Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ukrainian Borscht

My Mofo Post 7 is Borscht (or Borsch), a popular dish found in Eastern Europe. Borscht is a soup made with beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions, garlic and dill. Borscht is a diverse recipe and there are several varieties of the soup in the Ukrainian cuisine. Borscht can be made either hot or cold. The most popular among the two being hot borscht that contains starchy vegetables like potatoes and beets and is normally served with dark rye bread. Cold Borscht is prepared by boiling the beets and mixing sour cream and yogurt with the diced beets (dice after it cools completely) and the strained beet juice. Cucumber and scallions can be added to the cold soup.The soup is chilled for few hours or preferably, overnight and garnished with freshly chopped parsley or dill before serving.

Beetroot contains essential nutrients like potassium, iron etc., and vitamins like folic acid. It helps reduce blood pressure and its associated risks. It is low in calories and fat-free.It can lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar and is good for treating anaemia. Now, do you need more reasons to include beets in your daily diet??

Back to the soup, if given a choice, I prefer hot soups any day. They are perfect for any cold night.....warm, comforting and very satisfying meal. The deep red color of the soup is more fitting for either valentine's day or almost christmassy. But who says you can't enjoy it otherwise?? So, here's a hot Borscht recipe to try out.


2 medium beetroots, peeled and diced (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced (approx. 3/4 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced (approx. a little over 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup green cabbage, grated or finely shredded
3 cups vegetable broth or water
2 tsp tomato paste (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust to taste)
1 tbsp freshly chopped dill or parsley (optional)
1-2 tbsp vegan sour cream, for garnish (optional)


Cut the beets, potatoes and carrots into 1/2 -inch cubes or small bite-sized chunks.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until onion turns translucent for 4-5 mins.

Add the beets and sauté for 2-3 mins. Add potatoes and carrots and sauté for 4-5 mins.

Add the vegetable stock, tomato paste and salt. Mix well with the vegetables. Bring to a boil and add shredded cabbage and stir together. 

Cover with lid and simmer on medium-low heat for 30-35 mins until the vegetables are cooked.

You don't have to pureé the soup, I just chose to. Using an immersion blender, reserve about 1 cup of the soup and pureé the rest of the soup (optional). Mix the pureéd soup with the vegetables and boil for few mins. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. You can add some fresh dill or parsley (preferably, dill) and boil the soup for another 4-5 mins. 

Garnish with vegan sour cream (optional) and freshly chopped dill or parsley. Serve hot with dark rye bread (although I served mine with toasted bread and herb butter).

Makes 3-4 servings.

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