Squash Caviar – Russian Vegetable Paste
The dish I am going to talk about today is truly to die for! I can literally eat it every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seriously! It’s called Ikra in Russian which actually means fish caviar but for some reason this word also means vegetable puree or pate. Ikra can be made of different vegetables (like eggplants, pumpkin, beets and mushrooms), but the most popular one is the squash caviar.
The classic recipe of Kabachkovaya Ikra (squash caviar) was created during Soviet times. The overall food shortage made Ikra the national dish number one, as it was cheap and always available in the mostly empty stores. Thankfully the times of food deficit are in the past, but the squash caviar is still one of the most favorite foods of Russian people. My mom says that the taste of the squash caviar gives her the strong feeling of nostalgia for the Soviet periods of her life. I was born right after the fall of the Soviet Union, so my undying love to the squash caviar has no connection to any memories. It’s just about the taste which is really delicious!
Authentic squash caviar is actually made of young marrows (courgettes or zucchinis) which are widely grown in Russia, but you can use yellow squash as well. The basic ingredients for the Kabachkovaya Ikra are marrows (zucchinis), carrots, onions, tomato paste and sunflower oil.
Today squash caviar can be easily found in every Russian food-store all the year round. It has a wonderful taste and usually contains only natural preservatives, so I don’t have a reason not to buy it. But sometimes I cook my family’s favorite homemade ikra by myself, especially during the squash season. I love eating Kabachkovaya Ikra for breakfast, spreading it over a slice of rye crispy bread! Here is my recipe:
P. S. This post was submitted to the Vitrual Vegan Linky Potluck from Unrefined Vegan! Join the party :)
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