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The Origin of Shashlik

The Origin of Shashlik

Today in the article we are going to speak about the food that every Russian person adores – shashlik.  Shashlik [shash-LEEK] is a meat dish that can be found in almost all countries around the world, although it’s still unknown how, where and when it first appeared.

The Origin of Shashlik

Many people believe that shashlik is a dish of Caucasian origin only, but it is not true. According to many historical sources, ancient people who learned how to make fire began to roast meat skewered on the bars of trees on a fire, which, in fact, can also be called shashlik.

The Origin of Shashlik

In Russia, shashlik was popular already until the 18th century and it was called “spit” meat and was roasted on a spit. According to historical sources, in Russian traditions of medieval cuisine, there was a method of roasting rabbits, chickens, pigs, etc. on a spit. This type of meat was mainly served at feasts held at wealthy people’s places, since its preparation required a lot of wood and time.

The Origin of the Name

The word “shashlik” appeared in the Russian language by accident, but it was quickly adopted by the language. The word originated from Crimean Tatar word “shish” that means “a spit” and “shishlik” that means “something on a spit”.

The Origin of the Name

Many centuries later, hunters and soldiers began to fry shashlik, that is, meat on ramrods (metal or wooden rods for cleaning weapons). The word “skewer” originated from the word “ramrod.

Shashlik in Other Cultures

According to historical sources, we can see that many people at different periods of time called shashlik differently. This is still true because of many customs and habits in different cultures. For example, in Armenia shashlik is called “horovats”, Azerbaijanian shashlik is called “kebab”; “shish-kebab” is a Turkish shashlik.

Shashlik in Other Cultures

People in Mediterranean countries make shashlik in a completely different way. They skewer the ready formed meat with some mint added on wooden sticks and leave to bake in the coals. In Asian countries, they do it in another way: small pieces of meat (preferably lamb) are roasted.

So, we can that traditions of cooking meat developed in different ways in different countries. There were a lot of factor that influenced it: climate, traditions, peculiarities of the religion, as well as people’s preferences. Nowadays, there is a huge number of techniques and recipes of how to cook tasty shashlik.

The Origin of Shashlik

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