Main pages

Russia Travel Guide

Private guides in Moscow

Main dishes

Pelmeni - Russian dumplings

Vareniki - non-meat dumplings

Kholodets - meat jelly

Syrniki - curd pancake

Blini - Russian flapjacks

Golubtsy - cabbage rolls

National food

Buckwheat as side dish

Black rye bread

Sour cabbage (or sauerkraut)

Natonal soups

Borscht - famous red soup

Shchi - cabbage soup

Okroshka - soup with kvass

Solyanka - salted soup


Zefir - light dessert

Varenie - main Russian dessert


Kvass - Russian drink #1

Kefir - sour milk drink

Mors - berry drink

Kissel - dense drink

Kompot - fruit or berry


McDonalds in Russia

Golubtsy – Russian cabbage rolls
with meat and rice


1 Introduction

2 Ingredients and cooking technology

3 Lazy golubtsy

4 Where and how to taste golubtsy in Moscow

5 How to bring golubtsy from Russia to the homeland

6 The origin of the name “golubtsy”


All the pages of our website are created by Russian journalists. We work hard to provide you with a most valuable and actual information. The English language is not native to us, and we misspell sometimes. If you catch sight of a mistake, then please will not throw tomatoes at us, and leave the comment with the description of the mistake. A comment may be left at the end of every page.

Some foreigners afraid of this dish because of its exterior. We want to ensure you the taste is much better. Do not afraid of golubtsy.

Some Russians believe golubtsy is an old Russian dish, but it is not true. If to explore the list of ingredients, it is clear this dish is modern. It contains rice, that was never grown in the historical part of Russia. The modern form of golubtsy appeared in the 19th century.

Golubtsy became extremely popular in the times of the Soviet Union. Before this time, it was rather expensive for most of the Russians because of high price of rice and tomato paste.

Before the 19th century, there was a popular traditional Russian dish with buckwheat, barley or millet instead of rice. Now this dish is forgotten. It was called “galushki” in the old times, but now this name is given to another dish.

Same dishes as golubtsy may be found in all Eastern European cuisines and even in Egypt with the name “mahshi”. Most historians believe the idea has come from Turkey from their national dishes "dolma" and "sarma".

Ingredients and cooking technology

Golubtsy represent a mix of rice and mincemeat wrapped inside cabbage leaves. Though the content is simple, the cooking process is very long and exhausting.

Rice should be boiled and mixed with mince meat and salt. Onion, other vegetables or spices may be added optionally. The cabbage-head should be boiled whole and separated into leaves. The central part of these leaves should be cut off, because it is too thick and hard to be used for golubtsy.

After, the mix should be wrapped in the leaves, but the process is not over. Golubtsy should be stewed with adding a sauce. The prevalent sauces are tomato paste, sour cream or mix of them. Stewing takes about one hour. The entire process takes from 2 to 4 hours.

Not only meat and rice may be used as a filling. To tell the truth, you can use everything you want, and the dish will have full rights to be called golubtsy. The only necessary ingredient is cabbage, that may be fresh or sour. In fact, everything wrapped in a cabbage leaf in Russia is called golubtsy.

We Russians think this dish is more delicious with sour cream (see photo). Some of us prefer mayonnaise. Thanks to long stewing, this golubtsy are very soft and enjoyable (see photo).

As you see, the process is long, and not many Russians are cooking them at home nowadays. You can buy canned or already prepared golubtsy in a supermarket.

For the people who do not want to spend a lot of time, there is a similar dish called “lenivye golubtsy” translated as “lazy golubtsy”.

Lazy golubtsy

This dish is more simple. It is a mix of mincemeat, rice and chopped cabbage. Russians form rissoles from this mix and fry them on a pan.

Where and how to taste golubtsy in Moscow

The first idea is to visit a supermarket and purchase canned golubtsy. There are many brands, but there is no difference. You should be ready the content inside has terrible exterior. Here is the photo of the content of one of the cans.

You will find our small gallery of photos of cans below.

The better idea is to visit a delicatessen department of a supermarket. You will find golubtsy with good taste and good looking. It is interesting, but you will never find this dish in frozen form. We do not know why; no comments.

Unfortunately, golubtsy are rare in Russian fast-foods, because their marketing strategy changing faster than day and night. Fortunately, golubtsy are usually in the menu in restaurants with Russian cuisine.

How to bring golubtsy from Russia to the homeland

We advise a canned kind. The storage time of this dish inside the metal jar is 1-4 years. If you purchase an already prepared kind, then it will become waste in 24 hours, and it is a bad idea for transporting.

The origin of the name “golubtsy”

We think this part of our article is very important because too many fake theories about the origin and translation of this word. Many sources consider the word translates as “little pigeons”. The theory tells the dish of fried pigeons came to Russia from France in the 18th century. Some time later, these fried pigeons were replaced by fake, but the name is still the same.

We declare with the rights of well-educated Russians. This is ridiculous and not true.

The word "golubtsy" originates from the Russian word “golubyj”. This word is old and now not used. Few derivatives are still in use in the modern Russian language:

Golubchik – a gentle appeal to a male.

Golubushka - a gentle appeal to a female.

Prigolubit – to make a gentle action to somebody.

The word “golubyj” translates as “tender” or “gentle”. The word “golubets” translates as “something or somebody that/who is tender or gentle”. More easy to translate it as “a gentle dish”. As you see, the endings “-ets” or “-tsy” mean “something or somebody that/who is …”.

We already wrote about other dish with a similar ending in the name - kholodets. “Kholodets” translates as “a cold dish”, same “golubets” translates as “a gentle dish”. This word “golubyj” sometimes confuse with the other Russian word “goluboy” (“blue”). The difference between them is only in one Russian letter.

If you ask, that difference between “golubets” and “golubtsy”? These are singular and plural. A single golubets is small – from 2 to 4 inches (from 5 to 10 centimeters), and nobody eats a single piece. The common portion is 3-4 pieces (see photo), and that is why the dish called golubtsy.

We hope our explanation will change the bad situation with fake theories about the origin of the name of golubtsy.

This word has a few other meanings in Russian language. The first is a dish we are talking about in this article.

The second is a construction above the grave. Such constructions made of wood were widespread in Russia more than hundred years ago. Please see the photo on the left.

The third meaning, if someone behaves in a way that seem very gentle, then this man will be called “golubets”. In this case the word has a negative color. It is equal to notions - liar or hypocrite.

In our times, the traditional constructions above the graves are forgotten. If the man wants to seem too gentle, then we will call him/her by other words. And only the dish golubtsy is kept in memory of Russian people. But how about the pigeons? Forget it! Just enjoy the Russian cuisine.

We wish you bright travel, and pages of our website will help (watch for links below and on the left from the main text).

See other interesting articles

Do you have any questions?

Did you find a mistake?

Do you want to say something?

Please, write a comment!

Your name

Your comment

Copyright © 2014-2015