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Russian cuisine is a melting pot of various cultural influences. It is best known for its hearty and comforting dishes; from savoury soups to delicious dumplings, there are many traditional Russian foods to try. Some of the most popular and iconic dishes include Pelmeni, Borscht, Blini and Kotleti. Each dish has its own unique flavour and texture, and they are often served with sour cream.

Kulvir Singh Virk is a freelance architect and food aficionado who loves trying local dishes and cuisines that are typical of the country he is currently visiting. 

Pelmeni 

Pelmeni are small, traditional Russian dumplings that are typically filled with meat, such as ground beef, pork or lamb. The dough is made with flour, water and eggs, rolled thin and cut into circles. The filling is placed in the centre of each dough circle, and the edges are pinched together to seal the dumpling. The dumplings are then boiled and typically served with sour cream. Pelmeni is a very popular and traditional dish in Russia and is also enjoyed in other countries with a significant population of Russian immigrants. 

Borscht 

Borscht is a traditional soup from Russia made with beets as the main ingredient. Borscht is usually made with a variety of vegetables – such as cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes tomatoes – and can be made with either meat or vegetable broth as a base. The beets give the soup its characteristic deep red colour, and it is typically garnished with sour cream and served with pampushka, a special garlic bread. Borscht can be served either hot or cold and is a very popular and comforting dish in Russia. It’s also popular in other Eastern European countries, and variations of the dish can be found in Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. 

Blini 

Blini are thin, round pancakes that are a traditional food in Russia. They are often made from wheat or buckwheat flour and are served with various toppings such as sour cream, caviar and smoked salmon. They are typically eaten as part of a festive meal, such as during the Russian Orthodox holiday Maslenitsa (Butter Week) or Shrovetide, which is the period of feasting before the start of Lent. 

Kotleti 

Kotleti are Russian patties made from ground meat such as beef or pork. They are typically shaped into small, flattened patties and are pan-fried or baked. Kotleti is often served as a main dish with potatoes or vegetables and podlivka (Russian gravy). They are a popular and traditional dish in Russia, and variations of kotleti can be found in other Eastern European countries like Ukraine and Belarus.