Russian Cuisine on Canvas

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Russian cuisine – traditional cuisine of the Russian people

  1. Idea of the project. Introduction to the history and the features of the Russian cuisine, the paintings in which it is depicted.
  2. Target.Introduction to the variety of meals representing the Russian cuisine worldwide. Skills to present the according information and prepare coulibiac- a traditional Russian meal.
21th century skills Learning  and technologicalskills Teaching methods and approaches




Information and communication ·         Educational:



– history of Russian cuisine;


– features;


–  traditional meals;


– variety of recipes;


– mastery of Russian artists depicting Russian cuisine on canvas.



·         Disciplinary:


– team work skills;


– responsibilityin the performance oftasks;


– organizing the work precisely;




Research/Study-useofdifferent websitesto findthe necessary informationon the topic






Abilitiesforselectingandprovidingtheaccurate information


Abilities to indite




Abilitiestoproperlycombinetheingredientsofthemeals prepared.

Cogitation skills – Aesthetic sense.


– Correct selection of the necessary/topical information.


– Satisfactionwiththeworkaccomplishment.

Lessons development Evaluation after gustation.
Personalandworkplaceskills -Task distributing.


-Keeping the labor and technological discipline.


– Preparingmealson certainrecipes- coulibiac.


– Combiningtheingredientsofthemeals.




– Observation






Fulfillmentgoals/ Performance targets:

To Learn:

  • Distinctive features of Russian cuisine.
  • The origin of coulibiaca and its name.
  • How to prepare a

To do:the assortment keeping thecorrect recipe.

Evaluation: The teacher assesses the preparation of the dish with evaluation card.

Key product groups: pancakes, puff pastry.

Main individual products: minced meat, mushrooms, rice, onions.

Evaluation and reporting of results:

Teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, verbal communication.

Otherevaluationmethods: Observation, self-evaluation, research, discussion.

Management of the learning process:

  1. Preperation.
  2. Introductory part.
  3. Main part.
  4. Conclusion.

Staged description of the project- based lesson:

The teacher had divided the students in 4 groups in advance. He/she hadgiven astagedobjective tasktoeachgroup:

  1. Russian cuisine – history and characteristics.
  2. The Russian cuisine in the paintings of Russian artists.
  3. Presentation of the recipes in Kiev cutlet and fish in Russian.
  4. Coulibiac – distinctive features, history and origin of the name. Preparation of coulibiac.


Theteacherprovidesguidanceonthecourseofthelessonandasks a question:

What is the history of Russian cuisine and what are its characteristics?

Students of group number 1 present their information.

Old Russian cuisine, which had originated in central Russia, is at the heart of Russian cuisine as we know it today.Russian chefs have developed a widevariety of dishes, without imposing a particular product.

The rich menu of the Russian cuisine is due to the vast territory and multicultural traditions. Its foundations lie in the harsh climate with plenty of fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries and honey.There are rich harvest of rye, wheat, barley and millet, which produce different varieties of bread, cereal, pancakes, kvass, beer and vodka.

Russian development in 16-18 century requires changes in the cuisine – new culinary techniquesappear and the food becomes more refined.Confectionary and the smoking of meats and fish is developed during this period. Other such as chocolate, ice cream, wine and liqueurs are imported from abroad.Those are quickly integrated into the Russian culinary traditions.To provide at its table rare and specific foods from Germany, Austria and France is a goal of every family since the time of Catherine the Great.Many of the dishes that are popular as Russian ones,are actually of French-Russian cuisine from 18-19 century – Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Kiev, Charlotte cake, etc.
The traditions of Russian cuisine are formed under the influence of various factors, the most important of whichisthe religious temperance for a certain period of time.In the past Russians often used words like ‘fast’ and ‘carnivores’ (a period when it is allowed to eat meat). It was forbidden to eat meat during the fasting(which is over 200 days per year). That prohibition was cancelled during the other (carnivorous) period. That alternation of periods naturally impacted the Russian cuisine.It abounds with dishes of vegetables, cereals and fish, all prepared with vegetable oil.On the other hand the festive meal is rich in meat dishes whose preparation requires skill and more time.
Appetizers in Russian cuisine

Appetizers are served before the main course.The most famous traditional Russian pickles are vegetables, mushrooms and fish. During the long Russian winters sauerkraut and turnip are the main sources of vitamins. The appetizers of salted herringare always welcome on the table. Fish entrees are an important part of Russian cuisine in general.They are made of salted, dried or smoked fish.There is a special place for jelly entrees made of meat and fish, the so called ‘khash’ dish. They are made of highly concentrated broths.The jellied entrees are usually served on a festive table.That is because it takes quite a long preparation process to get them ready.

