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Okroshka

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Okroshka is a cold soup based on kvass or less often sour milk. The main ingredients of both types are vegetables that can be mixed with cold boiled meat or fish in a 1:1 proportion. Thus vegetable, meat, and fish varieties of okroshka are made.

Left: Kvass okroshka.

There must be two sorts of vegetables in okroshka. The first must have a neutral taste, such as boiled potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, or fresh cucumbers. The second must be spicy, consisting of mainly green onion as well as other herbs—greens of dill, parsley, chervil, celery, or tarragon. Different meat and poultry can be used in the same soup. The most common ingredient is beef alone or with poultry. If it is made with fish, the best choice would be tench, European perch, pike-perch, cod, or other neutral-tasting fish.

The kvass most commonly used in cooking is white okroshka kvass, which is much more sour than drinking kvass. Spices used include mustard, black pepper and pickled cucumber (specifically, the liquid from the pickles), solely or in combination. For the final touch, boiled eggs and smetana (a heavy sour cream, similar to crème fraîche) are added.

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For sour milk based okroshka, well shaken up natural sour milk (often with the addition of seed oil) is used with the addition of pure water and ground garlic. Sometimes manufactured kefir is used instead of natural sour milk for time saving reasons, though some say it detracts from the original taste of okroshka.

Left: Sour milk okroshka.

 

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