Archives For russian cuisine

“Light, nourishing and delicious – krupenik’s extraordinary combination of qualities is not a contradiction.”

Krupenik is a traditional Russian baked pudding made of common products found in many homes over the course of history, and its name derives from the word for grain, «крупа» (“krupa”).

I’ve tried quite a few pudding recipes over the year that claims to be somewhat healthy, I once made a semolina pudding but it called for almost a kilo (!) of sugar so I quickly decided against it. This one, however, only uses three tablespoons of it so I was much more willing to give it a try. Krupenik is described as a pudding perfect for those who are dieting, so I’m just going to believe that and eat it without feeling bad about it. This one can be served both as a dessert, and as the main meal for breakfast, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold. I love eating mine hot with a bit of cinnamon on top.

Here’s what you need:

  • 250 grams of buckwheat. Rinsed well and roasted if you want it to be less “slimy” and more of a different texture.
  • 300 grams of farmers cheese. I’m lactose intolerant so I can’t have cheese, but I found a lactose free cream cheese I used as a replacement. It made the pudding more runny but it works if you’re in a pinch.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 100 grams of sour cream. Again, I found a lactose free alternative, I used the iMat Fraiche from Oatly.
  • 30 grams of butter. Milk free margarine for me.
  • 2 tablespoons of rusk flour. I just used crumbled up graham crackers.
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar. You honestly don’t need more than that, the cheese is what will give the pudding it’s flavor and it’s acidity.
  • Half a teaspoon of salt.

Here’s how to do it:

The first thing you gotta do is to fill a pot with a liter of water and then bring it to a boil. While that is happening you have to measure the 250 grams of buckwheat and make sure to rinse it thoroughly. It should say on the package that some people can be allergic to the color of the buckwheat that’s why it needs the rinse beforehand.

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Once the water is boiling, put the buckwheat in it and set a timer for 15 minutes. It should be more than enough to finish boiling it, and it will turn a little bit slimy once it’s finished. You won’t notice this texture after you bake the pudding.

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While the buckwheat is boiling, crack the two eggs into a bowl. Gently beat them to mix the yolk and the whites before adding in three tablespoons of sugar, whisking it all again to mix it properly.

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Add in the farmers cheese, cream cheese in my case. I had to use kitchen scales to measure up 300 grams, the boxes of cream cheese were 175 grams each, which was more than I needed.

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I would recommend using a hand mixer for mixing in the cheese, the mixture needs to be lump free and that is difficult to achieve with a regular whisk. A balloon whisk could maybe work but I don’t have that. Once everything is blended properly and the buckwheat has finished boiling, drain the water before adding it to the egg-sugar-cheese mixture. Stir it all together. With regular farmers cheese it wont be as liquid-y as mine is, the cream cheese doesn’t have much of a body to it.

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Line a small baking pan with rusk flour/graham cracker crumbs. You can basically use anything you want in this step to add some flavor to it, though dry, crumbly biscuits would work best. Adding salted biscuits could definitely work too to make the pudding less sweet, if that is what you prefer.

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Pour the mixture into the pan to cover the crumbs, make sure it is an even layer before covering the top with a thin layer of sour cream to add in more flavor. Put it in the oven and bake it in there at 190 degrees Celsius (about 374 F) for 40 minutes. I didn’t preheat my oven because it’s a hot air oven, and it doesn’t take long at all for it to reach 190 degrees Celsius.

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If you want the pudding to be a bit more baked, you can leave it in for an extra 10 ish minutes. Mine was in for five minutes longer than it should but it was still juicy and tasted just the way it should! I cut mine into squares, (well, it didn’t want to come out as squares but I tried!), and added some cinnamon on top. If you want, you can also add in raisins or berries or anything else to add sweetness or flavor!

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“Eat like a king with this traditional recipe”…

That is what it said on the website where I found this, link can be found here. Here’s a tiny bit of information about  pearl barley, if you’re not familiar with it:

Pearl barley, or perlovka, is considered a pearl among the cereals because of its exceptional nutritional properties. This typical Russian recipe is an easy way to sample this healthy grain.