Soups in Russian cuisine

Soups have always played an important role in the Russian meal. The traditional staple of soups such as borscht (борщ), shchi (щи), ukha(уха́), rassolnik (рассо́льник), solyanka (соля́нка), botvinya (ботви́нья), okroshka (окро́шка), and tyurya (тю́ря) was enlarged in the 18th to 20th centuries by both European and Central Asian staples like clear soups, pureed soups, stews, and many others.
Hardly any other cuisine in the world contains such a rich assortment of soups as the Russiandoes.There are many different types of borscht, rassolnik, solyanka, okroshka, botviniya, tsvekolnik, various soups with cereals and vegetables, fish soup.Initially the liquid dishes have been called not soups but ‘pohlobka’. The word “soup” enters the Russian language during the reign of Peter the First (the end of XVII – beginning of XVIII century).

There are two main groups of soups in Russian cuisine, hot and cold.Warm soups include different types of borscht, rassolnik, solyanka, fish soup, various vegetable soups, milk, cereals, etc.Cold soups in Russian cuisine are significantly less than hot ones, which is most likely because of the climate there: Okroshka, tsvekolnik etc.

Fish, meat and poultry dishes in Russian cuisine

In Russia they usually boil, bake, stew or steam the fish. The fish fried in batter is also a very common meal.Fish stuffing is often used to make a variety of pies and pirozhki. Traditional Russian meat meals feature wonderful taste qualities, low temperature heat treatment, the combination of meat products with grains, vegetables and mushrooms.Many of those meals are cooked in a rather complex technology and it takes a long time to get them ready.

Pelmeni are dumplings consisting of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough.The dough is made from flour and water, sometimes adding a small portion of eggs.

The filling can be minced meat (porklambbeef, or any other kind of meat), fish, or mushrooms. The mixing together of different kinds of meat is also popular. The traditional Udmurt recipe requires a mixture of 45% beef, 35% mutton, and 20% pork. Pelmeni in Perm (west of the Ural Mountains) are often filled with mushrooms, onions, and turnips instead of meat. Various spices, such as black pepper and onions, are mixed into the filling.

The word pelmeniliterally “ear bread” in the native Finno-Ugric Komi and Udmurt languages. It is unclear when pelmeni entered the cuisines of the indigenous Siberian people and when they first appeared in Russian cuisine. One theory suggests pelmeni, or stuffed boiled dumplings in general, originated in Siberia, possibly a simplified adaptation of the Chinese Wonton . Pelmeni are particularly good means of quickly preserving meat during long Siberian winter, especially eliminating the need to feed livestock during the long winter months.

The breads/pastry in Russian cuisine
Russians have always had a lot of bread. If there is no bread on the table the lunch is considered to be inadequate. Russian cuisine is famous with its pies and pancakes. Pirozhki are small stuffed buns (pies) made of either yeast dough or short pastry. They are filled with one of many different fillings and are either baked (the ancient Slavic method) or shallow-fried (known as “priazhenie”, this method was borrowed from the Tatars in the 16th century). One feature of pirozhki that sets them apart from, for example, English pies is that the fillings used are almost invariably fully cooked. The use of chopped hard-boiled eggs in fillings is another interesting feature.

Blini are thin pancakes made with yeasted batter which are often served in connection with a religious rite or festival. Blins had a somewhat ritual significance for early Slavic peoples in pre-Christian times since they were a symbol of the sun, due to their round form. They were traditionally prepared at the end of the winter to honor the rebirth of the new sun duringMaslenitsa (Масленица, Butter Week; also known as Pancake Week). This tradition was adopted by the Orthodox Church and is carried on to the present day, as the last week of dairy and egg products before Lent. Bliny are still often served at wakes, to commemorate the recently deceased. Blini can be made from wheat, buckwheat, or other grains, although wheat blini are most popular in Russia. They may be topped with butter, smetana(sour cream), fruit preserves or caviar.


Russian cuisine deserts

Traditional desserts in Russian cuisine are different types of cheese, syrniki (type cookies) and buns. Syrniki are fried curd fritters, garnished with sour cream, jam, honey or apple sauce.Vatrushka is a kind of cake with a ring of dough and tvorog (cottage cheese) in the middle, often with raisins or bits of fruit, from about five inches to two and a half feet in diameter.

