Kolobok, Kolobok, from the Grandma I Escaped…

Once upon the time, in a magical land of great forests, Onion Domes and warrior princes, there lived an old couple, Grandma and Grandpa. One day, Grandpa says to Grandma, “Bake me a pie.”

“With what? – sighs the old woman, – we have nothing.”

“Sweep the cupboards, scratch the bins, let’s see what you find!”

So Grandma did just that: she swept the cupboards and scratched the bins, and found a handful of flour. She asked her chicken Ryaba nicely, and Ryaba gave up a couple of eggs. Seeing how generous Ryaba was, the cow Buryonka donated some milk, to make prostokvasha (clabbered milk). Grandma made beautiful dough – oh, Grandma was such a pie expert! She always made the best dough, but unfortunately, there was nothing to be scavenged for a filling, to make a kulebyaka pie.

“No big deal, – said Grandpa, “this dough looks so good, I can’t wait for my pie to be baked already! Just make a kolobok instead of kulebyaka, and be done with it, woman!”

Smiling, kindly Grandma formed one big dough ball and baked a kolobok.

As she placed it on the window seal to cool off, Kolobok decided to take a hike. This was a magical land, after all! So he just rolled along down the path in the forest, until he met a rabbit.

“Kolobok, Kolobok, -said the rabbit, – I’m gonna eat you!”

Kolobok, Kolobok,

From the Grandma I escaped,

From the Grandpa I escaped, 

And from you, little rabbit, 

I will also escape!

…sang Kolobok and quickly rolled away. The rabbit gave up chase, but a wolf blocked his path:

“Kolobok, Kolobok, – yelled the wolf, – I’m gonna eat you!”

Kolobok, Kolobok,

From the Grandma I escaped,

From the Grandpa I escaped, 

From the rabbit I escaped, 

And from you, grey wolf, 

I will also escape!

…sang Kolobok and kept rolling. The wolf, who was really more interested in rabbits than pies, gave up chase, but a huge bear lumbered out:

“Kolobok, Kolobok, – growled the bear, – I’m gonna eat you!”

Kolobok, Kolobok,

From the Grandma I escaped,

From the Grandpa I escaped, 

From the rabbit I escaped, 

From the wolf I escaped,

And from you, big bear, 

I will also escape!

…sang Kolobok and didn’t even hurry too much because the bear was really slow, but a wily fox appeared on the path, all dressed up and pretty.

“Kolobok, Kolobok, – whispered the fox in her most seductive voice, – I’m gonna eat you!”

Kolobok, Kolobok,

From the Grandma I escaped,

From the Grandpa I escaped, 

From the rabbit I escaped, 

From the wolf I escaped,

From the bear I escaped,

And from you, wily fox, 

I will also escape!

…started his ditty Kolobok, but the wily fox glided closer and murmured, “I am a little hard of hearing, dear Kolobok, would you come and sit on my nose, and sing your darling song again?”

“Sure thing, lady, – obliged Kolobok, and hopped onto the fox’ nose.

“Yum, – said the fox, – now where do I find a cup of coffee after such a scrumptious meal?”

It is scrumptious, even as a simple kolobok, a baked dough ball, but stuffed with traditional fillings and transformed into a many-tiered kulebyaka, it becomes so spectacular that Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy (“The Long-Armed”), supposedly ordered it served at a “strong feast” – a grand banquet attended by many other princes, his friends cum enemies.

According to the historians’ descriptions, Prince Yuti was a big guy, quite overweight, and not very attractive in appearance, not at all like the monument commissioned by Stalin but installed after Stalin’s death. Stalin propagated the legend of a fierce, yet kindly, brilliant warrior, a true knight and a founder of Moscow. None of it is true. Yuri acquired the nickname Long-Armed because he grabbed as many princedoms as he could lay his arms on, by hook or by crook, but very rarely by valor in battle.  Moscow didn’t even exist in his time, 11th – 12th centuries, but there stood a village whose owner, nobleman Kuchka, was killed by Yuri’s order because Yuri happened to fancy his wife. As a consolidation, the prince married off late Kuchka’s daughter to his son and heir, thus ensuring the legitimacy of the future site of the future nation’s capital that was built there somewhat later. Altogether, Prince Yuri’s history is wrought with “supposeds” as nothing is clear, not even his date of birth.

