This classic Soviet time recipe of squash (marrow) spread (puree, sauce, dip) ‘Kabachkovaya ikra’ is actually made with marrows, not squashes. A marrow (large courgette or zucchini), see a picture below, is quite popular and widely grown in Russia. I am certain though that a squash can work well in this spread as well.
This recipe for marrow spread (puree, sauce, dip) ‘Kabachkovaya ikra’ goes back to the Soviet times when overall deficit of food and goods made store shelves all over the country almost empty. A few jars and tins were still there, sometimes crowding the whole wall of store shelves in a desperate attempt to create profusion. One sort of those jars contained Kabachkovaya Ikra, Squash or Marrow Puree (spread or sauce). The word “ikra” in Russian means “caviar (fish eggs)”, so the funny name of this pure vegetable dish was always a subject for jokes among Russians, most popular being: “it turns out that marrows also lay eggs after all”.
Now, when the times of deficit are long gone and forgotten and some people feel nostalgic for their childhood and young years spent within the Soviet culture, there is a noticeable movement to find those authentic Soviet cuisine recipes. Kabachkovaya ikra is one of all times favourites. I tested a couple variants and here is the recipe of Squash spread I am sharing with you. I think it does taste like the authentic Soviet times Kabachkovaya ikra. Enjoy!
Prep time: 30 min
Total time: 40 min
Yield: 5 servings as a starter or a vegetable side
1 large marrow or squash
2 medium carrots
2 medium onions
500 g (1/2 pounds) of fresh tomatoes or 400 g (14 oz) tin of chopped tomatoes with juice
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp of vegetable oil (optional)
2 Tbsp of vinegar (optional)
I do not peel the carrots and do not peel and deseed the marrow. Some people do. It’s totally up to you.
1. Roughly chop the marrow (squash), onions, carrots and garlic.
2. Put the chopped vegetables into a deep frying pan or a wok with a spoon of vegetable oil or a little water. Add the bay leaf. Cook on medium until tender. Very soon the marrows give up some liquid this is why the oil is not necessary.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook some more until the vegetables are soft through.
4. Discard the bay leaf and puree the vegetables with the hand blender until even. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for a little longer.
5. If you are planning to preserve the marrow puree, add vinegar and place in sterilised jars.
6. Store squash/marrow spread in the refrigerator, serve cold or room temperature with fresh baguette or Russian rye bread as a starter or with some boiled potatoes as a main dish.