Monday, 17 June 2013

Russian Chicken Salad (Olivye)

Just looking at this salad makes my mouth water. It's amazing- it doesn't really look like much.. But all I can think about is eating giant spoonfuls to 'check for salt'. It's my mom's fault. She was always paranoid about salt content and making me taste.. And I never was one for small spoonfuls.

In my family, and possibly every other in Ukraine, this is the salad that gets made for every get together, party and birthday. It's just always there, made with whatever protein is on hand. My mom makes it with beef or chicken, which makes for a nice excuse to buy a rotisserie chicken, keep the breasts for the salad and eat the rest with your fingers. I've seen recipes online of it made with polony, which is an easy alternative. I once even tried it made with calamari, which was.. Just plain weird..

This is the salad you want to snack on when you can't get to sleep and you're watching Buffy reruns at 2 am. Just get it out the fridge, grab a fork, wrap up in a blanket, grab a magazine, switch on the TV and you're all set.

I felt so good being able to make this fresh for Ralph. Normally I just beg my mom to make it whenever we come over, then I quietly and efficiently pack up and take home all the leftovers. I don't even share them.. I just quietly take them to work and eat them for lunch, telling myself that if Ralph wanted some, he would have said something. Truth is, I think he doesn't say anything because he knows how much I love Olivye and he's wonderful, so mostly I'm just an awful awful wife. But not when I make it myself and serve it up! Then I get to feel like the nice one for a while!

From My Mom

2 chicken breasts, cooked
3 medium potatoes
1 - 2 medium carrots
6 eggs
1/2 470g can peas
1/4 English cucumber
3-4 Israeli pickled cucumbers
Roughly 4 tblsp of mayonnaise (I used Hellmann's)
Roughly 2 tblsp of sour cream

1) Place the potatoes and carrots in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
2) Boil more water in the same pot. Drop eggs in to boil for 8 minutes, until hard boiled. Pour cold water into the pot to stop the cooking process and leave the eggs to cool.
3) Chop everything except the peas into pea sized cubes, and put in a large bowl. It should look colourful and gorgeous like this.

4) Start by adding two heaped tablespoons of mayo and one of sour cream, along with a large pinch of salt. Mix through nicely. Add more mayo and sour cream if it looks a bit dry (add half of the mayo amount in sour cream). Now, start the tasting. You will be tempted to taste large amounts. Go with it. It will probably need more salt.
5) Serve room temperature. Goes really nicely at barbeques (or braais!).


  1. Replies
    1. :-) I thought you might like it- make some for my niece!

  2. I make this recipe! Except that I never put the chicken, I'll try, thanks for the tip!

    1. Great! Is it an Italian recipe? I'd love to know what you call it!

  3. No, is not an Italian recipe is part of my family because my father during his military service was sent on a mission, so loving good food learned many recipes! Do you think that prepares a great goulash! That's why I'm interested in new recipes to try to surprise him and beat him in the kitchen!
    Anyway here we call "Insalata Russa"

    1. That's so sweet :-) glad I can help!

  4. I remember now, you don't peel the potatoes before boiling but after they've cooled down :)