As it mentions, pearl barley is healthy! It contains a lot of vitamin c, it is great for people who have diabetes because it has beta-glucan solluble fiber, and it is good for your digestion overall. The best part of this recipe as a whole too, is that it is completely vegan, only consisting of pearl barley, mushrooms and onion. It is traditionally made with oil, but I used vegan margarine (because I was all out of cooking oil and I didn’t want to drive to the store just to get that). Also, sorry for only using metric measurements, I have no idea how the imperial system works, we don’t use that here in Norway. When I see instructions to add one cup of something, I literally believe that you need to just grab a coffee mug and use it for measuring.. Oh well!

Here’s what you need:

This recipe should feed four people.

  • 400 ml of water or vegetable broth. ( I used a broth and it gave the final product a grey-ish look, it’s supposed to be lighter. If color matters to you then make sure to choose a clear broth or go with water).
  • 1 large onion. (I used two smaller because that’s what I had at hand).
  • 30 g oil, or just a chunk of margarine/butter (depending on if you want to keep it vegan or not).
  • 350 grams of mushrooms. (Preferrably champignons but you can use any kind of mushrooms). 
  • 200 grams of pearl barley
  • Black pepper, salt to taste, greens (Russians use dill for everything).

 

Here’s how to do it: 

First you have to find and gather all of your needed items and ingredients, preferably set it up super nice and neatly on your counter, mine was a total mess so I didn’t take a picture of that..

Start off by placing a large pot on the stove, letting it heat up and add either oil and butter to it. You could use a deep frying pan but I don’t have any that would work for adding so much liquid and stuff to it. You should also make sure to make the vegetable broth in a smaller pot while you do this so it is ready to go when you need it. Then you should be chopping up your onions into smaller pieces so that you can saute them for a while in the pan. By doing this, I discovered that smaller onions will make your eyes sting more than normal.

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Once your onions are in the pot, you should slice your mushrooms. I had 50 grams too much but I decided to add them in anyways as I didn’t want any of them going to waste. By adding in more, remember to add a tiny bit more water after pouring in the broth/water later on. You can choose to slice the mushrooms thinly, but I honestly prefer a bit thicker slices, I also just cut a few of the smaller mushrooms in half to add more variety to it.

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Once your onions are done, add the mushrooms to it and let it all reduce. It’s gonna go from a massive pile to a seemingly disappointing amount, but it’s definitely enough still.

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Meanwhile that will basically be cooking itself (remember to stir it now and then to expose more of the mushrooms to the moisture), you should measure and rinse the pearl barley. I purchased mine from a Danish online store, it’s really expensive in stores here.

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I have a smaller pasta strainer that I love using for rinsing grains, berries, fruits and whatnot, the holes are just small enough to not let anything fall through them and it makes the whole process so much easier. Make sure to rinse them well!

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Once your mushrooms look fairly done and the onion has become mostly clear, it’s time to add the pearl barley and the broth to the pot. Stir it all together to see if it is enough liquid, add more if needed then bring it to a boil. Put a lid on and let it simmer for quite some time. The recipe said about 20 minutes, but I found that the barley needed around 40 for it to triple in size and feel like it was ready to be eaten.

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After the grains and the mushroom has finished soaking up the liquids and it has the right consistency (a bit soft but still a tiny bit chewy), it’s time to plate it! The recipe said to add greens, but I prefer to have raw carrots with any rice or grains, it keeps me from thinking that it is too mushy. I did add some spinach too later on. I didn’t add any salt or pepper though, the onion added enough flavor to it for my taste.

Since the recipe is for four people, I had to take whatever was left and freeze it, I refuse to throw food out if I don’t have to, and I wouldn’t be able to finish all of that in a short amount of time, it was honestly way too much just for one person. If you’re making this just for yourself, or for two, just halving it all would definitely be the easiest solution.

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It’s quite easy to see that my mushroom to grains ratio is a bit off, it would look more like a porridge if I actually followed the measurement and didn’t add in the extra 50 grams of mushrooms. Oh well! If you do try out this recipe, please let me know how it went! You can easily modify it to however you want it to be by changing the veggies.

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