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Cooking

Okroshka
A cold summer soup (a Russian version of the gazpacho) a low carb recipe by Kato Hetschinof

Pronounced 'a-kroshka' but the rules of Cyrillic to Roman transliteration dictate that it's spelled with a 'o' in English. Its a summer vegetable soup, and is very refreshing on hot sunny days, served right from the fridge.

This is a lovely summer soup, which provided you have all the ingredients on hand, is quick and easy to make. You can serve it immediately, but it will taste better after an hour or two at least in the fridge. Use the freshest ingredients you can get. It will make a big difference. I usually go to our local rynok (market) and buy vegetables and if Im planning to make okroshka, I make it as soon as I get back home.

The name Okroshka originates from the Russian word kroshit () which means to chop (into small pieces). The classic one is a mix of mostly raw vegetables (like cucumbers, spring onion, radishes), eggs, with kefir (a dairy beverage). During Soviet times, bread kvass was used instead of kefir. I personally dont like the extra fizz in my soup, so I use kefir (buttermilk) instead.

The ingredients are chopped into small cubes and are mixed with beverage right before eating. The ratio of chopped food to liquid is similar to that of cold cereal to milk. This allows the vegetables to preserve 'crunchiness.'

The amounts below are enough for one of those large soup pots.

Ingredients

1 liter of plain (not fruity) kefir (buttermilk)
0.5 liters of cold water (use the kefir container, to rinse it out)

A handful of red radishes (5-8 pcs)
3 medium thin sized Cucumbers, cubed small
1 celery stick, cubed small 5 green onions, sliced tiny
Fresh dill, chopped fine, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped fine, to taste
(Optional; cooked Beets. Sliced Straw or cubed small)

3 hard boiled eggs separated yolks from whites
1/2 tsp Russian or dijon mustard
4 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp sugar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Vegetables: Rinse all vegetables thoroughly.
    Cut root stem and leaves off radishes, and cucumbers. rinse. Cut them into small medium size cubes.
    Cut the celery and onion the same way.
    Rinse the dill and parsley. Chop the greens small (as to be recognized in the soup).
    (Optional beets; you can use canned beets or boil the beets, cut them into small cubes as well).
  2. Making the kefir mixture base:
    Mash the egg yolks and mix with mustard, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
    Stir this yolk mixture with kefir and add the sour cream. Mix well.
  3. Final Phase:
    Add all the vegetables to the kefir mixture and keep on stirring.
    Add the chopped greens and continue to stir.
    Cut egg whites finely and add to this mixture.
    Mix and stir well. Pour into a soup pot or tall canister.
    Cover the pot and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

If you cant find kefir in your dairy section, or if all they have is the fruity stuff, use some plain yogurt for this soup, probably anything but full-fat, or itll get too heavy. Back in the states, you can use buttermilk.

If you like the fizz, you can add a half glass of bread kvass or better yet, light beer, perhaps dry white wine too.

Feel free to improvise with the ingredients, such as a cup of diced ham or kolbasa, chopped cooked hot dogs, cubed or bologna cubes or mortadella cubes, if youre not vegetarian. You also can add apples or any other fresh greens like tarragon. Cooked potatoes or even sauerkraut is fine.

To serve, pour okroshka into a soup plate, you can put a quarter of a hard boiled egg, a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with fresh chopped greens. But the best part is when you add 1 or 2 cubes of ice. And for the ones who like to spice up their life, add a teaspoon of horseradish too. Serve chilled to 50-60F (1416).

By the way, did you know, that Okroshka is considered to be one of the best hangover cures?







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