One way we can do to learn about the culture of a certain country is by tasting its food. Since food associates closely with the culture, we will find a different kind of food in a different country. For example, when you go to Thailand, you cannot miss tasting the famous Tom Yam. This hot and sour soup is cooked with shrimp. People from all over the world love this meal for its richness of flavor thanks to the generous amount of herbs and spices used in this soup.
Another country with a popular traditional food in Mexico. Who does not know guacamole? This famous dip is made of avocado. Since it gained its popularity around the globe, guacamole is not only enjoyed as a dip but also as condiment and salad ingredient. Realizing that there is a big market for this particular dish in Mexico, there are many companies producing guacamole. You can easily find prepared guacamoles in stores.
Just like Thailand and Mexico, Russia also has many traditional dishes. One of them is Kholodets. This is a very unique dish that you are not a part Russian before you taste Kholodets. Now, let’s learn about this delicious meal in Russia!
Kholodets, The Delicious Food of Russia
- What Is Kholodets
The name Kholodets originally comes from the Russian word kholod. This word means cold. The reason behind this name is the fact that Kholodets is a major meal people find during the winter holiday.
To put it most simply, Kholodets is a jellied meat dish. It takes a very long time – seven hours! – to get this meal done. You do not need to wait until the winter to get yourself some Kholodets. You can make it anytime you want just remember that you are going to spend a lot of time in making it, even more than seven hours since you have to do some preparations first.
From its description as a jellied meat dish, you can tell right away that the main ingredient is meat. To make sure that this dish tastes the best, Russians will go to the farmers’ market where they can buy fresh meat. This meat dish is cooked with some broth and chilled in the fridge until the broth turns into jelly. Its shape is the same as the container in which it is stored.
The best way to serve Kholodets is when it is cold. People will serve it as an appetizer with some dip such as horseradish sauce or hot Russian mustard. To make the taste even better, you need to enjoy it with some vodka as well.
- What Is The Story Behind Kholodets
When and how the Kholodets was invented in Russia is not clear. But, it is believed that at the beginning of the 19th century, aspic, meat stock-based savory jelly, already existed in Russia. Before Russians knew about aspic, Russians’ cuisines were widely recognized as the kind of meals that made of leftovers. The leftovers were then either mixed with porridge or cooked in some broth.
Only by that information, we can tell that Russians’ meals did not look interesting at all. It did not tempt the appetite that the meals ended up eaten by the servants only.
As time went by, Russians had more influence from the Frenchs’ cuisine and started to grow passion towards it. The Russians then engaged with French chefs who had experimented in making the Russian style of the aspic. They were the one who initiated to use clear broth in making it. Now that we know that this dish has been a part of Russians’ culture, we indeed must try it the next time we travel to Russia! Remember, you are not a part of Russian before you taste Kholodets 🙂
- What Are The Challenges In Cooking Kholodetes
Since this dish has been around for a very long time, it is not unusual to find some varieties of this recipe. Every household that make Kholodetes might make some adjustment to make it more suitable with their taste. For example, there are different kinds of meat or poultry that people use to cook this meal. You can even find some people that mix or combine different kinds of meats.
Russians have different opinions about the meat they use to make Kholodetes but when it comes to the broth, they all agree in one thing. They believe that the broth should not be added with gelatin or any other artificial additive. They will only use the parts of the animal body that has the jelly-like consistency, such as pork legs, pork, ears, and beef tails.
Another part that of the recipe that adds the traditional part of this recipe is the use of the tool. The conventional recipe prohibits the cookers to take off the meat using a mincing machine. There are only two options. Whether you use a knife to chop it off or use your hand to take it off manually.
- How Do You Make Kholodetes
Here are the ingredients and the instructions of making Kholodetes
- 900 grams of pig/cow/chicken feet
- 450 grams of boneless meat (you can use chicken thigh)
- 1 peeled onion
- 2 pieces of bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
- Put meats, onion, salt, and pepper into a pot. Add water until all of those ingredients are covered. Cook until it is boiled.
- Once boiled, turn down the heat. Let it simmer for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, put the bay leaves into the pot and let it simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Take out all of the solid ingredients.
- Take off the meat from the bone in another container. You can get rid of the bones.
- Chop the meats and put it on the bottom of a pyrex dish.
- Using a cheesecloth, strain the broth you get from the cooking into the pyrex dish.
- Store the dish into the fridge. Let it chill overnight.
- It is best to serve it cold. Before serving it, you can cut the Kholodets into squares. You can enjoy it even better when you serve it with some horseradish or mustard.
Based on history and some of the traditional methods in the cooking process, there is one conclusion we can get. Which is you are not a part of Russian before you taste Kholodets