Rightly or wrongly (wrongly!) my preconceived ideas of Russian cuisine were of heavy, stodgy dishes best suited to winter. So when I set out to search for a recipe to represent Russia for the World Cup Food Challenge I felt like I needed to find something light and summery due to the current impressive weather! I searched for Summer Russian recipes and one of the results that came up was 'syrniki'. I had never heard of syrniki (not surprising given my absolute ignorance!) but when I read about them they sounded right up my street. I'm yet to discover a type of pancake that I don't like and these are no exception.
'Syr' translates as cheese and these light and fluffy pancakes are made using tvorog which is curd cheese or quark. There are a few similar types of cheese which can be substituted for this including cottage cheese or even paneer. The main consideration is the moisture content of the cheese which will dictate the amount of flour needed to make the pancakes patty-style! However, I have also seen recipes where you can spoon the batter into the pan instead, so I think it's very much another case of each Mother doing it their way again as it was for the South Korean Bulgogi!
This recipe is adapted from this recipe from Nami-Nami blog; I needed to increase the flour due to the wetter cottage cheese. I urge you to give these a go! They're a great change from the norm and a delicious treat for breakfast or anytime you need some pancake goodness in your life!
Ingredients (Makes 8)
250g Cottage Cheese or Quark
60g Plain Flour
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tbsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix until a batter is formed.
2. Generously dredge your bench with flour and cover your hands in flour as well. Place a tablespoon of batter onto the bench and roll in the flour until it can be formed into a patty. Repeat until all the batter is used. Chilling for 30-60 minutes will make them easier to fry but you can just fry them straight away!
3. Fry patties in oil or butter (I think oil is more traditional but you can't beat butter!) in a moderately hot pan for 3-4 minutes per side until they are golden brown.
4. Serve with soured cream and fresh fruit.
Looking at Group H it seems entirely possible that this may be my last Russian recipe! If they do go out then I'm chuffed that I found such a great recipe in my one shot at it! Right, let's see if the Belgians eat anything other than fries and apple sauce; and let's find out the difference between Algerian and Moroccan! If you want to have a look at some other excellent recipes from the other bloggers involved just search for #wcfc2014 on Twitter. Cheers,