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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

Kholodets, Studen and Zalivnoe –
Russian meat and fish jelly dishes


1 Introduction

2 Main idea, ingredients and cooking technology

3 Translation of the name

4 Where to taste kholodets in Moscow

5 How to bring kholodets from Russia to home

6 Kholodets in Russian culture


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Kholodets (also known as “studen “) – it is one of the most unusual and interesting dishes of Russian cuisine. Russian kholodets is not unique in the world. There are similar dishes in Judish, Polish, German and other European cuisines. German sülze can be called as the most similar dish for kholodets.

There is a large group of such dishes in the Russian cuisine. Kholodets is usually made of pork or beef. In the picture on the right, you can see the classical beef type.

In case of main ingredients are non-meat these dishes are called “zalivnoe”. Zalivnoe is commonly made of fish. There are also many sorts of vegetable zalivnoe.

If the main ingredient is a chicken, then some people call such dish as kholodets and others as zalivnoe. There is no unified opinion about this in Russia.

Main idea, ingredients and cooking technology

Kholodets consists of dense bouillon and small pieces of meat inside. It is cooked of low value pieces of beef and pork - legs, ears and others. Those parts contain bones and tendons. That is why the bouillon becomes very dense.

The cooking technology is simple. These pieces are boiled in water from 4 to 10 hours. Remove the bones and tenders after boiling. The result is Russian kholodets, need just to cool it to temperature of 50 F (10 C) or lower. It receives a form of jelly after cooling.

Russians love kholodets, and many foreigners ask us: why you prefer such difficult and long way of cooking meat? There are a few reasons.

This tradition is widespread because it is a way to cook low value parts of pork or beef. For example, legs are very hard to cook, and we do not know any other dish to use them.

The second reason - kholodets is a way of conserving meat. The jelly preserves the meat from rotting. This dish can be stored for 3-4 weeks. In the old Russia a pepper and other natural preservers were very expensive.

And of course, the dish is delicious and healthy.

Zalivnoe is the second type of this dish appeared not long ago. In the end of the 18th century the gelatin was invented. In the 19th century, this technology appeared in Russia and our cooks understood they are able to create other dishes similar to kholodets but made of fish and vegetables. These dishes were called “zalivnoe”. The key difference is kholodets should be cooked without gelatin, but for zalivnoe it is the necessary ingredient.

Translation of the name

It origins from the word “kholodnij” means “cold”. The word “kholodets” translates as “the cold thing”. Another name of this dish “studen” origins from the word “studenij” and it also means “cold”.

These two words “kholodets” and “studen” have the identical meaning, but “studen” is an old word. The January month was named “Studeny” in the old Russian language that means cold. The famous poet Alexander Pushkin applied this word in his fairytales. In the modern Russian language this word is not used.

All Russia is divided to regions where people prefer to use the name “kholodets” and other regions where the word “studen” is more common.

And the word “zalivloe” origins from the word “zalit`” means “to flood”. The word “zalivnoe” may be translated as “the flooded thing”.

Where to taste kholodets in Moscow

It is almost impossible to find natural kholodets. Food factories and restaurants do not want to spend much time for cooking. If you even find a restaurant with kholodets in the menu, then there will be no warranty it will be natural. It is usually cooked with the help of gelatin.

Kholodets with gelatin is widespread; you may purchase it in a supermarket. Please find the photo on the left.

You may also taste this dish in few Russian national fast-foods, like “Teremok” or “Kroshka-Kartoshka”. Their marketing policy changes every day unfortunately, and kholodets can appear in their menu today and disappear tomorrow.

How to bring kholodets from Russia to home

If you want to take it from Russia as a delicious souvenir, then it will be easy. Remember this dish is a way of preserving meat. If you buy it in a supermarket, it will be stored up to one month. Just put it into travel bag.

Kholodets in the Russian culture

Kholodets was the necessary dish for holidays in Russia. Nowadays Russians cook it less, and it is even hard to find in a large city.

The brightest reference of this dish in the Russian culture is linked with the classical movie from the Soviet Union “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!” One of the main characters Ippolit (you may see a film from this movie on the right) eats fish zalivnoe and says: “Your fish zalivnoe is a filth”. In the Russian language this phrase seems much more expressive.

It is a catchphrase for Russians – “Nu I gadost eta vasha zalivnaya riba”.

This phrase may be used if you do not like something and you want to tell this fact in the form of a joke. According to the Russian tradition, if somebody offers you a food and you eat it, then will be prohibited to tell this food is bad. This tradition is very old and it was written in the old Russian text “Domostroy”. If you have a strong wish to tell you do not like the food, then this phrase will be the better way.

Kholodets is used in many “black” jokes in Russia. For example:

“Two villagers talk with each other.

The first asks: Why your pig is using crutches to walk?

The second answers: I will not score the pig if I need only one kholodets!”

There are many “black” jokes in Russia similar to this one.

The story of Pavlik Morozov is the next important reference of this dish in the culture of Russia. This story is very “dark” and historians debate about its circumstances until now.

In mass consciousness Pavlik seems to be a monster because he betrayed his father. If fact, his father was a monster, and Pavlik Motozov and his brother were killed in result.

The government of the Soviet Union declared Pavlik Morozov as a hero, but he left in folklore as the traitor to his family. We think we will tell this story in details in one of our next articles.

There is a humorous poem about him. This poem translates as:

“Pavlik Morozov was cooking a kholodets,

On the floor his father was rolling without legs.”

This “black” joke shows us the relation of the Russian people for Pavlik Morozov.

You could observe that kholodets was very popular in Russia for a long time. We advise you to taste it during your travel to Russia.

Wish you have a good time in Moscow and our articles will help you (see the list of hyperlinks below and at the left column of this page).

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