These are 10 Typical Foods of Belarus, Potato Lover Country

10 Typical Foods of Belarus, Potato Lover Country

Belarusian cuisine has a centuries-old history and is rich and interesting. The cuisine of this country has many similarities with some of its neighbors, such as Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Influenced by Lithuanian and Latvian cuisine, food from Belarus still retains its characteristics.

Ingredients used for food include grains, potatoes, meat, vegetables, and milk. All these ingredients are considered the hallmark of the cuisine.

Potatoes are a much-loved ingredient in this country and therefore Belarus is the country with the highest consumption of potatoes in the world. What are the foods from Belarus? Let’s take a peek at the food in the following list!

  1. Zur/Zurek

Zurek is a traditional soup from Poland that has a characteristic sour taste. This sour taste comes from sour yeast or fermented rye bread and flour. This soup also contains meats such as sausage, bacon, or ham, as well as vegetables such as potatoes and mushrooms.

Although this soup is very popular throughout Poland, each region has its version of the dish, including Belarus. Sometimes this soup is served in an edible bowl made of bread and then topped with a piece of the hard-boiled egg as a garnish. Generally, zurek is made and consumed at Easter.

The popular version of the zurek soup is called barzcz bialy. This soup is made using wheat flour instead of rye flour. The name zur comes from the German word sur, or Sauer, which means sour. This refers to the distinctive taste of this famous soup.

  1. Babka

Babka is another typical Belarusian potato-based dish. This food warms and makes the stomach full. Babka is a very popular food in this country.

This food is in the form of potato bread made from various ingredients. Generally, a mixture of lard and fried onions will be added to grated potatoes. Then other ingredients are added, such as bacon, which Belarusians love. Some also add minced meat.

Babka can be baked using a regular skillet or a clay pan. If it is baked using a clay pan, it will produce a more distinctive aroma and taste. This food is fun to taste.

How serve babka can be in the form of slices on a plate, it can also be eaten directly from the pan. Babka is great to enjoy with sour cream or milk. Be sure to try this dish if you visit Belarus.

  1. Karavai

Karavai has its roots in a pagan culture. The appearance of this bread is in the form of a large round loaf of bread and is generally made from wheat flour and then decorated with national ornaments.

This bread has important cultural significance and is believed to be more valuable than just a loaf of bread. Karavai is made for special occasions.

This bread is a sign of respect and honor offered by the host to guests who visit the house. Karavai has a delicious taste and soft texture that is obtained from the use of eggs and milk a lot. In this country, it is customary to give karavai to newlyweds.

  1. Poliŭka

In Belarus, poliŭka is a general term used to describe traditional soups. The word soup was borrowed by the country’s aristocrats from Germany around the 18th century. But long before that century, the local recipe for this soup was documented. The classic poliŭka was historically made using fish or mushrooms and eaten during Lent.

The ingredients are then boiled in the broth along with barley or millet, beet juice, kvass (a fermented rye drink), or buttermilk.

Now, this soup recipe generally uses various types of mushrooms boiled together with potatoes, carrots, onions, fennel, pumpkin, or tomato puree. Usually, before serving, this soup is garnished with fresh dill and sour cream.

  1. Zacirka

This Belarusian specialty is simple dumplings served warm. In ancient times zacirka was an important food made by Belarusian farmers. This dish appears in many Belarusian stories as well as poetry.

Zacirka is made from a mixture of ingredients in the form of flour, eggs, and water. Then the dough is rolled into small size Belarusian dumplings. These dumplings are then doused with milk which is diluted by adding water. Zacirka is a simple dish that is filling and very nutritious.

Nowadays zacirka is rarely made, but this dish can still be found if you visit a village in Belarus. The older generations still cook zacirka. This dish is a traditional Belarusian dish that has an important place in Belarusian history.

  1. Lakshini

This delicious Belarusian dish reflects the intelligence and hard work of Belarusians. In addition, this food also shows the love of the people for the unlimited potato. It takes a long time to make lakshini.

The first is to bake pancakes made from potato starch. Once cooked then cut into long pieces. Next, the pieces are dried until they look like chips.

Perhaps the ancestors of the Belarusians kept these dried pieces in linen bags and placed them near the stove to keep them dry and warm.

These pieces are left to dry for a few days. After letting it sit, pour milk over the pieces and add salt, sugar, and butter.

Once ready then the soup is cooked in the oven. The lakshini is cooked for about 30 minutes until the milk soup becomes soft and full of aroma. This is a Belarusian specialty that is loved all over the country.

  1. Lazanki

This pasta dish has the name lazanki which is used in Belarus and Poland. This pasta dough is made from wheat flour, rye or buckwheat, salt, water, and oil. Flat pasta dough is shaped into squares or triangles and then boiled. After that, the pasta is combined with lard and onions.

Lazanki pasta was brought to Belarus in the 16th century. During Lent, this paste is topped with crushed berries or poppy seeds.

To enhance the taste, this Belarusian specialty can also be combined with cabbage, meat, or sour cream. Lazanki is generally grilled in a pan and sprinkled with grated cheese until they turn golden brown.

  1. Smazhenka

Sometimes Belarusians refer to smazhenka as Belarusian pizza. This is because it looks like pizza, but usually, smazhenka is made from thick dough and topped with a few other ingredients, and then baked in the oven.

For meat lovers, you may prefer smazhenka made with chicken and mushrooms or made with ham and cheese. The modern version of this dish is the vegetarian version which is also famous and no less popular than the original dish.

  1. Machanka

Machanka in English means ‘dunk’ or dip. This Belarusian specialty is a thick, creamy stew. The ingredients are beaten eggs, milk, flour, sour cream, and cottage cheese in large quantities. Once cooked, this soup is topped with crispy fried pork and sour cream.

In Belarus, the recipe for this dish has many variations. Many home cooks and cooks have their recipes. Some like to add flaxseed flour or vegetable oil to the stew. While others, prefer to decorate it with pieces of meat, such as pork or sausage.

After this soup is cooked, usually Belarusians will dip a variety of foods into this stew, including slices of bread, pancakes, and boiled potatoes. Machanka is one of the must-try Belarusian dishes as it is rich in flavor and very filling.

  1. Kalduni

Kalduni is a typical Belarusian dish that is simple but savory. This is a dumpling dough that does not use yeast. This dish is similar to ravioli from Italy and appears in several cuisines in neighboring Belarus. The broth is made from a mixture of flour, eggs, water, and salt. After kneading, this dough becomes elastic and is ready to be filled with stuffing.

This Belarusian dish can be a main dish or a dessert. If made into the main dish, generally the broth is filled with minced meat, fish, mushrooms, or cheese. The most popular flavor is sweet broth. To make the broth, add delicious berries and other dried fruits.

Once served on a plate, the savory broth is drizzled with sour cream or melted butter, depending on the filling. If the broth is sweet, the topping is syrup and cinnamon.

In the Slavic region, ‘kalduni’ was translated as ‘witch’ or ‘magician’. Although its origins are unclear, the broth has a delicious taste that is not to be missed.

Well, that’s 10 typical Belarusian foods that are diverse and delicious. It turns out that there are dishes from this country that are not commonly made, such as zacirka. Belarusians also love potatoes so much that their diet is potato-based.

Because it is side by side with other countries, the typical food of Belarus is also almost the same as its neighboring countries, such as Russia or Poland. In your opinion, which dish is the most appetizing?