Get ready for the footie with these “ochen vkusno” Russian snack recipes

Are you having a Russian-themed party for the World Cup opening match or final? Or are you looking for a change to the usual game snacks of crisps, pies and pizza? Want to know what snacks Russians eat on the terraces and at home? Then here is my own take on some "ochen vkusno" (very tasty) Russian snacks and drinks that you can enjoy whilst watching the football this summer. And why not learn some Russian football words while you are at it too?

 
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Сухари-гренки: Black bread crouton sticks

This salty, savoury snack is designed to keep you thirsty (for drinking vodka and beer), so it makes a great alternative to crisps. You can buy it ready made in packets in Russia, but it’s super easy to make at home too. My ones here are baked not fried for ease.

Ingredients:

  • Dark rye bread (I used Biona rye)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Cut the dark rye bread into sticks.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Spread the rye bread sticks over the baking sheet.
  4. Lightly spray the sticks with olive/vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake in an oven (I used fan on 180 °C) until crispy.
  6. Be careful not to burn them – they are already dark and turn fast.
 
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Семечки: Sunflower seeds

This is the Russian version of popcorn. It's a typical snack on the football terraces. After a match, all you can see is the empty shells littered all under the seats. To be a true connoisseur you need to be able to crush the shell and extract the seeds all using your mouth (no hands) and then spit out the shell with a good measure of nonchalance.

Ingredients:

  • Whole sunflower seeds (in the shell)
  • Spray oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Scatter the sunflower seeds in a single layer over a parchment-lined baking tray.
  2. Spray with oil.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes until crispy.
 
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Гречневые блины: Buckwheat blinis with carrot lox and “caviar”

These delicious mini pancakes make great canapes and finger food.

Ingredients:

Carrot lox

  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 3-4 nori sheets (1 sheet per carrot)
  • Approx. 3 cups sea salt
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive/vegetable oil

Blinis

  • 75 g buckwheat flour
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125 ml lukewarm plant milk (I used Oatly Barista for this)
  • x1 sachet fast-acting yeast
  • 40 g melted vegan butter (I like Stork (block in paper) or Vitalite)
  • 50 ml sparkling water
  • spray oil for frying

Garnish

Method:

I used Straight Up Veg's method for the carrot lox and Zucker & Jagdwurst's recipe for the blinis.

 

Зефир: Zephyr marshmallow treats

These are light fluffy clouds of pure sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, these are the Russian sweet snacks for you.
I used Natasha's Kitchen recipe to make these substituting the egg white for aqua faba (chickpea water from one can) to make them vegan. As this is a bit technical her video is really helpful too.
Serve with black tea sweetened with varenye preserves.

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Салат Оливье: Olivier Salad

This Russian potato salad is characterised by all the ingredients being chopped into tiny cubes and covered in copious amounts of mayo.

Ingredients:

  • Vegenaise or other vegan mayo (I like Follow Your Heart available in many supermarkets)
  • 1 tin potatoes
  • 1 tin carrots
  • 4 gherkins
  • 1 tin peas
  • Quorn ham or other vegan meat substitute
  • fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cut the tinned potatoes and carrots into tiny tiny cubes.
  2. Drain tinned peas.
  3. Cut the ham and gherkins into tiny tiny cubes.
  4. Add the diced vegetables, ham, and gherkins into a bowl.
  5. Add in enough mayo to thickly smother everything.
  6. Season and mix well.
  7. Refrigerate until needed.
  8. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.
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Квас: Kvas fermented rye bread drink

Kvas is a fermented bread drink. It's very malty and pleasantly sour. This was Russia’s answer to cola back in the day. Or you could also compare it to a slightly fizzy, sweet ale. It's technically a homebrew, but the alcohol content is so low that it's classed as a soft drink in Russia. So it's perfect when you've had enough of the vodka or Baltika #9. Although beer was only classified as an alcoholic drink in Russia in 2013 following a law passed in 2011. So, drink responsibly folks.

In the summer, you can find small tankers or wagons on the street where you can syphon off some of this drink into a cup or your own containers. It’s a unique acquired taste for the uninitiated, and I think best drunk cold.

Ingredients:

10 litres of cold water
9 slices of rye bread
1 handful of raisins or sultanas
4 cups of sugar
1.5 tbsp of active dry yeast

Method:

I like the method given on Natasha’s Kitchen.

 

Пирожки: Sweet and savoury pirozhki

These small Russian pastries filled with finely chopped vegetables or fruit are a delight. They look like buns or a bit like Cornish pasties and can be baked or fried.

These are my go-to recipes for both sweet and savoury:

Cabbage filling: Check out Vegelicy’s recipe.

Potato and Mushroom fillings: Recipe Studio

Poppy seed filling (mak): Use the poppy seed filling from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan’s Poppy Seed Swirl Bread and the dough from Recipe Studio

Cherry: Use the cherry pie filling from Holy Cow!’s Vegan Cherry Pie and the dough from Recipe Studio

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Сушки: Sushki tea crackers

Crunchy ring-shaped crackers dusted with oregano or sprinkled with poppy seeds, commonly served on a string and eaten with a cup of tea.

I like the look of Cooking Melangery's recipe, substituting the egg for aqua faba.

If you liked these Russian recipes, why not also try to learn a few Russian football words with Language JEM’s series of Russian Football Vocab Sheets.