Tuesday, 22 October 2013 21:42

What's there not to love about Okroshka - Russian soup

What's there not to love about Okroshka - Russian soup Photo OhCinderella, chefkoch.de

What gazpacho is to the Spanish, Okroshka (or Akroshka) is to Russians. A cold soup that is popular in summer, not only because it’s refreshing, but because many of the ingredients are grown in every respectable Russian’s ‘Dacha’ - country house.  It is also popular in the Ukraine and the former Soviet countries, but the idea has really been spreading.

After all - what’s there not to like about Okroshka? I served it once at a Russian-themed evening atMary’s Dinner Club and after some initial hesitation (and in one case even a refusal) everyone loved it, expressing their surprise about how they hadn’t imagined it THAT good.

My first ‘okroshkian’ experience

My first experience with Okroshka was actually similar and dates back to my time spend in Kazakhstan. I was invited to the home of a young Kazakh-Russian couple for a ‘traditional meal’ and even though I had arrived with a suitably open mind, I was a bit confused at first. Yes, it was summer and hot out, but why were there ‘only’ raw vegetables all over the kitchen counter?

I was even more confused when I was invited to come and join in the chopping fun? Wasn’t I the guest? Was this yet another ‘Russian tradition’? In any case, when it became apparent that we’ll just mix all those mixed vegetables with kefir I felt more than just a little doubtful about the culinary experience ahead. What can I say, just like my dinner club guests, I ended up loving it and have since come up with many variations.

So what exactly is Okroshka?

Okroshka is made with fresh vegetables, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, (and optionally sausage) and mixed into a soup with kefir, ayran, yogurt or buttermilk. In Russia it is actually made with Kvass, a slightly alcoholic drink made from fermented black bread or rye bread and garnished with sour cream. However, a version with kefir - which can also be substituted with ayran, diluted yogurt or buttermilk - is also super tasty. Generally the ratio of liquid and vegetables is similar to that you’d use in a bowl of cereal. An ice cube can be added for that extra chill.

For truly authentic cooking instructions

Obviously there is lots of room for experiments and the ratio of ingredients is changeable, but for a fairly traditional Okroshka you’ll need the following

Ingredients (for 4 – 6 servings)

  • 6 potatoes, boiled, cooled, cut into cubes
  • 6 eggs, cut into cubes
  • 400 grams of sausage, diced (optional)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced or cubed
  • 2 bunch spring onions, sliced
  • 6-8 red radishes, sliced or cubed
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 liter yogurt, kefir or ayran
  • About 1 liter mineral water (depends on the consistency of your milk product)
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • Possibly a spoon of vinegar (depends on the level of acidity of your milk product)

Mix all gently in a big bowl, sprinkle with dill and possibly add a dollop of sour cream and an ice cube.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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