Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, is a chef in New York City, New York. While Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, understands that Lithuanian food may not be as popular in the United States as Italian, Chinese, or French cuisine, he is still hopeful that people will consider trying some of his favorite dishes from home. Today, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, will describe some of his favorite dishes in the hopes that more people will give Lithuanian food a chance. Many of the dishes described in this article can be made by people at home. As a chef, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, always encourages people to expand their food horizons and Lithuanian cuisine can help anyone do just that.
Before diving into specific dishes, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, notes it is important to know that Lithuanian food reflects the Baltic region of Europe. This means that meat, dairy products, and root vegetables are commonly seen throughout different Lithuanian dishes. Because Lithuania is infamous for cold winters, many traditional dishes are intended to be thick and keep residents warm. There are plenty of hearty soups that are consumed throughout the year, but the star of Lithuanian food has to be dark rye bread. Citizens of Lithuania will often eat a loaf of dark rye bread with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
When it comes to appetizers, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, thinks first of Koldunai. Koldunai are Lithuanian dumplings that are filled with either beef, mutton or pork, as well as mushrooms, herbs, spices and curd cheese. These dumplings are often passed around the table at Lithuanian homes before the entrees arrive.
For those curious about the fantastic soups produced in the country, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, suggest looking into Saltibarscia. This colorful dish has a bright pink color that could not be more appetizing. The color comes from pickled beets that are blended with soured milk. Unlike many of the more traditional warm soups, Saltibarsciai is served chilled with finely chopped vegetables, which usually include beetroot, cucumber, green onion, and radish. This soup is commonly served in the summer as an appetizer.
When it comes to entrees, Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, first thinks of Cepelinai. Cepelinai is a national dish that once again highlights dumplings. These dumplings are also filled with ground meat, curd cheese, and mushrooms. Diners who enjoy this meal will typically have it served with bacon and a lot of sour cream. This is a heavy meal that is great on a cold winter’s night. The dumplings are shaped like American footballs and can be difficult to make, which is why most Lithuanians order them out at their favorite restaurant as opposed to cooking them at home.
Another popular Lithuanian entrée is called Zrazy. This is a meat roulade that is also quite popular in Belarus and Poland. Chef Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania prepares this meal with thin slices of seasoned beef that can be stuffed with potatoes, root vegetables, eggs, and mushrooms. Many different people cook Zrazy with chicken, veal or pork, but it is most commonly prepared with beef. They are fried briefly and then stewed in a simple stock made up of spices, celery, and onions.
Finally, the favorite entrée of Algirdas Janilionis of Kaunas, Lithuania, is Saslykai. Saslykai is a dished of skewered and grilled meats. It’s similar to kebabs in that it can be made with different meats and is usually marinated with a mixture of onions, peppers, and garlic. Any fan of traditional American barbecue will love Saslykai. This great dish typically comes with rice, and a side salad. Different sauces can accompany this dish, but it is most commonly served with a side of ketchup.