Recipe by: Tatyana Kildesheva

Serves: 10+

Source: Family Recipe


We, Russians, have a very complicated relationship with borscht. Some believe that it’s actually a Ukrainian invention. Ukrainians will let tell you that it is a truly Ukrainian dish while Russians will claim the Russian roots for it. We will leave it to them.   My grandmother used to cook borscht all the time and while her cooking was generally good, her borscht was terrible.

There were too many tomatoes and too few beets. She was very defensive of her recipe and would not change a bit. When I was a child I was forced to eat it and I always thought that when I grow up I will make up my own recipe, the way I like it.   I prefer the vegetarian version of it but if you feel particularly carnivorous you can substitute water for the chicken broth (preferably homemade).   Traditional Russian borscht is made with beef on the bone and served with sour cream on the side


  • 1 Big Potato
  • 2-3 Big Beetroots
  • 3 Big Carrots
  • 2 Big Yellow Onions
  • 1-2 Big Tomatoes
  • ¼ White Cabbage or a bit less
  • 1 Bell Pepper, doesn’t matter which colour
  • ½ Cup cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2-3 Bay leaf
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Cilantro (green Coriander)
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • Salt
  • 2 Litres Water
  • Spicy Sauce (Optional, any kind you like. I prefer Mexican style tequila sauce to spice borscht up a bit)
  • 2 tsp. of spices mix (recipe below)

Spicy mix

Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds,Black Peppercorns and grind in a coffee grinder together in equal parts. (For coriander, in order to bring more flavor. It’s best to roast seeds in a frying pan a bit (don’t overdo). When you feel the aroma rising from the pan, it’s done.


  • Cut carrots and beets into strips, chop onions into cubes, stir fry in a frying pan with 2-3 big spoons of olive oil, add some salt, add chopped bell pepper and chopped tomatoes in the end when beets and carrots are almost cooked through, continue stir frying. Before adding tomatoes, peel the skin off by splashing them with boiling water to make skin removal easier.
  • While the beets, carrots, etc. are stir frying, bring water to a boil (about 2 liters, you can always just add more water later, if the borscht is too thick for you, but don’t make it too watery) in a large pot, add cut into strips potatoes, cooked chickpeas, boil for about 5 min, add chopped cabbage, 5 more min. When the soup is boiling, make sure it’s not boiling too much. It should be slightly boiling, otherwise all the veggies are going to be ruined.
  • When the stir fry is almost done, dump it into the pot with water. You should take a bit out of stir fry mix and taste it, carrots and beets have to be just a bit crunchy, almost cooked through. Boil all together for about 5 more min, once again, borscht should be only slightly boiling. Take out a few vegetable pieces and taste to make sure they are all cooked through, and boil a bit more, if they are not.
  • Add salt (just taste and add as much as you like), bay leaf, spices mix (coriander, cumin, black pepper), boil 2-3 min more, turn off the stove, should stop boiling, add whatever greens you have (cilantro, dill, parsley, a bit of each, or just one of those, it’s not that important), spicy sauce (optional), press 2-3 garlic cloves into borscht. Stop the boiling completely. Serve hot!
  • Chickpeas can be substituted for green beans, red beans or any legumes, or fresh green long beans.

Download PDF version here: russian-borscht-tatyana-kildisheva