Modern Belarusian cookery is based on old national traditions which have undergone a long historical evolution. But the main methods of traditional Belarusian cuisine are carefully kept by the people.
Common in Belarusian cuisine were dishes from potato which is called among people "the second bread". The Belarusians bring fame to their beloved potato in their verses, songs, dances. There are special potato cafes in the country where you can try various potato dishes. Potato is included into many salads, it is served together with mushrooms, meat; different pirazhki (patties) and baked puddings are made from it. The most popular among the Belarusians are traditional draniki, thick pancakes, prepared from shredded potatoes. A wide spread of potato dishes in Belarusian cuisine can be explained by natural climatic conditions of Belarus which are propitious for growing highly starched and tasty sorts of potatoes.
A lot of place in the diet of the Belarusians belongs to meat and meat products, especially to the pork and salted pork fat. One of the people's proverbs says: "There is no fish more tasty than tench, as well as there is no meat better than pork". The salted pork fat is used slightly smoked and seasoned with onions and garlic. Pyachysta is one of the traditional holiday dishes. This is boiled, stewed or roasted sucking pig, fowl or large chunks of pork or beef. Dishes prepared from meat are usually served together with potatoes or vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, black radish, peas, etc. It is characteristic that many vegetable and meat dishes are prepared in special stoneware pots.
Among dishes from fish the Belarusians prefer yushka, galki and also baked or boiled river-fish without special seasonings. In general, what concerns the most common seasonings such as onions, garlic, parsley, dill, caraway seeds, pepper, they are used very moderately in Belarusian cookery.
The choice Belarusian food are fresh, dried, salted and pickled mushrooms, and also berries such as bilberry, wild strawberries, red whortlberry, raspberries, cranberry and some others.
Of flour dishes the most popular is zacirka. Pieces of specially prepared dough are boiled in water and then poured over with milk or garnished with salted pork fat.
The Belarusians prefer to use whole milk which affected some methods of making yoghurt and the so called klinkovy cottage cheese. In Belarusian cuisine the milk is widely used for mixing in vegetable and flour dishes.
Myadukha, berezavik, kvas, beer are traditional Belarusian drinks.
Recipes introduced in this book do not expose all the dishes of national cuisine. The methods of cooking of the most popular dishes of old and modern cuisines of the Belarusians are presented here. All the recipes are intended for four helpings; the quantity of products is given in volume and in mass.
We hope that this book will be helpful to all those who are interested in national Belarusian cuisine