Gala’s Russian Food Glossary

The cooking glossary includes Russian food, cooking terms, ingredients, dishes and our people culinary preferences. The glossary includes photos and pronunciation dishes and ingredients in Russian. The idea to add pronunciation of Russian words to my glossary told my American friend and I hope, it is going to help people. I will continue to add new words and descriptions to my glossary.

Photo A gift to Young Housewives Book

A Gift to Young Housewives – Russian classic cookbook Elena Molokhovets (first edition 1861) Translated and introduced by Joyce Toomre. Really it is not only translation, the book has a lot of explanations by Joyce Toomre, to make easy to understand specifics of the recipes and introduction about the history of our cuisine.

Ajika – Georgian and Abkhaz spicy sauce (dip) made from sweet pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices (some recipes include pecan and tomato) very well adapted at Russia. Very tasty, especially homemade! You can find ajika at European stores in the USA.

Russian Crapes photo

How to pronounce Russian word

BLINI (блины)

Blini – Russian thin pancakes or crepes. Traditionally made with yeast at old days.

〉 Importance of Blini in Russian Culture

〉 Recipe of Russian Blini Zavarnie

Russian Birch Tree Juice Photo

Birch Tree Juice – juice from a birch tree. Real juice is clear, water like the taste and not sweet. What you are going to buy in jars added sugar and it is a pleasant slightly sweet beverage.  Available at some Russian stores in the USA.

Russian Candies Birds milk Photo

Birds milk candy – covered with chocolate and flavored with different flavors souffle (chocolate, lemon, vanilla…). Named from Russian fairy tail. Bird’s Milk means something rear.

Soup with Beets - Borscht Vegetarian Photo

Borscht – Ukrainian traditional soup with beets. Serves with sour cream. Very well adapted in Russia. So many recipes and ways to cook it!

〉 Vegetarian Borscht Recipe

Photo Russian Caviar Serving with Butter Photo

How to pronounce Russian word

IKRA (икра)

Caviar – (Ikra) roe of fish salted and eating as a delicacy. Caviar in Russian is ikra. Russian caviar can be black, red or yellow depends on fish. Most common way to serve in Russia caviar is bread with a thin layer of butter. Garnish with lemon and flowers from butter on the photo. I like to serve caviar with butter flavored with fresh green dill. Caviar can be also called paste from mushroom or vegetable.

〉 How to serve caviar Russian style

〉 How to make flower from butter

〉 How to make herb butter

Photo Russian Flavoring Crawfish Butter

Crawfish Butter – infusion from crayfish shells for flavoring dishes. Well known in old Russian cuisine.

〉 Recipe Russian Crawfish Butter


Eskimo Ice Cream – American ice cream Eskimo Pie. Was brought from the USA and very well adapted in Russia from 1935.

-Russian Manka -Farina or Semolina in English

Farina – call mannaya krypa or manka in Russian. Sometimes at Russian stores call semolina. Very close to Cream of Wheat, but it is not wheat cream! Semolina grain made from wheat and widely used in Russian cooking. We use it to make kasha (porridge), casserole with farmer cheese, dumplings, desserts and along with flour to make cakes and other pastries. Very common ingredient in our cuisine.

Photo Guriev Kasha Dessert at Gala's Kitchen

Guriev Kashafarina porridge with fruits, nuts, and very important ingredient firm top – skins from boiling milk or cream. Most famous Russian dessert from semolina. Guriev kasha was invented by Dmitri Alexandrovich Guryev, Tsar Alexander First Minister of Finance in 1812. The dessert was first introduced to the cooking World in Paris as Russian dessert in 1814.

Photo Russian stuffed cabbage Golubzi

Golubzi – Stuffed cabbage leaves with meat and rice and sauteed in sauce with vegetables. Serve with sour cream. Golubzi dish has also easier variation – lenivie golubzi ( Lazy golubzi). In lazy golubzi version, we add shredded cabbage to meat and rice.