Varenye, a dessert and condiment made from cooking berries. It is similar to jam except the fruit is not macerated and the consistency is more akin to fruit within syrup. It is used as a topping for crepes and syrniki and as a sweetener for tea. It is also eaten on its own as a sweet.


Along with the traditional desserts Russian cuisine often presents different types of jelly, mousse and pudding.

Russian cuisine Beverages

Many traditional drinks are indigenous to Russia and are not present in other national cuisines. The most notable of these are vodkasbiten‘, kvassmedovukha and mors. Many of them are no longer common and have been replaced by drinks originating in Europe. Nonetheless, these beverages were formerly drunk as a compliment to meat and poultry dishes, sweet porridge, and dessert. Of particular note is sbiten, an immensely popular medieval drink which has since been replaced by tea as the Russian mainstay beverage.
Of Russia’s alcoholic beverages, perhaps the most ancient is Medovukha, a sweet, low-alcohol drink, made with fermented-honey with the addition of various spicesVodka is most well-known of Russia’s alcoholic products and is produced, with some variation, throughout the country. Vodka can be either grain or potato based and is frequently flavored with a great variety of ingredients ranging from hot-pepper and horseradish to fruits and berries.Beer has been manufactured in Russia since at the very least the 9th century. Its popularity was for many centuries concentrated in the Lands of Novgorod.Wine is manufactured in the southern regions in the country, but lags far behind other alcoholic beverages in popularity

Kvass is an ancient and still widely popular bread-based drink. The basic method of preparing kvass includes water, flour and liquid malt; these ingredients are used to make a dough that is subjected to fermentation. This results in a beverage with very low alcohol content.  Tea is by far the most common drink in almost all parts of Russia. First introduced from China in the 17th century, its popularity has since spread throughout the country.

Teacher: Why Russian artists painted herring instead of caviar and onion instead of peaches?
Students from group number two present Russian cuisine in paintings.

The topic about food is as old as the hills. It is glorified/praised by many artists and writers.The depiction of food in paintings was introduced by the Dutch in the 17th century.Russian artists turn to this topic during the second half of the 18th century.But by the end of the 19th century still life (disambiguation)was considered a “lower” genre. However, the artists kept on creatingmasterpieces in this genre

Feasts of the boyars were distinguished by their sumptuous/magnificentservice and varied dishes that amazed not only Russiansbut foreigners as well.During the 19th century many artists created spectacular paintings, full of historical and ethnographic details.

It should be noted what feasts in the circles of writers and artists, so-called bohemians looked like. Their tables were full of drinks and dishes with a variety of meals.This Russian intelligentsia enjoyeda vivid life in the last years the Russian Empire.

But time passes and after a while the First World War puts an end to this festive life. In the following years of hunger the herring and brown bread became a gastronome symbol.

All this is depicted  in the art of talented paint masters.

In Russia still life is in its heyday during the 20th century . The magnificent paintings were filled with fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, bread and pottery that is specific for the national folk art.

Russian cuisine depicted on the famous Russian artists’ canvases/students present the paintings to the audience/:

  1. Ivan Fomich Khrutsky„Still life with candle”, 1830
  2. Andrey Popov „Demyan’s Fish Soup, 1865”
  3. Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky “The kissing custom”1895
  4. Lucian Popov „Your company”, 1904
  5. Alexei Morgunov „Butcher shop 1911
  6. Aristarkh Lentulov „Still life. Samovar”, 1913
  7. Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin„herring”, 1918
  8. Zinaida Serebriakova „Herring and lemon”, 1920-1922
  9. Anna Leposrka „Still life with a fish”, 1950
  10. Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin „Onion”, 1949 and „Turnip”, 1951
  11. Yuri Vasnetsov„Holiday table”, 1956-1961
  12. Vladimir Stozharov „Tea with kalatches ”, 1972


Students from group number three present two recipes of traditional Russian dishes.


