What's Okroshka Soup?
Everybody has heard of Gazpacho, but you might not of heard of Okroshka with Kefir. It's a summer soup, jam packed with vegetables, that's served cold. Trust me, it's perfect for a hot summer day. Like many Russian foods, it might be an aquired taste. I remember when we thought that Sushi was exotic, now it's a staple in my kid's diets.
Okroshka is derived from the Russian word literally meaning “chop” крошить, which is why it's chopped up in small pieces. I have no idea why Russians love chopping their food into tiny pieces, I mean, who has all that time? 😂
Is Okroshka Healthy?
Yes, it's a very healthy meal, that's perfect for an easy lunch. Jam packed full of garden fresh vegetables and herbs. A very Slavic meal, eaten on a hot day at the dacha. It's like a Russian salad made into a soup.
The base of this Okroshka recipe is Kefir. It's a fermented milk drink, made with Kefir grains, which is full of probiotics. Since this soup is served cold, all the health benefits remain alive in the soup. There is nothing fried in this soup recipe, with no added oils or butters. Kefir is incredibly healthy for you and can be found in some supermarkets here in Australia, and even more popular in the States.
How to Make Okroshka
The hardest part of making Okroshka is all the tiny chopping. It's similar in ingredients and chopping process as the famous Russian salad Olivye. All the soup ingredients need to be chopped the same size. I bought a Zyliss Onion Chopper, which works beautifully for all my fast chopping (cubing) needs. The potato is chopped by hand, as it sometimes turns into mush when I use the chopper.
If preparing the Okroshka ahead of time, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl or pot. Add the Kefir and refrigerate for a few hours until fully chilled. If serving right away, assemble the chopped vegetables and ham into 4 soup bowls. Divide the portions equally. Pour the kefir into each bowl, topping with fresh dill and hard boiled eggs.
What Meats Can You Use For Okroshka?
This Okroshka recipe uses diced ham from jam steaks. However Doktorskaya Kolbassa is often used, a Russian style of Bologna sausage. I personally make this with Smoked Chicken as my other favorite version of Okroshka. You could even use tongue, beef or sausages.
What if you can't find Kefir? It's not available everywhere yet, and you're not likely to make it at home from scratch. 🤣 Okroshka with Buttermilk is a great substitute for Kefir. Alternatively, mix ¾ cup natural Greek yogurt and ¼ cup milk as another substitute. You can also add some leftover whey from making Tvorog Farmers Cheese to your Buttermilk, Greek Yogurt, or Kefir for a more authentic taste.
Cold Slavic Soup Recipes
It's almost like a runny salad in a bowl, not a soup! Eating Okroshka Soup on a hot summer day is not only filling, but is a delicious way to cool down. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Okroshka (Окрошка с кефиром)
- 2 large potatoes peeled, cooked and finely cubed
- 4 hard boiled eggs sliced
- ¼ lb /250g ham steaks finely cubed (omit if vegetarian)
- 1 long english cucumber finely cubed
- 6 radishes finely cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 green onions sliced
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 litre unsweetened Kefir* chilled
- sour cream to dollop when serving
- Hardboil the eggs. Cook the potatoes until cooked, but not mushy and overcooked. Peel and cut into small cubes. Cool the eggs and chop finely, or slice in half lengthways for a nice visual effect when serving. Potatoes and eggs must be cold before serving.
- Cut the ham, cucumber, radishes into the smallest cubes you can. (I used an onion chopper)
- Place eggs, potatoes, ham, cucumber, radishes and salt in a large pot (or individual bowls). Add the chilled Kefir and stir together.
- Slice the green onions and dill and set aside for when you are garnishing.
- It's best if your refrigerate for a few hours to allow the soup to get really cold and the flavors to meld together. If you don't have time to chill, then you can serve with a few ice cubes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, fresh dill and green onions.