Photo Siberian Golubzi Recipe

Golubzi Siberian style or Siberian Golubzi – Stuffed beet leaves.

Siberian Golubzi 

Photo Grechka in Russian or Buckwheat in English

Grechka buckwheat in English. Very popular in Russia grain (rich in Iron)! We serve it as a side dish for meat dishes with sauce most common way to eat buckwheat in Russia. We boil, bake and use flour from buckwheat to make pancakes. Available in Russian stores in the USA.

*Not every brand will impress you with good buckwheat. So if you have a variety to choose from, ask a salesperson, they know which is the best at Russian stores. Buckwheat very popular item in Russian communities.


Halva – one of the most popular Russian sunflower seeds sweets, originally came from the Middle East.

Photo Pickled Herring

Herring Fish – the very popular fish, usually sold pickled or seldom smoked. We eat often picked herring as a cold appetizer with little vegetable oil, acid, and slices of onion or green onion. Very popular salad call “Herring undercoat” serve mostly on Holidays. The salad is herring layered with chopped (I like shredded) cooked vegetables and cooked eggs. Each layer covered with mayonnaise. Garnish with ingredients included in salad and green onion or parsley (dill). Pickled herring available at Russian stores in the USA.

Holodets (Studen) – Russian traditional Holiday beef or pork dish in aspic (jello). Most common in domestic cooking than at restaurants. Boiling meat with legs (legs makes a jelly effect in the dish) for many hours with onion and other root vegetables on low heat. Very time and labor consuming dish. Serves with horseradish sauces or with mustard.

Photo Russian Salad Indigirka with raw Fish

Indigirka – salad from Northen Russia. Includes raw fish, garnished with caviar.

〉 Russian Exotic Raw Fish Stroganina

Photo Russian Mushroom Appetizer Zullien

Jullien – Russian mushrooms appetizer serve hot as a starter for a meal. It served in small metal dishes call cocotniza. Jullien can be also made with seafood or poultry. Almost every restaurant in Russia usually offers this dish.

Photo Russian millet kasha in butter squash

Kasha (porridge) – boiled or baked grains. Kasha can be made with milk, with water or stock. Kasha (water or broth base) can include mushrooms, onions carrots, eggs and other interesting variations. We have a very rich variety of kasha. One of the Russian common dishes especially for kids. On the photo millet ( pshennaia ) kasha baked in butter squash with honey and dried apricots.

Kefir – very popular fermented milk beverage at Russia. Originated from the Caucasus Mountains. Very beneficial for heath drink. We use as drink and in cooking to make pancakes, pirozhki and in cold soup okroshka.

Kissel – Russian pudding traditionally thickened with potato starch. Can be made from fruits and berries and milk. Also can be a beverage. Very common drink for little kids.

Kompot – very popular Russian beverage can be made from fresh or dry berries and fruits. Also, kompot (Compote) can be called canned fruits in syrup at European stores.

〉 Strawberry beverage kompot recipe

Photo Russian Beverage Kvas

Kvas – Russian beverage with very long history, first was mention in writing in the 1056 year. The beverage is made by fermentation of dry bread commonly rye with fermentation starter, dry berries, juices, and herbs. Coloring with caramelized sugar. The color of homemade kvas is mustard tones from very light to dark. Kvas can be sweet and sour. Homemade kvas is very beneficial for health beverage. Very common use in Russian cold soup okroshka. You can find kvas at European stores in the USA. However, it will be very different than we make at home.

Russian Holiday Maslenitsa Blini 2017 Photo

Maslenitsa – Russian Winter Holiday celebrates for one week with traditional dish blini. Call also “Pancake week”.

〉 Read more about Maslenitsa

Milk Baked –  milk bake for hours in an oven. Very popular beverage in Russia. Has beige color and a very nice pleasant taste, good to add to coffee or tea. Use to make other dairy products (riazenka and varenez), cookies, candies and other baked goods and desserts. Available at stores in Russia.

