Shanghai Style Russian Borscht.

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Back at #JessKitchen tonight with this soup that I learnt from my grandma since when I was little. If you were born in a 3-generation Shanghainese family, you will know how much the taste of it means to our childhood memories. It almost felt festive every time this was stewing in the kitchen, that it usually is a sign of a family celebration.

During the Russian October Revolution in 1917, large number of emigres were homeless and migrated down south and settled their lives Shanghai, they did not only have brought their Vodka, but also introduced the concept of “Western Food” to the city, and opened restaurants to make a living. Shanghai as a colonial city, the word “diversity” is in its genes. Up till today, you will still find retro Shanghainese-Western Restaurants and able to enjoy a taste of the “fusion food” back in the old days.

Over the years, this Russian Borscht has become a recipe that the local families enjoy, with each family inherited their own preferred ways of cooking it, and kept on evolving into more and more versions. People in Shanghai not only serve it with bread, but mostly with rice, as one of a statement Chinese dish on their reunion dinner tables.

Here is a recipe of the Jess’ version –


  • 2 packs of Mined Beef
  • 3 chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 chopped Carrots
  • 3 chopped Potatoes
  • 3 chopped Onions
  • 1 can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 table spoons of Tomato Puree
  • 2 table spoons of Chinese (ShaoXing) Rice Wine
  • 3 table spoons of Pink Salt (or any type preferred)
  • 1 table spoon of Peppercorn
  • 2 table spoons of Sugar / Brown Sugar
  • 2 table spoons of Lightly Salted Butter or Olive Oil
  • 1 handful of Chinese Coriander


  • In a large soup pot, melt butter with low heat, sauté the onions until soft
  • Combine all the minced beef (here I use Weight Watchers Mined Beef) with peppercorns, stir fry until turns brown
  • Add in Chinese ShaoXing Wine and stir thoroughly for another 10 seconds
  • Add in tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and enough water to cover all the ingredients
  • Bring to a boil for 10mins, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 – 2 hours
  • Add the can of diced tomatoes and tomato puree, simmer for another hour
  • Stir in salt and sugar (Shanghainese dishes are always saucy and sweeter)
  • Top each serving with preferred amount of Chinese Coriander
  • Serve with Rice or Pasta (here I always use Vegetable Fusilli)

The typical versions in Shanghai usually add on round cabbage, Russian red sausages, and beetroot. As for me, I always always add my SRIRACHA before serving (almost anything).

Till the next cooking.

– J x


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