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Russian Dreams and Tilapia Babka

I suppose it may be revisiting Slovenia that has me craving Eastern European food these days. Or perhaps it’s the gray skies and rainy days of a Washington spring. Whatever the reason, my fridge is now filled with cabbage, beets and fish, my pantry stocked with potatoes, onions and garlic.

I once lived on a boat in Russia for 2 1/2 months, and while there came to love borscht, blini, and anything with potato. The dense soups, rich meaty dishes, and creamy desserts delighted me, and kept me full and warm on those cold Moscow days. πŸ™‚

Although I WILL be making borscht shortly – I have a craving!! – I wanted to make something unusual, something I’ve never heard of before. I found it in Fish Babka – a fish souffle. Yup, that’s right! A FISH souffle! It was so weird I had to try it. πŸ™‚

So I thawed tilapia, chopped onions, found the dill and gathered eggs.

It was surprisingly simple – something I am always grateful for. πŸ™‚ I cubed fish and bread, covered them with milk and dried dill and let it all soak while I sauteed onion in lotsa butter until it was nice and glossy. Then I mixed it with the fish mixture, adding egg yolks, nutmeg, more dill and salt and pepper. I whipped up egg whites to frothy peaks and folded them gently into the rest of the ingredients. Pouring it softly into a buttered baking dish, I covered it with buttered foil and baked it for 45 minutes.

It turned out beautifully, nice and puffy flecked with dill, the chunks of fish nestled in the oniony souffle. It reheated nicely too, serving me well for evenings when I really don’t want to cook. πŸ™‚

Tilapia Babka
(From Russian, Polish and German Cooking)


12 oz white fish fillets, skinned and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 oz bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 6 1/4 cup ovenproof dish with parchment paper and grease sides with butter. 
  2. Place fish and bread cubes in bowl, cover with milk and let soak while you cook onion. 
  3. Melt butter in saucepan, add onion and cook 10 minutes until soft. Let cool a few minutes. 
  4. Add to fish and bread with egg yolks, nutmeg, salt and pepper and dill. Mix well. 
  5. In separate bowl whisk egg whites until stiff, then fold into fish mixture. 
  6. Spoon mixture into baking dish, cover with buttered foil and bake for 45 minutes. 
  7. Allow to stand five minutes, then spoon out. Serve warm.
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