Monday, November 30, 2009


I have recently discovered "bitochki." Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a good translation for bitochki; my favorite online dictionary says they are "round rissoles" or "minced collops," which means absolutely nothing to me. My guess is that the word comes from the Russian verb "bit," which means "to beat, strike, or smash." In fact, this is what bitochki are: pancakes made of flour and some kind of smashed/grated vegetable. They are very much like potato pancakes, which most Americans are familiar with, but are often made with vegetables other than potatoes.

The plate of bitochki above are cauliflower bitochki. I have also tried broccoli and squash bitochki, which are both very good. All have a mild flavor and basically taste like a mildly flavored pancake. However, they oftentimes have a very strong scent! The first batch of broccoli bitochki I bought to take with me to a group gathering smelled so strongly of onions and garlic that I thought maybe they had gone bad! My friends assured me that they hadn't, and we all gobbled them up.

Traditionally, bitochki are eaten warm with sour cream, but I personally like them just as much cold and plain, eaten like a piece of bread! They make for a fast and filling snack when I'm on the go!

To my surprise, I have seen some things labeled "bitochki" that I did not expect, like the potato pattie below. I have seen these thicker patties, which usually are made only or primarily from potatoes rather than a mixture of the vegetable with flour, labeled both "bitochki" and "potato cutlets." They are also delicious but are much thicker and more of a pattie than a pancake. I'm not sure the way I eat them is traditional, but I enjoy them with fried vegetables like you can see in the picture below and often some sour cream on top.


  1. My mom and grandmother used to make these a lot (my mom still does), and so do I, except we usually call them "kotlety" if they are thick and "olad'yi" if they are thinner. For example, in our family, bitochki made with cabbage would be called "kapustnye kotlety" and bitochki made with zucchini or another squash would be called "kabachkovye olad'yi." Besides cabbage and squash, I sometimes use carrots (raw & grated or cooked & mashed) and, of course, potatoes (likewise, raw & grated or cooked & mashed). My mom makes super-tasty "ovoshchnye kotlety" with mixed veggies, usually cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas, and onions.

  2. I especially liked this sentence: Traditionally, bitochki are eaten warm with sour cream,...

    Isn't that how they eat everything?


  3. Jennifer,

    You're right, sour cream is a popular topping for a number of Russian foods. It is also often used as a dressing for salads or as a sauce for meat-based dishes, such as beef stroganoff. There are, however, plenty of Russians who don't like sour cream, including my husband and my dad! They prefer to use mayonnaise where sour cream would be more typical.