Pokhlyobka – The Old Russian Pottage

 Pokhlyobka is a kind of thick Russian soup made by adding flour, grains, potatoes or other vegetables. It is similar to the Britain Pottage.
 Long time ago, it was a main meal among poor strata of Russian society. Most of the time, villagers and peasant farmers cooked and ate vegetarian pottage, because such expensive ingredients like meat or fish were not affordable for them. It’s worth mentioning that meat was eaten once or twice a year; more luckily were farmers, who had lived near rivers and could caught a fish throughout the year. The dish was easy to prepare, and people could use the remains of the yesterday meal – chunks of boiled potatoes or cabbage, then add extra millet or buckwheat. The rich part also ate pokhlyobka, but it was significantly better and besides potatoes, contained the meat of duck, hazel-hens, and etc.
 My recipe of Russian pottage is also without meat.. Definitely, a good piece of fatty pork or beef could makes the pokhlyobka especially rich, so if you’re not a vegetarian you may add it. But I suggest you to try the non-meat option, which is infused with aromatic spices, and delicious pumpkin and thick sour cream make the soup absolutely irresistible!
‘Acoulina cooked absolutely delicious koulebyaks, various pokhlyobki..kvas..soaked apples..’ from the Russian novel ‘Whites, blacks and grays’  by Ivan Lazhechnikov written in 1856.
Pokhlyobka - the old Russian thick soup
  ‘The dinner was absolutely delicious that day: pokhlyobka made from goose meat with wild onions, venison shashlik and slices of bear meat..’ from the Russian novel ‘Plutonia’ by Vladimir Obruchev written in 1915.

Pokhlyobka - The Old Russian Pottage

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
120-130g yellow split peas
3 small potatoes
300g pumpkin or squash
1 medium carrot, sliced
60-70g celery root, cut into small cubes
1 small onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped, optional
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1.2 l water
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
salt, black pepper to taste
fresh parsley, chopped, for serving
sour cream, for serving, optional
fresh country-style bread, for serving, optional


  1. Wash peas, put in a pan, cover with water and soak overnight. Pour out the water. Cover peas with new cold water. Boil on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until peas are tender. Skim the foam during the boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the oil, add spices and fry them for a minute. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery root and saute vegetables on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Peel and cut into small cubes potatoes and pumpkin.
  4. Add potatoes to the pottage. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add pumpkin along with fried vegetables, simmer the pottage for 10 minutes more or until the pumpkin is soft.
  6. Adjust seasoning. If the pottage is too thick, add more hot water and stir through.
  7. Garnish each plate with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley. Serve with a slice of bread.
Enjoy the old Russian farmer meal! 🙂
I’m bringing this traditional recipe to all lovely people who’s enjoying the FF party today!


  1. A Home Cook says:

    Is this still a popular soup? I might have to try this one (our family loves Russian flavours, for some reason), but I’ll have to think of an alternative to celery root – it’s not that common around here. Happy FF.

    • milkandbun says:

      Not very popular, but Russian housewives make similar soups occasionally. You can omit the celery root and add one more potato. Or add a piece of swede. Hope, it helps. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Have a lovely weekend!

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Corn Pudding (Steamed) | Fiesta Friday #43 | The Novice Gardener

    • milkandbun says:

      It’s very old name, and nowadays Russians prefer (and can afford) to eat meaty stews, especially during cold winter, when we need more protein and hearty meals. 🙂
      Sunflower oil is the most popular vegetable oil in Russia. Refined (without cholesterol) sunflower oil (which is suitable for frying) doesn’t almost smell. There is non-refined sunflower oil, which has amazing aroma and great in salads, but not suitable for frying.
      Thus you may use any vegetable oil or healthy olive oil. 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    What a great recipe. I love this post, not only for the photographs, but for the look into Russian history and references to the dish in Russian literature. It gives such rich context to a soup that is much more than just a soup. I think I’ll make this and maybe throw in some meat or fish. My favorite dishes are usually considered peasant dishes because they’re thick and warm and usually have a ton of veggies. Great post!

    • milkandbun says:

      It’s something in the middle – between soup and stew! 😀 When I lived in Russia, I ate lots of stews and other hearty dishes, but here, where the sun is shining all year long I don’t cook thick soups very often.. Especially borsch or schi.. but they go amazingly good during cold winter. 🙂

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