Untold riches of the Komi forests, rivers and lakes are reflected in the ethnic cuisine. How to resist the rich grayling or salmon yukva? Why don’t you try the aybarch northern delicacy ― tender young deer meat cut into thin slices? Komi cuisine appeals to everyone who loves delicious food!
Traditional Komi cuisine is diverse and at the same time economical and simple in terms of cooking methods. The set of products was determined by natural conditions and types of economic activity: in the northern, fishing and hunting areas on the Pechora, Udora, Vym, and Upper Vychegda meat dishes were everyday food, and in the southern regions, in Priluzie, cereal dishes prevailed.
Hot dishes ― soups, cereals, jelly, fish ― were prepared in the Russian stove in cast-iron, in clay pots (in the Komi “gyrnich”), in clay or cast-iron pans (“latka”).
Komi soup is called “shyd”. The most common food were sour soups ― “azya shyd” or “shydosa shyd” ― with dressing from peeled barley and rye flour. They mixed sourdough starter and rye flour with water, added peeled barley and put the cast iron in the stove. Locals ate soup with sour cream.
There were soups with potatoes, oats, and peas. Various potherbs, sorrel were added. “Tshaka shyd” (mushroom soup with potatoes and onions) and “kochana shyd” (made from fresh or pickled cabbage) were also popular dishes.
The yukva fish broth was a favorite dish. They cooked the whole fish. Broth was served on wooden large cups, then fish on a special wooden tray. They also ate “yaya shyd” ― meat soup from veal, venison or game: first the soup itself, then meat ― as a second course. Fish was a must on the table. Water or milk was used when preparing dish, and butter was added when serving. Locals ate fish with fingers in a special way “machitom” ― dunking: they scooped up broth and a piece of fish with bread.
Various kinds of salted fish were also good, fish pies ― “cherinyan”.
Popular pelmeni (dumplings) were the festive dish (literally "bread ear"). Meat, which was chopped in a special trough with onions and cabbage, was used for the filling. During holidays they cooked poultry meat in the stove: in the southern regions ― chickens, geese, ducks, in the northern hunting regions ― wood grouse, black grouse, partridge, and hazel grouse. Cereals (“rok”) made from barley or oat with milk, and during the fast ― with oil were old traditional dishes.
Bread was baked from a "live" dough, that is, without using yeast through sour dough method. The stove area (“pod) was previously swept out with a fir branch broom. The dough was rolled in a special bowl, and after taking shape, it was put on a shovel in the stove. Rye bread was called "cholpan".
Small barley or rye koloboks (small round loafs), “kovdum”, were baked in special forms ― “rach”. Wheat flour or barley cakes, lingonberries, blueberries, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, radishes, turnips, even horsetail pies were popular.
But the most favorite pastries were and still are the shangs, which have preserved a touch of ancient cult traditions: the round shape is associated with the veneration of the sun and its life-giving power.
They fill a rye thin circle with crushed potatoes, barley or oat, wheat or oat flour put in fermented milk for several hours with an egg added. Then they pinch the edges and put it in the stove. Ready shangs are covered with oil or sour cream.
Komi-Russian Gastronomy Dictionary
aybarch ― frozen venison cut into thin slices
duka cheri ― Pechora salted fish
sola tshak ― pickled mushrooms
sola cheri ― salted fish
azya shyd ― sour soup with cereal
tshaka shyd ― mushroom soup
yrosha kushman ― radish with kvass
yukva ― fish broth
yaya shyd ― meat soup
prazhitom cheri ― Komi fish
prazhitom yay ― meat slow cooked in the stove
puom kochan ― Komi cabbage
chomor ― ceremonial porridge
kartupelya sochen ― potato cake
kartupelya shanga ― potato shanka (potato pies)
pechenina ― kalach (small white loaf)
rachanyan ― koloboks based on liquid unleavened dough
cherninyan ― fish pie
zarava ― birch sap
pakula ― chaga tea
parencha va ― from dried carrots, turnips, rutabaga
puvva ― fruit drink
sur ― beer
chuzhva ― malt wort
yrosh ― kvass (beverage made from rye bread)
lyaz ― kissel (a viscous fruit dish) based on powdered dried bird cherry, blueberry
parencha ― steamed carrots, steamed turnips
Komi culinary traditions are still alive. You can taste dishes prepared according to old recipes in restaurants and cafes of national cuisine.