THE RUSSIAN FOOD NETWORK
Recipe: Russian Bite-size Fried Cakes (Oladi)
1 pint Kefir (or buttermilk if Kefir is not available)
4 tsp. Sugar
8 tsp. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda slaked in Vinegar
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and rough chopped.
1 tsp. cinnamon
Blend Kefir, egg, sugar and salt until just mixed.
Measure baking soda into a small bowl and add roughly ½ teaspoon of Vinegar. Add the Baking Soda/Vinegar mixture to the Kefir, egg, sugar and salt mix and blend until the batter has the consistency of sour cream. Add the apples and cinnamon and mix until just blended.
Heat a medium-sized frying pan until hot and add 5-6 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Spoon about 1/8 cup of the batter into the hot oil and cook each Oladi for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
A synopsis of your research on the recipe and the area where the recipe originated:
So far as I can understand, Oladi have been a staple of the Russian diet for centuries, though a complete history of the dish was not able to be found. The dish is popular not only in Russia, but in several former Soviet states such as the Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Your description of the experience of preparing and the tasting the recipe (any ingredients you needed to substitute, any changes you made to the recipe… does it remind you of something you tasted before? What would you serve to accompany it? Etc.
Making the Oladi was an interesting experience. I’ve never tried making Russian food before, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome! The Oladi were light and fluffy and tasted amazing when I made it for the first time. It was so popular, in fact, that I've made it about twice a month since the beginning of the semester. It is absolutely delicious!
They are similar to traditional American-style pancakes, but with an added sweetness from the apples and cinnamon. I added the cinnamon and apples after some trials with other fruit combinations such as mango, strawberries and blackberries. I would serve fresh berries and whipped butter with just a touch of honey blended in with the Oladi. I adapted this recipe from tasterussian.com’s website and recipe for Russian Pancakes.
Like a wine recommendation to accompany a dish, make a recommendation of a reading from Russian literature that would accompany the making or the tasting of the dish you prepared. Perhaps the reading would suit the mood of the dish, its spiciness or its sweetness… perhaps there was a mention of one of the ingredients or the dish itself in the reading… etc. You may select from the stories read or presented in class, or some other Russian work with which you are familiar.
Anna Akhmatova’s poem “I Taught Myself To Love Simply”
I taught myself to love simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life’s decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door,
I may not even hear.
This poem, to me, signifies the writer’s drift into a day-dream-like state while admiring the beauty of the world around her, effectively getting lost in her own small world.