What is more or less accurate is that at the banquet attended by his “friendly enemies,” a  huge oval pie stuffed with several layers, or tiers, of different fillings was supposedly served. Kulebyaka has become a quintessential Russian dish, a symbol of Moscow, and even a metaphor for the ubiquitous “mysterious Russian soul,” multi-layered in its complexity.

kulb 1.jpg

Classic kulebyaka is filled with meat, fish, mushrooms, and cabbage, or a combination of all four. Sometimes hard-boiled eggs or kasha (cooked buckwheat) are added, to create more layers. You will hear of a two-corner or a four corner kulebyaka, but it doesn’t mean that different fillings are placed into different corners. It that were the case, some of your guests would get a slice with mushrooms, and the others – with fish. Oh no, trust those devious Russian princes to come up with paper-thin triangular pancakes separating the layers.

kyl_4

This way, each slice has some of every filling, but in different proportion. This time, I am using only three fillings: vegan beefless ground meat, mushrooms, and cabbage.

kulb 2.jpg

This is a “lazy kulebyaka,” so I am not bothering with thin pancakes to separate the layers. I have shredded my cabbage, sliced my mushrooms, and chopped some fresh parsley.

kulb 4.jpg

As you see, I am sauteing all three together instead of cooking them separately, as the classic recipe demands. I am hoping that the long arms of Prince Yuri will not reach me in my own kitchen, to inflict a terrible punishment for mangling “the symbol of Moscow.” Anyway, he didn’t build it, so what right does he have?!

kulb 3.jpg

While the veggies are cooking, it’s time to make the dough. I am using spelt flour (please consult your physician if you are allergic to gluten or have a celiac disease). I don’t have chicken Ryaba, nor any other chicken, but I have recently gotten hooked on using aquafaba (liquid you get when you cook chickpeas) as an egg substitute.

kulb 5.jpg

You can use a hand mixer to whip aquafaba to a foam, like you would do egg whites. It doesn’t have to peak, but once it’s airy and fluffy, you can add the rest of the ingredients. I also don’t have cow Buryonka, but I always have a supply of my homemade non-dairy prostokvasha (clabbered milk; for instructions please click here).  Classic kulebyaka is made of yeast dough, but Grandma in the fairy tale used only prostokvasha for her delicious dough to rise, and so do I. A pinch of baking powder helps, though, and just a sprinkle of xylitol (you can use sugar, if you want, or any sugar substitute you like). Some olive oil, salt and pepper to season, and a pinch of coriander powder (that’s my personal addition, just for fun!) – and you get a liquefied batter, rather than dough, more like pancake batter.

kulb 6.jpg

Preheat your oven to 350 F, mist a baking pan with oil, and pour half of the batter into the pan. By this time, your filling should be ready. Russian chefs explain that the difference between kulebyaka and other pies is that in pies, dough prevails, and filling usually is a quarter to a third of the pie’s volume; however, in a kulebyaka, it is the opposite – fillings take center stage. I’ve heard of a legendary fourteen-layer kulebyaka, but since we are making a lazy one, without layers, just plop your filling on top of the dough (or batter, if you will), and pour the rest of the dough on top of the filling.

kulb 7.jpg

About 50 – 60 minutes later, it’ll come out of the oven looking golden brown and smelling like heaven. Of course, if you want to go all out, make those dainty little pancakes, and layer four or more different fillings, be my guest, but you’ll have to make the traditional yeast dough, proof it, punch it down, kneed it, and ultimately spend half a day on it. Have fun!

kulb-8

We were quite happy with a crusty golden kulebyaka, filled with juicy savory goodness. Most importantly, even though I made it round, rather than in a traditional oval shape, it didn’t roll away, to be consumed by seductive wily foxes. We enjoyed it all, to the last tasty crumb!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 pint sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup ground beef substitute
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
  • 1/2 cup prostokvasha (clabbered milk)
  • 1 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon xylitol or sweetener of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

  • Saute cabbage with mushrooms, ground beef substitute, and parsley until softened and well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly mist baking pan with oil.
  • Whip aquafaba until foamy, add prostokvasha, baking powder, and olive oil, and whisk together. Add the rest of ingredients, including salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly to consistency of pancake batter.
  • Pour half of batter into oiled pan, place filling on top of batter, pour the rest of batter to cover filling.
  • Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until golden and crusty. Small cracks will appear when ready.
  • Serve hot.

Enjoy!

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93 Comments Add yours

  1. It was here in Turkey in the morning 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I hope you didn’t let it roll away!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same to you, and a great weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am ending my “day” with your post – because I simply could not resist jumping from the Reader to see what you had posted next. I absolutely adore your intros – always interesting information about a country that is a mystery to most Americans — and your yummy-looking/sounding recipe’s are unlike any with which I am familiar. (wonderful photos as well).

    If your blog doesn’t sweep its category, I may have to award a recognition badge of my own!