Photo Russian meod

Meod – honey or alcohol drink contains honey. We use honey so wide in cooking. We add it to some porridges, pastry and to make beverages. Use as a sweetener for tea and main remedy when we have a cold!

Meod is alcohol beverage mention in writing 880 (over 1000 years ago!). However, stoped widely produce after 16 century because of the discovery vodka. The recipes restored but because to produce good meod drink takes minimum 10-15 years as a good wine drink is very expensive. The real meod from ancient time doesn’t contain water or alcohol.

Photo Konstantin Makovsky's Painting 1880

Konstantin Makovsky’s Painting Featuring Medovykha 1880

Medovukha –  alcohol drink made from fermented honey. Available at stores in Russia.

Photo Russian beverage Mors

Mors Beverage –  one of the oldest Russian non-fermented beverage. Mors is berries juice (boiled or fresh) mix with water (birch juice) and sweetened with honey or sugar (herbs). The name comes from Byzantine and means “water with honey”. First mentioned in writing in the book called “Domostroi” 15-16th century. Available at stores in Russia and European stores in the USA.


Okroshka Cold Soup – Russian summer soup. The soup includes raw vegetables reddish, cucumber, green onion, cold cooked potatoes, cooked eggs, and meat. Not sweet kvas – Russian beverage. Serve with a sauce made from sour cream, mustard, horseradish, celery and green garlic.

Oladi – Russian small pancakes 0.5 inches thick made from yeast dough and fry in oil. Oladi served with sour cream, honey, butter, sugar or sweet fruit sauce.

Photo Russian Potato Salad Olivier

Olivier salad – traditional Russian potato salad.

 〉 Recipe Salad Olivier

Siberian pelmeni Gala's kitchen 1 Photo

Pelmeni – Russian dumplings with grounded meat filling. Can be made with mushrooms, fish, and vegetables as well.

〉 Siberian Pelmeni and Russian Beliefs

Photo Russian ice cream Plombir

Plombir Ice cream – very rich ice cream made from real cream and eggs. Ice cream named after French city Plombieres because this city was famous for extravagant frozen desserts since the late 18 century and the original recipe came from this city. The Russian version of the ice cream was changed from the original French recipe. Plombir ice cream contains butterfat 15%-20% and sugar 15%. Delicious ice cream! Available at stores in Russia.

Pochlebka Soup – vegetable soup base on one main vegetable. Like example, potato pochlebka. However, very common you can see on the menu at Russian restaurants meat pochlebka or chicken pochlebka.

Russian Prianik Niznii Novgorod Photo

Pryanik – Russian gingerbread made from flour and honey, usually has inside berries jam. Has a unique taste! Most famous is city Tula pryanik. We have museums of the history of pryanik at Moscow, Tula and other cities. So many customs and traditions related to this very interesting Russian culinary creation.

Photo Psheno very common baked in pumpkin with dry fruits

Psheno – millet grain. Mostly used to make kasha in pumpkin or squash. If you blanch in boiling water before cook, it improves the taste of the product.


Rassolnik Soup – the soup includes pickles, juice from pickles and barley. It can be meat, fish, mushroom or vegetable rassolnik.

Riazenka – a dairy product made from melted milk by adding sour cream. Consistency like yogurt. Available at stores in Russia.

Russian Samovar City Tula Photo

Samovar – Russian metal beverage jug to heat water to drink tea. An electric version more popular these days. Originally it heated from inside by wood and on top placed small cattle to keep tea warm.

Shchi Soup – Russian soup with cabbage or sauerkraut (depends on season) with a wheat flour roux. Shchi can be meat, fish or mushrooms.

Photo Russian crepes with sour cream 1

Smetana – Russian sour cream. Very popular in Russian cuisine ingredient. We add to some soups, dishes, use in baking, making sauces and much more!

