Stroganina is a Traditional Fish Dish from Northern Russia
Dish Stroganina dates back hundreds of years in our culture. At first, it appears to be a very simple dish – just very thin slices from deep frozen raw fish, with salt and pepper. Your reaction, probably, “Wild people!”. I understand this reaction. I try to eat salmon this way, but when my American husband saw it, he looked at me, like I was eating our cat!
However, this ability to eat raw fish and meat, helped people survive very harsh Russian winters hundreds of years ago. It is still eaten raw fish dishes in our culture today.
There are many factors to make this dish authentically. First, and most important, is the kind of fish. The fish needs to be oily, as they carry no diseases. Another factor is the season when the fish was caught effects the fish’s quality. The fish need to be deep frozen immediately after caught. The fish is cut with a very sharp knife, into curls, so the pieces will not stick together, and stay frozen at the table, the longest. When the fish melts, it is not good to eat raw. It is served preferably on a wooden tray or on ice to keep it frozen longer. Modern-day restaurant versions, usually serve with dipping sauces called “mocalo” or “zapravka”. Russian Northern cuisine includes frozen fish in other dishes too. Like example, salad “Indigirka” includes frozen fish diced with spices, caviar, onion, and sauce.
This dish is more common in Russia, like the Sakha Republic of Russia than where I am from in Siberia. In Northern Russia, they have festivals celebrating this dish. Masters of this art, make curls of fish beautifully like flowers and other composition, it is very interesting and entertaining. Masters have different techniques for whittling. What is the competition about? It is about who can cut as thin as possible pieces, how high stack is and which fish stay frozen longer.
It is good to preserve this historical dish in our culture, as appreciation and respect to our Mother Nature that gives us the ability to survive in a very harsh climate.
Please, share with us anything I didn’t mention about this dish or you know about similar dishes from other countries, I gladly appreciate it.
Sincerely, your Gala.
VIDEO OF FESTIVAL STROGANINA IN YACUTIA, RUSSIA
I would like to say, “Thank You!” to the owner of Russian newspaper “Iakutia.info”. He helped me with this article to provide more inside information about stroganina, so people in the world learn more about our culture. I appreciate it very much!