    The video was charming.The “pie” (who can spell anything more complicated at almost 4AM? not I) looks absolutely delicious. (btw- Tink picked up the kitty immediately!).

    Your “lazy” version was more ambitious than I had energy to manage today – you’d be appalled at what I did for dinner, I’m sure. Did you cook like this when you were teaching full-time?

    Off to bed. Maybe I’ll dream of eating your magic, layered “pie.”
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so much for this glowing comment – if I could blush, I would! I didn’t just teach full time; I ran the school for SED children, which means I was on call 24/6 (Shabbos was out, obviously). I will never forget a phone call from a mom at 3 am inquiring about her son’s reading progress. Why at 3 am? Oh, the baby woke her up, so decided to give me a call. Or a girl with a bipolar disorder who grabbed a kitchen knife and ran after her mom who, in turn, sprinted all the way to the police dept, and, in her wisdom, gave them my phone #. That happened not very late, just after midnight. Have I got stories to tell…
      In addition to that, I taught college two nights a week and a class in a private girls’ college one morning a week. So yes, I cooked like this because I don’t know any other way to cook, but we did go out to eat at least once a week.
      Try to get some rest! Tink, take care of mom, would you?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Just read about your your teaching experiences and a phone call at 3am!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Oh, I have stories to tell, but I don’t want to scare people into shying away from those who suffer from mental and/or emotional disorders. They constitute at least 25% of population, if not more, and they need understanding and help, rather than rejection.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. I perfectly understand as I used to work with deprived children and alas also have got stories to tell… 😦

        Liked by 2 people

      4. One of these days we’ll have to swap stories, but not in a public forum.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. susieshy45 says:

    Great recipe, Dolly. As usual very interestingly written and also the pictures make the recipe seem delicious, which I am sure it must have been.
    Susie

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you dear Susie!

      Like

  4. Very interesting, I love these kinds of foods with different flavors under the crust.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! By the way, one of the traditional Russian “fishy” fillings was “visiga” which is some kind of a rope / ribbon – like thing pulled out of salmon’s spine. I have never seen one. Do you know what that is?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never heard of it, but it could be the swim bladder, sometimes known as a “sound” or “maw.” It is usually located close to the spine and it made up of collagen/gelatin.

        They are used to make isinglass and Russia was known for making high-quality isinglass from sterlet and other sturgeon. But sounds of certain fish also are cooked on their own, in my area it was traditionally cod sounds.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I know swim bladder, and I use it to cook with gefilte fish. My grandmother claimed that it made the fish sweeter. According to the Russian culinary dictionary, “visiga” is spinal cord extracted from the cartilage of the spine of red fish. They say that when cooked, it is gelatinous, just like sound. Thank you for responding!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. very cool, thanks for sharing!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. So do you or do you not use it in any way?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. This is something new to me. I guess you are using it inadvertently when when using fish bones to make a stock. But I guess I’m going to have to give backbones a second look this summer when my father is bringing in the big striped bass.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. I don’t know about bass because Russian culinary books mention only sturgeon types. They say it is specific only to sturgeon, i.e. salmon, sterlet, etc.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Sturgeon makes sense since they are mostly cartilage anyway.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Yummi this sounds fantastic. And what a great post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Myra, and that was a simple quick one! The real one is really fantastic, but it takes a few hours and a lot of work…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. miamicuisine says:

    Hi! Just wanted to stop by to tell you that I nominated you for an award! Please check out the link to participate: https://miamicuisine.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, and congratulations to you on the award!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a cute story! and this looks delicious. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks sooo yummy! And that you for another fascinating history lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And that was a quick one; to make a real one would take a few hours, and I didn’t have the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. jgousseva says:

    Wonderful!!! Thank you!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had hoped you wouldn’t be offended by my remarks about Yuri Dolgorukiy. Thank you for your comment – I am glad you liked the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jgousseva says:

        Not offended at all 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Like

  10. Thank you for your nice recipes, especially for this. We will try to re-produce. 😉 Have a nice weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU for reblogging and for your kind comments!