Solyanka Soup – Russian soup, mostly includes at restaurant menu than at home cooking because of many ingredients. Very rich of flavors and thick consistency soup. Ingredients are very rich stock, tomato paste, pickles or pickled mushrooms, and variety of different meat or fish. Garnished with sour cream (for meat), olives, fresh parsley(dill) and lemon without the peel. Solyanka can be meat, mushroom or fish. Very interesting soup to try, if you are going to travel to Russia.

Photo Russian Dish Stroganina is raw fish

Stroganina – Russian raw fish dish more known on North of the country.

〉 Russian Exotic Raw Fish Dish Stroganina

Photo Russian Sushka and Samovar

Sushki – Russian traditional small 2″-3″ in a diameter bread in shape of rings, crunchy and slightly sweet. Very good with tea. Suski very often garnished with poppy seeds. Very good for long storing. Before baking, they are boil in water. Available at Russian stores in the USA.

*Baranka the same just slightly softer than sushka.

Photo Russian dish syrniki

Syrniki (tvorozniki) – small pancakes made from tvorog (farmer cheese) and fry in oil. Serve with sour cream, sweet sauces and garnish with sugar powder. Very common breakfast dish.

Russian Soft Drink Beverage Tarkhun Photo

 Tarkhun – carbonated drink one of popular soft beverages at Russia, name from tarragon plant. A unique flavor. Something slightly close to lemon spearmint.

 Tongue beef or calve – delicacy and very often includes at restaurant menu at Russia. Serves mostly as cold appetizer- smoked, cooked and serve with sour cream and horseradish sauce, in aspic (see photo zalivnoie), includes as ingredient at salads or just part of meat platter. Tongue is tricky to cook, needs little experience because if overcook it, it will be taste like soap and not edible.

 Tvorog – in the USA call farmer cheese. We make so many dishes with tvorog – vatrushki, vareniki, pasha, sweet spreads, use in desserts and eat as is with honey and sweet sauces.

Russian Fish Soup Ucha Photo

Ucha – Russian fish soup. The meaning of dish ucha changed in 2 centuries, word ucha meant any broth and now only mean fish soup. ( Dictionary V. E. Dal )

〉 Recipe Salmon Ucha


Varenez – made from melted milk by adding cream. Nice to add to coffee or tea. Available at stores in Russia.

Varenya – fruit and berry cooked with sugar to preserve for winter. We use whole berries or large pieces of fruits. Good quality varenya has clear syrup and berries hold a good shape. Varenya can store up to 2 years without any changes in taste. Varenya we use as a sweetener for tea, in baked goods, to flavor water, in desserts and more.

Russian Vobla Dry Salted Fish Photo

Vobla – one of most popular Russian dry salted fish. We eat it with beer or without like a snack.

Pokhlebkin History of Vodka Book Photo

Vodka – Russian alcoholic beverage. Vodka was called wheat wine at Russia by end of XIX century. Discovery of the beverage related to historical changes in the country and dated between 1446 and 1478 years. If you would like to learn more, I recommend book translated from Russian “A History of Vodka” by William Pochlebkin.

Russian Glossary Salad Vinegret Photo

Vinaigrette or Vinegret – potato and beetroot Russian salad. Salad can be made with fish, seafood, seaweed and other ingredients.

〉 Vegetables Vinaigrette Recipe

〉 Meat Vinaigrette Recipe

Photo Russian Dish Zalivnoe from Beef Tongue

Zalivnoe – meat, fish or birds in aspics and decorated with vegetables, boiled eggs. Aspic of good zalivnoe must to be very clear. Most common at restaurants beef tongue or good fish (not every fish is good for the dish). It considered as delicacy and served mostly on banquets or for Holidays at domestic cooking.  The dish is creation of French chefs working in Russia at 19 century. On the photo zalivnoe with beef tongue.

Photo Russian sweets zefir

Zefir – Russian sweets similar to marshmallow. The recipe was well adapted from French cuisine.