When summer comes around and it is just too hot for a warm stew, many Russians turn to cold soups for a filling meal. They are very popular as they can be prepared quickly, require minimal contact with a stove and are delicious. Okroshka with Kvass, a classic summer soup, is a mix of mostly raw vegetables (like cucumbers and radishes), boiled potatoes, eggs and cooked meat like beef, veal, sausages or ham. The soup is usually garnished with sour cream, and it is a very tasty dish.
It is also a great choice for those who need to get some protein into their diet, since it contains eggs and a healthy serving of meat. The recipe is extremely versatile, and you can add any number of ingredients to it. The best way to prepare it is to make sure that all the solids are chopped up finely and mixed thoroughly with the liquids. In addition to the kefir, you should have some cold water on hand, and you may want to add more salt and pepper to taste.
Another option is to add some kombucha, which will give the soup a nice sour flavor and provide extra probiotics. If you do not have any kombucha on hand, try substituting it with a cup of plain yogurt. You can also use a bit of lemon juice to give it an acidic taste, which will balance out the sweetness.
A more recent innovation is to replace the kvass with a mix of sparkling water and kefir. This version of the soup is very similar to the original, but it offers more variety in terms of flavor and nutrition. The kefir will also add some protein to the soup, which will keep you feeling full and help you ward off hunger.
There are a number of other cold Russian summer soups, but the most common is probably svekolnik, which is based on beets. You can also make a more traditional beet soup using red beets, or kholodnik, which is made from sorrel, a green that many Russians grow at their dachas and serve as a vegetable in the kitchen.
Another popular option is tarator, which is an Eastern European salad-like soup that contains ground walnuts and garlic. It is also often served as a dip with bread or as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. In fact, a whole cuisine has developed around these soups, and they are very popular in Russia and other former Soviet countries. Okruschka