      Like

      1. You have really nice posting. Its a pleasure to share. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I love how you combined numerous components to make an amazing post in creating kulebyaka! Thank you for this wonderful post. Look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What a beautiful pie!! ❤❤ I had read the pie story in my book of Ukrainian folk tales and it was so good to hear it after all these days!! ☺☺

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mithai! I am glad you enjoyed my post.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This looks very delicious, Dolly 🙂
    What is inside this meatless meat? I haven’t seen this before.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Irene! The one I use is made of green peas. I don’t know what is available where you are, but I am sure there are some kinds of meat substitutes, so just choose what you like.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I will check this out, Dolly. Thank you for your kind help.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure, dear Irene!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Amazing – love it
    Welcome to the new The Blog-aholic Award? I am happy to inform you that I have nominated you for this new award, and hope you will be able to participate and pay it forward to as many bloggers as possible. ❤
    Link to the post: https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/the-blog-aholic-award-2/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Esme, for nominating me for this unique award. I feel truly honored! I’ll try to make time to participate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Dolly dear, as this is a first time and new award in the blogosphere I would appreciate it very much if you will be able to participate. My way of thanking all my followers and trying to connect to new and unfound bloggers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ll need a few days, though. I hope you don’t mind!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not at all my friend, It’s yours and I will just be so happy if you will be able to fit this into your extremely busy schedule. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  15. kelleysdiy says:

    LOVE, love love your story and your recipes!!!!❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Your stories are always so fascinating! Not only do I learn about great dishes but about history and heritage!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your compliment.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. What a fun story! Thanks for sharing….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Christina, I am glad you liked it!

      Like

  18. Balvinder says:

    Lovely recipe, Dolly! I am also making something with cabbage but totally vegetarian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear! My recipe is also totally vegetarian; in fact, it is vegan.

      Like

  19. I loved the tale 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Joëlle says:

    Hi Dolly! Thank you for this inspiring recipe… and the stories 🙂. The first one is very similar to the fairy tale “The gingerbread man”; do you know or? Here is a link for you:
    http://www.english-time.eu/for-teachers/fairy-tale/276-the-gingerbread-man/
    As for long-armed Prince Yuri, I don’t think he was much different from some of the French kings we had. Who can resist the power of Power 😄?
    Your recipe for the borscht is now a classic here. I made it again last weekend.
    Have a good end of day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the link, dear Joelle! The difference is that the gingerbread man lived happily ever after, but Kolobok got eaten by the fox. Russian fairy tales are dark; they reflect dark reality, I am afraid. I agree about princes and kings – they are the same everywhere. It’s just that Prince Yuri was so much glorified by Stalin, that we are just now finding out the truth.
      I am so glad you like my borscht! You just made my day! Be well, dear!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Joëlle says:

        I didn’t take the time to read the whole page on the link, so I didn’t know the gingerbread man lived happily ever after. In the old book of fairy tales I have at home, things don’t turn out so well for the gingerbread man: he gets eaten by the fox 😫. It looks like my poor children got the nasty version of the story!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There is a “new and improved” version of Kolobok as well, where all the animals happily dance around him and then proceed to a vegan meal. I think dark tales are necessary to teach children true values and resilience necessary in real life. Real life foxes are not vegan, but sly and vicious! I believe children need to learn how to protect themselves.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Joëlle says:

        So true. You can’t protect children from everything. Life is not a fairy tale! Thank you for this exchange of ideas, Dolly.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thank YOU, Joelle!:)

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Dolly, I am just catching up to your blog. What a wonderful wealth of information and recipes! This looks wonderful and I love the connection to history that is woven in between the story of the recipe. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And thank you for taking the time to catch up – that’s a compliment in itself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know about you, but, the longer I blog, the more time it takes to keep up with everyone. I haven’t figured out a good system. What I try to do is catch up 1 blog at a time. It is sort of part of the fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, we are in the same boat! I am constantly running out of time to keep up with everybody.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is kind of a problem. I decided that it is a metaphor for life: surrender and just do what you can. The most important thing is to make the effort and have no expectations for a particular outcome.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. This is what they teach boys in yeshivos: it’s the process, not the final goal, because the final goal doesn’t exist; you keep learning.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes. It is about a commitment to a process.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. True, and it clashes with American secular education terribly, unless a smart rebbe explains the difference. Unfortunately, those seem to be a rare breed.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I would say that parents have a lot to do with that too. I believe that our public institutions are a reflection of their participants. Otherwise, we have a problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You are so right, and we do have a problem!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. You would know more than me, but, I like to think that everything swings in one direction, and then swings back. Hopefully, we end up eventually following the middle way.

        Like

      10. I beg to disagree! Historically, American education has always followed the same philosophy, no matter where is has swung. It emphasizes basic skills that are pragmatic and measurable, and it ascribes no relevancy to anything else.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Hmmm…. In that case, you are right, we have a problem. I believe that education is deteriorating. My explanation is that people crave instant gratification and feel entitled to something for nothing. Also, as you point out, everything is outer directed, rather than inner directed. It is very frustrating. People need to have an inner drive to learn and to grow.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Exactly, and entitlement is expanding at an alarming rate.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. msw blog says:

    What a great story. I will have yo share with my young gardeners thus spring and see if this is something we can recreate 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That is so nice to hear 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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