Ayran is a refreshing fermented diary drink. This slightly fizzy sour drink made of yoghurt substance is a great thirst quencher.
It has made its way to Russia either from Turkic countries such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan or from the North Caucasus countries such as Armenia, where this drink is also very popular.
Ayran can give you an energy boost and revive you on a sweltering day. Try it and discover for yourself.
Another similar drink is tan.
Vegetable squash pastes are very popular in Russia, their high-scale production in the USSR started in 1930s and nowadays jars of various vegetable “caviars” can be found in every Russian shop.
Zucchini caviar is perhaps the most popular one.
It is a blended mixture of baked or boiled zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots and onions.
Russian zucchini caviar (kabachkovaya ikra) is a low-calorie product (around 78 calories per 100 gram) and is full of goodness – vitamins B and C, carotene and dietary minerals.
This healthy product is also very tasty and can be eaten as a bread spread or served as a side dish.
Another similar product is aubergine caviar.
Other Russian health boosting products:
Read about all.
Gluten-free buckwheat seeds is an amazing super healthy product. Not many garnishes can compare with buckwheat by its health benefits. Like quinoa, buckwheat belongs to the family of pseudocereals – because it looks like grain, but it is seeds. If you are aware of your diet and want a healthy side dish you should look carefully at white rice, couscous – not to mention fries – but buckwheat will give you a perfect side dish full of vitamins and nutrients.
There are some of the buckwheat superfood health benefits:
- it’s gluten free
- it helps maintain blood flow and thus is good for cardiovascular system
- it is linked to lowering risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- it has antioxidant properties
- it is low in calories (1 cup of cooked groats contains 155 calories – fat not added in cooking)
This is a diagram of nutrients in Buckwheat as given on the site www.whfoods.com The world’s healthiest foods
You can read more on the site The world’s healthiest food by following the link: Buckwheat.
HOW TO COOK
The healthy properties of Buckwheat are very well known in Russia and several meals feature this product.
Kasha is the most straightforward recipe and you can have it for breakfast, or use as a side dish.
You will need:
1/2 cups Buckwheat
1 cup water
Butter to taste
Rinse buckwheat thoroughly under running water and remove any debris or any black seeds
Add water and salt, and bring to boil leaving the lid slightly open
When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes
Switch off the heat, add and mix in some butter, cover with the lid and leave for 10 minutes
* In Russian this is called “grechka”, but in English it is also known as “kasha”.
* For bigger portions use the proportion: 1 part of buckwheat to 2 parts of water (i.e. for one cup of buckwheat use 2 cups of water etc.)
* Serving idea#1: With zucchini caviar, another healthy product, you double the taste and health benefits.
* Serving idea#2: You are a healthy eater who prefers having small regular snacks? Here’s a quick idea for you: Once kasha cools down you can mix it with cold milk to get a healthy buckwheat snack.
Smetana Russian sour cream is used in many recipes, from salads to desserts or casserole dishes. For example smetana can be used as:
- As a condiment to various pancakes, including cottage cheese pancakes syrniki or savoury potato pancakes draniki. Also served with dumplings pelmeni or vareniki.
- As a final touch to soups, such as borscht
- As a casserole sauce used in stews – its high content in fat allows smetana not to curdle at higher temperatures unlike similar crème fraîche.
- Mixed with tvorog for breakfast
Smetana is also very popular in Ukrainian, Belarusian and Polish cuisines.
Recipes with smetana:
|Soups||Savoury bites||Sweet pancakes||Protein rich breakfast||Dessert
|Condiment to various hot and cold soups||Sauce for potato pancakes draniki||Cottage cheese syrniki pancakes||Tvorog with smetana and berries||Prunes and walnuts in thickened smetana
Tvorog is Russian pressed cottage cheese and a great source of protein. It is similar to curd or farmer cheese but somewhat firmer and more dry.
Tvorog is used in many traditional Russian recipes: breakfast pancakes syrniki, zapekanka – tvorog baked in oven, vareniki – dumplings with sweet stuffing, vatrushka cakes or traditional Easter dish paskha.
It can also be eaten on its own as a healthy snack food and a great start to the day. You can mix it with sour cream, jams, honey, nuts, fruit – anything of your choice.
Recipes with tvorog:
|Syrniki||Zapekanka||Tvorog with smetana||Chocholate cake with tvorog filling
|Quark pancakes: easy, very tasty and good for you.||Baked and cooled down cottage cheese||Rich in protein healthy breakfast solution||Sweet and refreshing at the same time