Russian cuisine is eclectic, incorporating northern and southern Europe, Siberia, and eastern Asia elements. A wide variety of hot and cold soups based on root vegetables and meat or fish are trendy. Classic Russian recipes were traditionally centered on dietary staples that lasted during long, frigid winters. The use of several dried herbs gave the meals created with these otherwise bland items a distinct flavor. Though Russian dishes use various herbs, some are more prominent than others. Dill, parsley, chervil, tarragon, and garlic will play a significant role in your investigation of Russian cuisine, and there are many fantastic recipes to try.
Dill is an annual herb that is also known as dill weed. It’s a celery family member. Dill is distinguished by its slender hollow stems, which can reach a height of 16 to 24 inches. It features delicate, nuanced, and velvety leaves. The leaves can reach a length of 4 to 8 inches. Dill leaves resemble fennel leaves but are broader and less threadlike. Dill plants have little white or yellow flowers. Dill seeds are 4 to 5 mm long and have a straight or slightly curved shape.
Herbs Commonly Used in Russian Cooking
Here Are the Best Commonly Used Herbs in Russian Cooking
Dill weed (sometimes known as dill) is a natural fit for a wealthy Russian diet. It’s also necessary for pickling; many Russian recipes call for dill pickles and herring.
Dill is a quick-growing herb ideal for the short growing season seen in parts of Russia. If the plant can go to seed, it becomes challenging to control. Dill also dries well for preservation during the winter, though the flavor is greatly lessened compared to fresh dill.
On the other hand, Dill is rarely used in cooking, and it’s usually sprinkled on top of the finished dish or added in the last few minutes of cooking. The herb’s robust flavor is substantially diminished by heat, so use as little heat as possible for the best results.
Dill is delicious in solyanka (a cabbage and sausage soup) and ukha (a traditional fish soup). It’s mixed with caraway seeds in a rustic Russian potato bread recipe for a taste boost. Dill can also be used as a garnish for the interesting herring beneath fur coat salad, where it has a more robust flavor than parsley.
Dill is soothing to the stomach, naturally pleasant, and a must-have for many herbal medicines and recipes. The Russians were savvy to employ this wonderful herb extensively.
Garlic is on the list of herbs ideal for Russian cuisine, and it has a flavor adaptable to a wide range of meals and preserves well for use in winter cooking. Furthermore, harvesting garlic scapes is an excellent way to get greens throughout the short growing season. These can be used in meals, and pickling scapes are common.
Many meals benefit from the rich flavor of garlic, and it goes well with a tarragon mustard vinaigrette and is used in Russian dishes such as lamb pilaf. Garlic is a classic mushroom partner in Russian dishes like a sour cream sauce.
Garlic signifies the bitterness of life during a traditional Russian Christmas Eve supper. Bread is dipped in honey (on the sweet side), then garlic powder. A typical dinner dish that includes a lot of garlic is a root vegetable or bean stew.
Parsley is a cool-weather herb that can be grown indoors and has a bright, somewhat lemony flavor, making it environmentally friendly. Because parsley’s long taproot makes transferring difficult, it should be planted in a container that may be moved indoors as winter approaches.
Parsley and dill are frequently combined in Russian cooking, and the two herbs can be used interchangeably. Because this herb is heat-sensitive, it’s best served as a garnish in cold dishes or near the conclusion of the cooking method.
Although the recipes for Russia’s famous borscht soup differ, parsley is frequently utilized. It’s used in kurniks (chicken pies) and a beet and potato salad. You can even use parsley instead of dill while making pickled mushrooms.
Chervil is a parsley family member known as French parsley. Chervil has a subtle licorice flavor similar to tarragon and parsley.
In egg dishes, chervil is frequently utilized, and it also works well in any recipe for cilantro, such as potatoes in cilantro sauce or roasted purple potatoes. Tarragon can also be substituted with chervil.
The flavor of French tarragon (also known as natural tarragon) is far superior to that of Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides). Tarragon is delicious when combined with vinegar and mustard in Russian dishes.
Tarragon has a faint anise flavor that can be overbearing if misapplied. Fresh tarragon is particularly potent; dried leaves are a better option.
Despite its popularity in French and Mediterranean cuisines, tarragon is thought to have originated in Siberia. Its popularity has gone beyond Russia, with recipes like mushroom strudel featuring other herbs like parsley and thyme. In the United States, French tarragon is used in various egg and cheese recipes. Make your next omelet or cheese souffle with it.
Is Russian Cuisine Healthy?
Modern Russian cuisine is delectable, and it’s also nutritious because it uses mainly organic ingredients. Thanks to the abundance of vegetable oil, sour cream, and mayonnaise in Russian meals, it’s also incredibly filling. According to Nielsen, more than 84 percent of Russians have adjusted their dietary habits. Fifty-three percent have cut back on fat, 65 percent have cut back on sugar, and another 67 percent have raised the amount of organic and healthful foods they consume regularly.
How to Store Dill Weed and Seeds?
Fresh dill weed can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets, and they soon wilt when the leaves are harvested, not affecting the flavor. To keep fresh dill fresh, spritz whole stems with water, wrap them loosely in paper towels, and store them in a sealed zip-top plastic bag. Dill should be kept in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin, and it should last at least a week, if not longer.
Trim the stems, lay them in a glass with cold water, lightly wrap the top with a damp paper towel, and store them in the refrigerator. Dill sprigs can be stored for up to two months, but expect the color to change slightly. It does not need to be thawed before use. Dried dill weed has more flavor than frozen dill weed. Dill seed can be found in the spice department and dried. Store dill seed in a cold, dry, dark area for maximum flavor and use it within six months.
How to Use Parsley in your Cooking?
Parsley may be used in everything from soups to sauces to veggies because of its light aroma and fresh flavor. Parsley is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern recipes such as tabbouleh, a salad made of bulgur, mint, parsley, and vegetables, and the powerful herb used in grape leaf stuffing. Parsley can be chopped and sprinkled on soups, hummus, ground meats like a lamb, or gussy-up baked corned beef and veggies. In most Middle Eastern dishes, parsley is the most commonly used herb.
What is Tarragon?
Tarragon is recognized for its fragrant flavor and glossy, thin leaves. The French variety is the most commonly used in cooking. Tarragon is used in many French cuisines, including Béarnaise sauce, and goes well with fish, chicken, and eggs due to its delicate flavor. It is known in France as “the king of herbs” for its capacity to enhance a dish, and it is one of the four herbs in the fines herbes combo, including parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives.
Tarragon is a perennial, which means it will come back a year after being planted. It belongs to the Artemesia genus, which includes licorice-flavored greens like the one used to make absinthe, a French aperitif. The leaves are long and narrow with pointy tips, while the stems are robust and woody.
What does it Taste Like?
Whether they like licorice, tarragon is one of those herbs that people love or detest. However, this herb has a rich flavor that includes more than anise. It has a bittersweet flavor with vanilla, mint, pepper, and eucalyptus, which distinguishes it from other licorice-flavored dishes like fennel. On the other hand, the French version is mild, blending these opposing qualities to create a beautiful and delicate plant.
Though Russian dishes use various herbs, some are more prominent than others. Dill, parsley, chervil, tarragon, and garlic will play a significant role in your investigation of Russian cuisine, and there are many fantastic recipes to try. Pork, cattle, lamb, poultry, fish, potatoes, and root vegetables are common elements in Russian cuisine. Sour cream is served with numerous foods, as is porridge and toast. Because most Russians dislike spicy food, most ethnic restaurants in Moscow use minimal spices or ask how hot your dishes are. I usually choose spicy because I enjoy spicy cuisine, but it will never be too spicy.