Classic Russian Spices

DIll image by Lori Handelman from

Russia has a long and well-respected culinary tradition. Russian cooking based on the recipes of poor, rural peasants is often rich in grains, such as rye and barley, as well as vegetables such as beets and cabbage. The addition of classic Russian spices makes traditional dishes such as shchi and borsch complete.


The chervil plant is native to the Caucasus, but was spread throughout Europe during the reign of the Roman empire. In Russia, the green, lacy leaves are sometimes called "gourmet's parsley" and are used to season seafood, poultry and vegetables.

Russian Tarragon

One of two variations of tarragon--the other being French tarragon--Russian tarragon is the hardier but less flavorful variety of the plant. It is used to flavor meat and vegetable dishes. In Russia, it is also the key ingredient in a carbonated beverage called "Tarhun."


A short-lived, perennial herb, dill was first grown in areas of Eastern Europe and southern Russia, according to Dean Coleman Herbal Luxuries. Its most popular use may be as a pickling spice, but dill has a wealth of uses as a cooking spice. In particular, Russian recipes call for its use in cold soups such as okroshka.


There is debate over the exact origin of horseradish; however, the spicy and flavorful perennial has long been used in Russian dishes. In particular, horseradish is employed in a sauce called "khren" where it is mixed with beets and other ingredients and used to complement meat dishes.