Another Look at Russian Cuisine from an Insider. Can it be healthy for a sportsman?

 I am often asked if I cook Russian food at home. I must admit, no I don’t. Since my early childhood a lot of Russian dishes seemed disgusting to me, especially, all kinds of salads with mayonnaise. I used to ask my mom to leave me all the salad ingredients separately and ate them as is.

I have been living in Europe for nine years now and ever since I moved I almost stopped to cook Russian food at all. Maybe the climate is not appropriate for such greasy food; maybe I found more interesting combinations, which I had never encountered living in Russia.

My mom came to visit me for the first time and started to cook some forgotten dishes from my childhood. They look so weird, but some are delicious. I got a present from my sister, a cup with fairy-tale heroes from one crazy Russian cartoon “The Hedgehog in the Fog” and I was happy as a child to eat food I had last time eaten many years ago in the dishes with very forgotten fairy-tale. Exciting!

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As I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle and blah blah I want to share one recipe that is very high in proteins, easy and tasty. We ate it a lot with my siblings when we were children. It is called lazy vareniky, because you do not need to make dough or to roll curd cheese inside. It is all in one and it is very healthy.

For those, who are not familiar with curd cheese or tvorog (russian) or tvaroh (czech) or quark I explain.

Quark is a member of the acid-set cheese group. It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of coagulation (curdling) of milk proteins is met, and then strained. In Russian families, it is especially recommended for growing babies. It can be simply enjoyed with sour cream, or jam, sugar, sugar condensed milk, as a breakfast food. It is often used as a stuffing in blinchiki offered at many fast-food restaurants

Russian tvorog option is more hard than European. But in Czech Republic we can have almost the same. There are a lot of tvaroh to choose either hard or soft, because it is very common in Czech cuisine as well.

So I took 250g of hard tvaroh and 250 g of the soft one and mixed them together with one egg and a pinch of salt. Normally, we have to put sugar in it (about 2 table spoons), but remember, healthy food and do not put sugar. Then I take flour, in my case it is gluten free flour, and mix it in until it looks like soft dough (maybe about one cup or so). It must be really soft, almost the same as tvaroh or quark was before an egg was added. I feel like gluten free flour makes it much softer than normal one.

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Then I make small balls or, another option is to cut it, as I did on the picture, then boil it in boiling water until they float (few minutes). Put small piece of butter on the top and a bit of icing sugar, if you want.

Another good recipe is a kompot. It is a traditional Russian drink – a kind of fruit and berry punch, but cooked in boiling water. Sometimes I add sugar, but more often I do not. Apples or pears make it sweet enough. I cook from frozen berries in winter and it tastes great. Can be drank cold or hot.

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