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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Belarusian Cuisine




One of the people’s proverbs is: "There is no fish more tasty then tench (a freshwater fish from the carp family), as well as there is no meat better then pork".The Belarusian diet consists mainly of meat and meat products. Salted pork fat is used slightly smoked and seasoned with onion and garlic. Dishes prepared with meat are usually served with potatoes or vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, black radish, peas etc. Many meat and vegetable dishes are prepared in special stoneware pots.

Cold appetizers are popular. Among hot appetizers you will find pan fried mushrooms, tripe and snails among other delicacies. From Western European influence different crackers and dips are becoming popular.

Appetizers:
Appetizer from Champignons is prepared by boiling the champignons until they are half done. They are cooled then rolled in flour, brushed with beaten egg, rolled in bread crumbs then fried in oil and served cooled.

Cucumbers with Honey - Fresh-salted or fresh cucumbers are cut in rings and honey is poured over them. These are served with pancakes or rye bread.

Mushroom Caviar - pickled mushrooms are minced together with fried onion. Salt and pepper is added. Mixed thoroughly and heaped in a salad bowl and sprinkled with minced greens.

Niomanskaja Appetizer - beef and pork are minced together with salt, pepper and caraway seeds. The mixture is then transferred to parchment and shaped in a long loaf. It’s then tied up and boiled. When it’s done, it’s cooled and placed under a light press. Slice and serve.

There is a large variety of Belarusian soups. A few of them have become well known and are served in many restaurants all over the world.

Soups:

Chaladnik Khaladnik (Cold Soup) with Sorrel - the sorrel is shredded, boiled in salt water and then cooled. Fresh cucumbers are cut up fine, hard boiled eggs and green onion are added. Before serving the soup is seasoned with sour cream and sprinkle with minced dill.

Chaladnik Khaladnik (Cold Soup) Miensk Style - in this version sorrel is also boiled but beet root is boiled separately with vinegar added. To cold sorrel juice green onion minced and rubbed together with salt and egg yolks, shredded fresh cucumbers and beetroot are added. Then the beetroot liquid along with egg white, sugar and yoghurt is whisked in. The soup is served with sour cream and dill.

Mushroom Krupienia with Millet (Mushroom Soup) - mushrooms are boiled and the mushroom stock is strained and set aside. Then the mushrooms are minced. Onions and carrots are cubed and sautéed then added to the mushrooms. Millet is boiled separately and drained in a colander. Flour is browned and blended with some stock making a smooth paste. Then millet is added and the vegetables and mushrooms and cooked for 5 to 10 minutes.

Yushka (Fish Soup) - a cleaned and boned river fish such as perch, is covered with water and boiled along with carrot, onions, diced potatoes, pepper and celery on a slow fire until done.

Salads:

Barysauski Salad - the salad is made with boiled fish which is mixed with a hard boiled egg, sliced boiled beetroots, cheese and shredded onions. Then the salad is seasoned and mixed with mayonnaise.

Beetroot Salad with Herring - peeled, boiled and shredded beetroots and onions are mixed with diced herring fillet then mayonnaise is poured over all.

Mahileu Salad - sliced boiled beef is combined with onion in half rings, cut up carrot and black radish in shoestrings and minced eggs. Then mixed with salt, pepper and mayonnaise.

Tomato Salad with Cheese - tomatoes are cut in rings, then sprinkled with minced garlic, salt and pepper. Shredded cheese is sprinkled over the tomatoes and mayonnaise is added.

Vegetarian Dishes:

Kasa-Hlazatka - Peas are soaked in cold water for 3-4 hours. Pearl barley is boiled separately, then the peas are added. These are placed in the oven for an hour and a half. Served with pork cracklings.

Kaša, Viciebsk Manner - Boiled potatoes and mashed then combined with boiled pearl barley and hot milk. This is placed in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The kasa is served with butter.

Mushrooms Fried with Onion Gravy - Mushrooms (such as forest mushrooms like boletuses) are fried in very hot butter. Minced onions are stewed separately in hot butter until tender then sour cream is added and brought to a boil. This is then poured over the mushrooms.

Potato Halubcy with Mushrooms - Fresh cabbage is partially boiled so as to be able to separate the cabbage leaves. A stuffing is made of mashed potatoes combined with browned onions and mushrooms. Each separate cabbage leaf is filled with this mixture and folded up. The cabbage rolls are browned then sour cream is poured over and they are stewed till done.

