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History Of The Russian Salad

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I went to Goa after a gap of six long years and was staying in Morjim. North Goa is now famously associated with Russian tourists and I was most excited to find this Russian owned bar called Bora Bora. Most places in Goa are generally touristy and none of them really offer any great sort of experience. My only agenda to go to a Russian owned space way beyond midnight was to check whether they served Russian Salad or not.

I’ve always wondered about its history and whether it was an Indian invention like the Chicken Manchurian. Being inside a Russian Bar rekindled fond memories of the salad. Made with cubed Potato. Boiled Eggs. Carrot. Beans and Green Peas. Mixed with Mayo. Then demoulded like a dome. Till the 1990s, every single party menu or a hotel buffet had to have this salad. The ande-wala mayonnaise (mayo made from egg yolk) did magic to this dish.

History Of The Russian Salad 

Continental food was once a big draw in India. It was very cool to serve the likes of Chicken a la Kiev. Chicken Cordon Bleu. Cream of Tomato Soup and of course Russian Salad. At Bora-Bora, when I asked for a Russian Salad. I got something that they called Olivier Salad. I’ve seen this in Persian restaurants and it piqued my interest.

After some digging, I got to the history of the dish. It was earlier known as Salad Olivier. Named after it’s creator Chef Lucien Olivier of the famous French-style restaurant in Moscow called Hermitage. The dish was created sometime in the early 1860’s. With gourmet ingredients like caviar, capers, steamed game, crayfish tails and veal tongue in a Provençal salad dressing. The restaurant outlived the chef, who died in 1883. But closed down in 1917. After the Russian Revolution.

A new chapter in the history of this dish started post the Russian Revolution. Potato and Peas replaced the fancy ingredients. Along with some veggies and fresh meat by sausage / boiled meat. All mixed up mayonnaise. The dish changed with times and became a Soviet version of the original dish. Given the cultural and economic status post the Revolution. It’s this Soviet version of the Salad that became famous and travelled to India and other parts of the world. 

Here’s a good recipe of Russian Salad https://honestcooking.com/russian-olivier-salad-recipe/

Viva la revolución!!

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4 Responses

  1. Was a lot of fun to read about the possible origins of the dish. Thank you for sharing not only the story but also a good recipe.

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