Originally, the menu in Russia wasn’t characterized by its abundancy. It was simple and nutritious and basically included vegetables, cereals, fish and poultry. But porridge was a staple food. It was made from ground barley seeds, millet, wheat (including a special kind of wheat known as spelt), rye, oats, buckwheat and lentils. Rice appeared in the country later, around the 16th century.
Numerous porridge recipes have survived to the present day. They vary from the simplest to the most original, and there are even branded ones, like Guryev porridge.
Guryev porridge got its name from Duke Dmitry Guryev. His bondservant cook Ivan Kuzmin invented the recipe of a semolina porridge (wheat grains of a special grind) cooked with milk and nuts (a blend of ground walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds), dried fruits and cream mousse. Its more recent recipes may include jams and confitures. It is a very tasty and nutritious dish, which quickly became popular and remains so today.
Green Kasha is also interesting. It’s a traditional Russian dish. It is cooked in water from whole rye grain, which has a milky ripeness, with butter and salt. Ideally, the dish should be kept in the oven for three hours. Using grain of milky ripeness will give the dish its original green color.
Speaking of porridges, we can’t help mentioning buckwheat porridge. It is made from buckwheat, whole and ground. The porridge is cooked in milk, cream or water; fruits, mushrooms or meat can be added: there are plenty of recipes!
Porridges play an important role in rituals. A sweet porridge from red millet or rice with raisins – kutia or kolivo – were and are still used at funeral feasts. On the other hand, only references in chronicles are left of the Christening porridge. That porridge was cooked in milk with a lot of butter; there was a tradition to bake a rooster or a chicken in it – depending on the baby’s gender.