Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cold Summer Soup: Okroshka


Okroshka

Okroshka is a cold summer soup of Russian origin. During hot summer days this soup is the best way to keep  cool. Main ingredient for okroshka is kvass, a fermented drink, made off rye, buckwheat, and whole wheat  bread, barley malt, yeast, and a little sugar. When kvass is ready, it's time to make okroshka: chop all vegetables (and optional, meat) and serve.
I've never had okroshka before I met my husband, Mr. IV, who is an expert in okroshka. When we lived in Seattle, kvass was available for purchase at many European Deli and health food markets.  Here I had to learn a thousand years old skill (yes, that's how many years kvass has been around, quite a drink, ha?!) and make it myself. 


Work in progress

So, I make kvass, and Mr.IV and teenager cut all the ingredients: cooked potatoes, hard boiled eggs, radishes, green onions, dill, cucumbers. 
Diced vegetables can be refrigerated for up to two day (if it can stay that long!) Cold kvass is added in the individual bowls just before eating with a little sour cream, and seasoned with salt and pepper. 


Man at work... :)

You must wander what okroshka was made off six centuries before potatoes were domesticated in Europe? Most commonly available vegetable in "before potato" era was turnip.  


Great job dicing!

Kvass is not only an ingredient for okroshka but also is a drink, consumed during a hot summer days more than water.
To make kvass, I start with baking the bread (any store bought dark rye bread can be used).  
Then I slice it and toast until it has amber brown color. Next, to 8 liters of water (2 gallons) I add 6-7 slices of toasted bread, 2 cups of sugar, 20 grams dried yeast, and 1/4 cup barley malt. 
Mix it well, cover and let to ferment from 12 to 24 hours. 
Strain kvass into a glass bottles or pitchers and keep refrigerated. 
Enjoy as a drink, and make some okroshka, it will keep you cool!




See you,
Marina




37 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful! I'm saving this for summer because it's too cold to eat cold soup at the moment but come summer I'll be dying for it! :)

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    1. Thanks Lorraine! It is very simple soup, just dice whatever vegetables you have and pour some kvass over it. When you make it, let me know if you have any questions. I'll be glad to help. :)

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  2. Gorgeous pictures as always! And sounds so delicious - I make a vegan version of sour cherry soup with Hungarian crepes or eat hot soup during the summer, it sounds crazy but it works. ^^

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    1. If you omit the eggs and sour cream, you would have a vegan version of this soup too. I know, I eat hot soup during summer too, and drink hot tea! :)It does work, and I think, works even better than drinking cold tea. :)

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  3. A beautiful soup my friend :D
    It looks absolutely delicious and I love the concept of it refreshing but light in summer :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Thanks Choc Chip Uru! The good thing about this soup, that vegetables can be made into a salad too. So one day you can have soup, next day it's a salad! :)

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  4. That looks great. I made gazpacho for the first time a couple of years ago and since have been exploring the world of cold soups - this one sounds really interesting.

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    1. I've never made gazpacho myself, but the one I tried I didn't like. I need to try to make one. :)

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  5. That looks so beautiful, I've always been on the fence with cold soups but i think it's all the tomato that I don't like cold. This looks so fresh and full of nutrition... yum!

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    1. And if you don't like it in the soup, you can make a salad out of all those vegetables. :)

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  6. I have never heard of this, sounds so interesting. Thanks for stopping by & leaving a comment!

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  7. I am sat here, really hot and a little grumpy. This soup looks and sounds so good I could lick it off the screen...might not be as refreshing though.

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    1. lol, stay cool! and feel better... :)

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  8. Marina, I have very heard of this but it looks very interesting, thanks for sharing. I love cold soups here in Florida

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    1. I know, it is not very popular. But it's good, I loved it first time I tried it. And it's healthy too with all fresh ingredients. :)

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  9. Looks delicious. I don't think you can get hold of Kvass anywhere in London I know of, but rye bread is very easy to find. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Katy. Let me know if you make it. :)

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  10. Being of Russian/Ukrainian origin, I love okroshka! I don't make it myself, but my mom often makes it for me when I visit her. And she even uses veggies from her garden. What can be better than mom's okroshka?
    Yours look great. How wonderful that your teenager helps too!

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    1. Well, it's actually my husband's, all I do is make kvass (I had to learn this one though) and take photos. Thanks for stopping by Olga! :)

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  11. Poland is soooo close to Russia but I have never, ever tried or even heard about this soup. It must be delicious. From the stories I know that my granma was constantly preparing kvass as a summer refreshment when my mum was a young girl. Somehow, I don't know why they are not doing it any longer. Maybe I can restart the tradition ;-)

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    1. That would be great: to restart the tradition of your family, to keep them alive. Thanks for your wonderful comment! :)

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  12. Dear Marina, What an interesting post. I have never heard of this but I love new foods.
    I bet this is delicious.
    It is so nice to see the family making this together.
    Blessings dear. Catherine

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    1. Thanks Catherine! I love family get together for cooking and then enjoying the food. It makes the food very special. :)

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  13. That's really delicious and very interesting!!!

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  14. this sounds very refreshing and looks lovely!!

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  15. Did not know about okroshka and kvass until I read your post, learnt something new. Thanks.

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    1. I am glad you did, Norma. I've learned about it myself a two decades ago, when I married my husband, and he introduced me to that new summer meal. I fell in love with it from the first spoon... :)

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  16. This is fascinating! I did know of kvass, but did not know that is how it was made! The dill looks really good in the okroshka :)

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    1. I know, dill looks good on anything. If I could, I would decorate myself with the dill but people wouldn't understand it. Maybe just you... :)

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  17. I left a comment on this post but it is not there, wonder what happened?

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  18. OOps, I goofed, the comment is there, sorry, need new glasses.

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  19. You have great guys helping you...hubby, and son. So nice to see family on blog photos, at least I love to see various photos with family members!

    Marina, this is a fascinating, and healthy yummy soup. The dicing looks so perfect...great job, guys!

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    1. Thanks Elisabeth, I can't take credit for any of this, it's all their job, my husband's and son's. They need to do something in the kitchen, right? :)
      To make dicing this nice, they use some help: we have a Vegetable Chop & Measure, that we lovely call "crocodile". :)

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Your warm comments put a smile on my heart.