The most popular meat product is the Belarusian sausage, mainly because of its Polish influence. Most of the traditional and modern dishes use meat in abundance. The most popular meat in Belarus is pork. However beefsteak is also common. A traditional dish is kotleta pokrestyansky which consists of pork cutlets in mushroom sauce. Freshwater fish such as perch and crayfish are plentiful.

Meat dishes:

Belarusian Borsc Borshch - chopped ham bones and beef are set to boil. Half an hour before stock is done carrot, onion and parsley root are added then the stock is strained. Shredded carrot, parsley and onion are fried in pork fat and tomato paste is added. To boiling stock add cubed potatoes, boiled and shredded beetroot and onion. The borsc is seasoned with vinegar and sugar. Then the meat and sausages are cut into chunks and added to the borsc.

Dainty Pork - Pork is cut into pieces and pounded. Salt, pepper and minced garlic are sprinkled on. The meat is then dipped in whipped egg, dredged in flour and fried until done. Then slices of cheese are placed on pork pieces and put in the oven until melted.

Holiday Sausages - Pork is cut into small pieces. The stuffing consists of sautéed minced onions, boiled and cut mushrooms, prunes and chicken fillet boiled and cut in shoestrings. Mixed and shaped into sausages then rolled in shredded cheese. The sausages are then laid on the pork pieces and rolled up. Each piece is dredged in flour, dipped in whipped egg, dredged in bread crumbs then browned and placed into the oven until done.

The traditional hard drink is vodka or harelka including varieties made from birch sap or flavored with forest herbs. Up until the 19th century mead and similar alcoholic drinks made of honey and spices were very common. An example is krambambula which is vodka diluted with water, mixed with honey and flavored with spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, red and black pepper). This is now experiencing a popular revival. Kvass remains the main non-alcoholic drink and every small town boasts of a local variety of mineral water.

Mushroom Krupienia with Millet (Mushroom Soup)

Ingredients
1 l Mushroom stock
40 g dried boletuses (forest mushrooms)
0.5 carrot
1 Onion
1 tblsps butter
0.25 cupful wheat flour
3 tblsps millet
2 tblsps sour cream

Directions
Prepare Mushroom stock. Wash the boiled Mushrooms and mice them. Cut the Onion and carrot into small cubes, saute and mix with Mushrooms. Boil the millet and drain in a colander. Brown the flour and blend it with some stock to make a smooth paste. To the strained Mushroom stock add the boiled millet, sauteed vegetables, Mushrooms and cook until it is done. 5 to 10 minutes before the soup

Stewed pork

Ingredients
400 g pork
300 g lecho,
1 onion,
1.5 tbls. melted pork fat,
3 cloves garlic,
8 potatoes, greens, salt.

Directions:
Place small pieces of pork in a stoneware pot, add shredded onion, cubed potatoes, lecho, garlic, greens, salt and stew in the oven.

Country Meat balls

Ingredients
180 g pork,
200 g beef,
2 tblsps buckwheat, groats or rice,
2 onions,
1 egg,
1 tblsp fat,
1 tblsp flour,
1 cupful tomato sauce, salt.

Directions
Put the beef and pork through the food chopper. Prepare fluffy buckwheat or rice kasha, brown the onions. Mix the ingredients together, add the egg, condiments and salt. Mould the mixture into balls, dredge with flour and fry. Place one layer of tefteli on a baking dish, pour over tomato sauce and stew until done.

Cutlets with Garlic

Ingredients
300 g beef,
70 g pork,
70 g white bread,
4 tblsps milk or water,
3 tblsps bread crumbs,
2 cloves garlic.
2 tblsp fat,
1 cupful red sauce, salt.

Directions
Put the boned beef and pork through the food chopper, add the salt and white bread (stale and with crust removed) soaked in cold water or milk and put through the mincer again. Season the forcemeat with minced garlic, mix thoroughly, shape into oblong cutlets, dredge with flour and saute in fat in a hot skillet. Pass red sauce Garnish cutlets with boiled potatoes, fluffy buckwheat or pearl-barley kasha, puree of potatoes, etc. By Rasma Raisters

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