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Kharcho--moved from Outer Boroughs (Russian in Brooklyn)

h
Hazelhurst Apr 25, 2002 01:44 PM

I've hit khmeli-suneli about right on prior Kharchos I've made. But does anyone have experience with the tamarind paste (or concentrate) as a subsitute for the sour plum?. Any suggestions? Or does anyone prefer lemon? (Vinegar can get out of hand, I think)

I agree that garlic is a "must" (as it always is in damn near everything) and the kinza, of course. I liked the tomato in the Gambrinus version but I've had fine kharcho without tomato.

It certainly is one of the great soups of the world.

  1. t
    Tatyana Gourov Apr 25, 2002 01:54 PM

    You're absolutely right about using lemon as a souring agent. I don't know about tamarind, sorry.

    Would you post your kharcho recipe?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Tatyana Gourov
      h
      Hazelhurst Apr 25, 2002 02:10 PM

      I am working variations on Anya von Bremzen and John Welshman's "Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook" (Workman, 1990) This should probably be more accurately subtitled "The Soviet Republics Cookbook" It is not exhaustive--what COULD be?---but it really is a fine book. THe kharcho there calls for tamarind concentrate (and Hungarian paprika, walnuts (?) and tomatoes). "The Georgian Feast" by Darra Goldstein (U CAlifornia, 1993) also has a good recipe (no tomatoes and she uses apricot leather in place of the plums). Between these two one sees a great range of the stuff. I think I have seen Goldstein's recipe posted on the "Little Russia in San Antonio" site but I'd rather not get into copyright problems on this board.

      BTW, von Bremzen's recipe seems to call for more chunks of meat than I've had in versions in The Old Country. She also has a nice selianka (mysnaya) (she opts for "solianka"--whatever...) that includes marinated mushrooms, something I have never encountered. I used this as my standard until it was replaced by one I copied from a Bolshoi violinist who made it "especially" for me a few years ago. She put kidneys in hers and insists that, without kidney, it is NOT selianka. Well, it is her kitchen and I dare anyone to argue with her. No one could argue with the result!

      1. re: Hazelhurst
        t
        Tatyana Gourov Apr 25, 2002 02:30 PM

        Solianka=Selianka usually has kidney(s) in addition to other meats so your friend is absolutely right. Salted (not marinated!) mushrooms are used widely in solianka. Other ingredients are kind of a free for all (which is why it is so often called "sbornaya solianka" which means whatever you chose to put in there at the moment) which makes it a fun soup to make (even though I am yet to attempt it!)

        1. re: Tatyana Gourov
          h
          Hazelhurst Apr 25, 2002 04:08 PM

          I appreciate the distinction in mushrooms--I think von Bremzen's are salted but she called them "marinated" if memory serves. I have seen this usage often. The ones I get (rarely) from a good friend's Mom in Riga are so good that I would never use them in soup---it is just a shame to use them that way since they are so good on their own. [A now-vanished TV cook had a recipe that used all kinds of vinegar. This infamy was called "russian mushrooms" and I will not pollute this page with an approximate recipe.] It has been my misfortune never to encounter the good stuff in the USA although the ingredients are surely here. Someday I must go to Vermont and find a Russian colony (no doubt with banya!)

          I've had many a selianka without kidneys, though, and some have been first-rate. the things I associate with it, that I think are or should always be included are: beef /veal/chicken (of course) sausage (of course), pickles (always---hard to get good Russian style pickles here, too), cilantro(kinza), capers (sometimes) and olives. the soup is simplicity itself and you should give it a try. (One hint from my violinist friend: use clarified butter, fry a little tomato paste and throw in your pickles and cook them a bit. From there you go on to your onions and garlic.) And, of course, the juice from the pickles.

          Sometimes I think that you and I are the only ones upholding the delights of good slavic foods. It's nice working with you.

          Hh

          1. re: Hazelhurst
            t
            Tatyana Gourov Apr 26, 2002 11:48 AM

            I feel the same way :-)

            Re: pickles. Maybe you can make them yourself (using one of your Russian friends' recipes)? That would probably be the best thing since good pickles are hard to find even here in New York.

            1. re: Tatyana Gourov
              h
              Haze;hurst Apr 26, 2002 02:37 PM

              Re: pickles, I have had some success but teh problem is that I am in a warm climate and although I have plenty of pickling cucumbers I don't have old dill till later in the season and I am trying to coordinate the items. Also, oak leaves: I have live oaks and water oaks but I think the russian style is black oak..

              Thoughtful friends often lug back the Latvian cheese, mom's mushrooms and pickles and cherymsha. LIfe is heaven for a few weeks.....

              The new effort at Kharcho starts tonight (the boullion) Cross your fingers......will report on the tamarind concentrate.

              1. re: Haze;hurst
                t
                Tatyana Gourov Apr 27, 2002 05:11 PM

                I can't wait to hear how it turns out! Let us know.

                1. re: Tatyana Gourov
                  h
                  Hazelhurst Apr 27, 2002 08:03 PM

                  You'll be amongst the first of millions-well, a few thousands?--to know! So far, so good. I have halted production on Saturday night and will "finish" the chef d'oeuvre on Sunday.

                  Now, honesty..How Much Fun can one have in one life? Glad to have spectators.

                  Hh

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