Shchi – The favorite cabbage soup of Russians

Shchi is one of the classic soups of the Russian cuisine made from raw white cabbage or sauerkraut.

Shchi – The favorite cabbage soup of Russians

Shchi has been one of the main hot dishes of Russian cuisine for a long time. Initially, the word “shchi” was used for any liquid dish, but from the 9th century, when peasants began to grow cabbage, this name stuck to the cabbage soup.

The smell of shchi was common in the Russian homes regardless of the status and time of year. In the summer, shchi was cooked from fresh cabbage, and in winter from sauerkraut. Rich people could afford “rich” shchi with meat, but peasants more often cooked a vegetarian version – “empty shchi”. But no matter what the ingredients were, shchi was always stewed on Russian stoves. This way the vegetables did not boil in hot water but gradually revealed their taste under the influence of high temperature.

It is said that in the 18th and 19th centuries people used to freeze shchi in the form of large ice circles and take them on the road. Before eating they chopped them and warmed them up.

The main characteristic of shchi is its sour taste. If sauerkraut is used in the recipe, the sourness is already there, otherwise the sour taste can be created by adding other ingredients – tomatoes, sour apples, etc.

Traditionally, meat shchi is cooked with beef broth, but you can also use pork and even chicken.

There is a great variety of shchi recipes. Today we offer you a recipe of meat shchi with raw white cabbage or sauerkraut.


  • Meat of a bone – 500 g
  • Raw white cabbage or sauerkraut – 300 g
  • Onion – 3 pc.
  • Potato – 2-3 pc.
  • Tomato – 2 pc.
  • Carrot – 1 pc.
  • Tomato paste – 1 tbsp.
  • Olive or any other vegetable oil for frying
  • Bay leaf, salt, peppercorns and other spices – to taste
  • Fresh dill and parsley, and sour cream for serving


1. Prepare the broth:

Put the meat in water and cook over medium heat. When it starts to boil, remove the foam, otherwise, the broth will have to be filtered. Cook for 1.5-2 hours and take the meat out.

2. Chop the onions and fry it in vegetable oil. after about 5 minutes add grated carrot and cut tomatoes. Fry the veggies until cooked.

3. Peel and cut in cubes potato, and add them to the boiling broth. If you are using cabbage, cut it and add to the broth with the potato. If you are using sauerkraut, taste it first: if it’s too sour you might want to rinse it in cold water before adding to the broth.

4. Add salt (if you cook with sauerkraut, try the broth first – it might be salty enough already).

5. When potato and cabbage are almost cooked, add fried veggies to the broth.

6. Separate meat from bones, cut it in pieces and add to the broth too.

7. Add bay leaf, spices and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.

The shchi is ready! They are usually served (and delicious!) with a pinch of fresh herbs and sour cream.

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