Shchi has been a Russian countrystaple for centuries for many reasons. It is very cheap, easily changed according to what ingredients are available, keeps well, and has many vitamins and minerals in each serving. It can be made with meat or vegetarian.


Serves 6
  • 8 cups beef stock (Vegetable Stock or Water for vegetarian)
  • 1 1/2 lbs green cabbage
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 small radishes
  • 1 leek (bottom half only)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (or Smetana, per bowl)
  • 1 teaspoon dill (per bowl)
  • 1 teaspoon parsley (per bowl)


  1. Core and shred the green cabbage.
  2. Peel and chop the garlic.
  3. Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks.
  4. Peel and chop the onions.
  5. Wash and chop the tomatoes.
  6. Peel and dice the radishes.
  7. Wash and slice the leek into thin circles.
  8. Peel and grate the carrot.
  9. Melt the butter in a large pot or pan.
  10. Add garlic, onion, radish, leek and carrot. Saute on high heat approximately 5-10 minutes until vegetables have softened.
  11. Add beef stock (vegetable stock or water) and bring to a boil.
  12. Add green cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and caraway seed.
  13. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for approximately one hour or until all vegetables are done, stirring occasionally.
  14. Remove and discard bay leaves.
  15. Finely chop dill and/or parsley.
  16. Ladle into bowls.
  17. Add a dollop of sour cream (or smetana) on top and sprinkle with chopped dill and/or parsley.
  18. Ideally, refrigerate after cooling and wait 1-2 days to serve as shchi is usually allowed to "cure" for a short time. In my opinion, it tastes great fresh or re-heated. Can also be served cold.
  19. Pumpernickel or rye bread and butter make a great side.