Chicken Kiev Cutlet



  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt
  • paprika (black pepper)


Essential oil ingredients:


  • 100g butter
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill or parsley
  • a clove of garlic – optional
  • salt

For breading:

  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 50g flour
  • 1 tabls milk
  • a pinch of salt


Preparation method:


  1. Prepare the oil first. Allow to warm to soften.Wash, dry andchop the fennel. Mix all ingredients, stir nice and optionally put finely chopped garlic clove.Sprinkle with 2-3 pinches of salt.Shape into small salami with a length of about 16-18 sm.Wrap with foil and fold in the chamber of the refrigerator to firm.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.Make a slight pocket-like cut. Slightly ram the steaks.
  3. Cut the butter into two and place salami on the steak. Put it into the pocket-like cut and wrap well.  It is very important that the butter is well wrapped, not to leak when frying. Form a roll.
  4. Prepare the breadingseparatingthe flour, the breadcrumbs, the salted beaten eggswith milkin different saucers.
  5. Heat the greater amount of oil, so that when frying the chops to swim freely.
  1. Roll the chicken roll in the flour, the roll it in the bread crumps. Put it into the egg mixture. Then roll it again in bread crumps and egg mixture.
  1. Fry in hot oil for a golden crust.
  2. Cutlets are served hot with a garnish of fresh salad, mashed potatoes or steamed rice.

Roasted fish in Russian Style


  • 700- 800 grams of boneless fish fillets
  • 1/2 cup shredded yellow-cheese
  • 50 g butter (broke up into small chunks)/ 2tbls butter
  • 5-6 ea peeled potatoes (diced)
  • a glass of white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste (fresh garlic also)


Preparation method:

  1. Cut the fish fillets into portion sized pieces.
  2. Put it in an oiled pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange half-cooked potatoes around the fish.
  4. Pour the wine on.
  5. Sprinklethe grated yellow-cheese over the top.
  6. Sprinkle with butter.
  7. Запича се във фурна до образуването на розова коричка.
  8. Serve warm, poured on with melted butter and sprinkled with parsley.


Teacher: Does anyone know what coulibiac is?What this traditional Russian meal is characterized with?


Students from group number four briefly present the history, distinctive features and origin of the name coulibiac, while cooking it.


Coulibiac is a type of Russian pirog usually filled with salmon or sturgeonrice or buckwheat, hard-boiled eggsmushroomsonions, and dill. The pie is baked in a pastry shell, usually of brioche or puff pastry.

The dish was so popular in Russia in the early part of the 20th century that Auguste Escoffier, the famed French chef, brought it to France and included recipes for it in his masterwork, The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.

The French adaptation of the Russian original (kulebiaka) consists of a creamy melange on fresh salmon, rice, hard-cooked eggs, mushrooms, shallots and dill enclosed in a hot pastry envelope. The pastry is usually made with brioche dough. Coulibiacs can be large or small but are classically oval in shape. They can be served as a first or a main course.

A classic grand coulibiac features several fillings, often a mixture of some white fish and rice for the top and bottom layers with fillets of sturgeon or salmon between.The most unusual ingredient commonly included in the grand version of the dish is vesiga, the spinal marrow of the sturgeon.

Salmon coulibiac is a traditional Yule holiday dish in Russia becauseit looks like a present: red (salmon) and green (spinach), allgift-wrapped in puff pastry. This dish would also be ideal on a NewYear’s Eve or Twelfth Night buffet.



  • Dough with yeast – 1 kg
  • Chicken – 500 g.
  • Hard-boiled eggs – 5 pcs.
  • Small cabbage – 1.
  • Onion – 1 head
  • Rice – 100 g.
  • champignons mushrooms- 250 grams.
  • Pancakes – 3 pcs.

Preparation of stuffing / three pcs. /:


  1. Cut and mill the chicken meat. Chop the onion finely and fry with the minced meat.
  2.  Cut the cabbage into thin pieces, stew it gently in butter and then mix it with the chopped boiled eggs.
  3. Stew the onion, mushrooms and rice.

Preparation of Coulibiaca:

  1. Use the dough to roll out two ovals – upper and lower. Make the upper one thinner and bigger in order to get well baked.
  2. Place the stuffing on the lower oval. Form layers by putting the stuffing one over the other and separate them with pancakes. The first layer is of minced meat, the second – cabbage with eggs, the third one – rice with mushrooms and put mince meat on top of it.
  3. Use the bigger oval to cover the top of the filling and then shape the edges. The dough is also used for shaping a decoration.
  4. Smeare the Coulibiac with yolk. Make small cuts in order to let the steam out.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.


Once the dish is ready, it is cut into pieces and tasted by the entire class along with  the teacher who makes and evaluation card.


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