Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Making Russian Blini

One of my favorite Russian foods is blini, or pancakes. Russians call them pancakes, but they are really just crepes. I didn't even know blini was a popular staple here! Now, I try to eat them as much as possible along with my other favorite: borscht.

Lyaysan and I wanted to get together and I suggested that we cook something because it's cheaper than eating out and it's fun cooking with other people. She asked me what I wanted too cook and I just said, "Something Russian." I'm a horrible decision maker. I really want to learn how to cook Russian foods because I like them and it's a lot harder to find ingredients for the things I can make in the USA. She suggested that we make blini. I agreed because I love blini and I've also been pretty intimidated to try to cook them myself.
When Katherine and I were in Irkutsk the woman who ran our hostel made us blini every day for breakfast. She made it look easy because she'd been making them for years, but I just kept thinking, "How do they not burn?" Honestly, it's just a think layer of batter on a flame. As I watched Lyaysan make the blini I realized that it's actually kind of hard to burn it, and even if you do they don't really taste burnt.

I would provide a recipe here, but I'm not going to pretend I know how to make blini. Watching her cook I realized that you, honestly, just have to try it out and adapt to your liking. She used about 8 eggs, 8 cups of milk, a pinch of salt, a few tablespoons of sugar, some flour to make it thick (but it was still watery), and she added some oil so she didn't need to oil the pan. She made the first one and then we tried it and adjusted to our liking. This recipe made a ton of blini. You cook it like a normal pancake but with less time on each side.
With our blini we used sweetened condensed milk and chocolate spread to make it taste sweet. What I like about blini is that you can basically eat it with anything. Sometimes I'll order it sweet with bananas and chocolate, other times I'll order it with sour cream and chicken. You can even eat it plain which is common too. When we were in Irkutsk we spread jam on them. So, as you can see there is no right way to eat blini.
Have you ever eaten blini? What's your favorite way to eat it?

12 comments

  1. Love blini! Basically crepes with a whole lot less flour. Mmm. Maybe I'm off to make some now.

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    1. They look easy enough to make, but I'm afraid to screw it up!

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  2. Yum! Give me those with jam and cream cheese, please!

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  3. YES! Blini are the BEST!! :D That's so cool that you and your friend did this together!

    We had some last weekend, since D's mom was visiting us. She taught me how to make blini a few years ago- http://8monthsinukraine.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-great-blini-peace-treaty-of-2013.html Can't go wrong with blini :)

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    1. Definitely going to go back when I want to make blini! I was wondering how your weekend with her went. I know you said you don't have the best relationship.

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    2. That's great! :) Eastern European mothers are definitely intimidating!

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  4. Here will help you only practice.
    There is in Russian such proverb:
    "Первый блин комом" or, if to say it detailed and understandable "первый блин всегда получается комом, то есть он будет мятый, неровный и неаккуратный".
    That is if you do any matter first time you probably will not be perfect in it. Most often it is a figurative expression, but in your case it will be literally :)))

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    1. This comment above should have been after your

      ---They look easy enough to make, but I'm afraid to screw it up!---

      It is some bug of program or of my sight :)

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  5. --- Russians call them pancakes---

    All dictionaries teach us to call it so :)
    If I ask a translation of the word “блин» then “pancake” always goes as a first variant.
    If there is “crepe” it is not even on a second position, but almost in the end of list :)
    There still is a word “slapjack” described as an American word. Can I call блин as a slapjack? :)))

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    1. I've never heard slapjack, but I've heard of flapjack... which is like a pancake and still not like blini :)

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