slice is patience and time, it will need to sit in the fridge for about 24 hours. This will help the cake layers to soak up all the cream and become one whole, moist and tender delight.

It should be noted though that this cake will require a bit of attention and time. The making of the Napoleon cake is best to divide into 2 sections: making the dough and custard cream and letting everything rest in the fridge (and using this time for some rest or going out), and second section – baking the layers and whatever comes next. Baking the layers will need your energy and time management, you will bake a layer (about 4-5 minutes), meanwhile rolling the next layer to go in the oven, and so on. Stop watch would be handy and so will a glass of wine (don’t ask me how I know it 🙂 ). Let the baking commence!


Napoleon Cake


Cake layers

560  gr/20 oz  (3.5 glasses) flour

300 gr/ 10,5 oz butter

1 egg

1/5 glass of ice water

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of vinegar


Crème pâtissière

0,5 litre milk

3 egg yolks

70 gr/2.5 oz butter

0,5 glass sugar

3-4 tablespoons flour

100 ml cream (35%)

½ vanilla bean, split down the middle and seeds scrapped out




1. Sift the flour and salt and into a large bowl. Grate the butter into the bowl and rub it thoroughly with your hands so there are no bits of butter seen.

2. In a glass mix an egg, add water to fill about 1/5 of the glass. Put a tea spoon of soda into a table spoon, fill the table spoon with vinegar. Add the soda and vinger into the glass with the egg mixture, mix and slowly pour into the dough.  Mix the dough well, it should be firm.

3. Roll the dough into the sausage and cut into 9 parts. Roll each part into a ball and leave to rest for 4 hours in the fridge or more ( use this time to make the cream and rest)

Baking (after 4 hours of the dough resting in the fridge)

4. Lay the baking paper over the tray. Preheat the oven to 220 С.

5. Powder a working surface with flour. Take a ball of dough from the fridge and roll into a thin circle. Use a plate to trim. Bake the layer and the trimmings in the oven (about 4-5 min. Repeat for the next layers.

Crème pâtissière

1. Combine milk and 1/5 of sugar amount in a small saucepan. Add the split vanilla pod and its seeds. Bring the milk mixture to the boil, moving constantly, then remove from the heat. Cool down and remove vanilla bean.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, flour and the remaining sugar. Slowly add into the cooled down mixture, constantly mixing so there are no lumps.

3. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens (do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle). Remove from heat.

4. Add butter and thoroughly beat up. Put the custard into the fridge for 4-5 hours. (time for your rest!)

5. Beat up cold cream with a mixer and slowly add custard into the cream, constantly mixing. Mix it up once again…the cream for Napoleon is ready!

Assembling the cake

1. Assemble all the layers, covering each of them with the cream

2. Break the trimming with a mortar and cover the top layer.

3. Leave to rest and soak up for 24 hours in the fridge.

Charodeika cake

Russian charodeika sponge layers cake with anglaise cream and chocolate coating

 Charodeika is a comforting sponge cake with a layer of soft white cream and a thin chocolate coating.

Delicious anglaise cream holding together fluffy and light sponge layers calls for a soothing cup of milky tea. This cake is very popular in Russia and it is sold in carton boxes in almost every food shop. But let’s spoil ourselves with a homemade version!

The making of the cake is divided into 3 sections: the cake, the cream, and the coating.

Russian chocolate cake charodeika in a box