Kulebyaka old-fashioned Russian cuisine fish pie (not so complicated)

Кулебяка по-старинному с рыбой

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Cooking time: about 1 hour plus extra time to keep dough for the night in the fridge
  • Yield: 12 small pies plus and one big pie sized 30 x 20 cm
  • The original recipe is taken from the book «About tasty and healthy food» EKSMO 2006, and the recipe for puff yeast dough is watched on the Russian culinary TV channel. It turned out absolutely delicious and tender combination.


for fish filling

  • 500 gr fresh  zander or pike fillets
  • 300 gr burbot or salmon or trout or catfish fillets
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs and chopped
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 130 ml milk or cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 200 gr rice (I like Indica or basmati) cooked
  • 2-4  tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt

for top

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp milk

for yeast puff pastry (not like for croissants)

  • 700-800 gr flour
  • 200 gr chilled butter
  • 11 gr dry yeast
  • 80-100 gr sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 yolks
  • 250 ml milk


  1. Take chilled butter, cut it into small pieces, and drop it into the sifted flour. With a pastry blender, or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Add yeast and stir.
  2. In a small bowl whisk yolks, sugar and salt. Add cold milk and stir. Add this mixture gently to the flour and batter.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it combined and smooth.
  3. Roll out the dough into a large rectangular and 6mm thick. Fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center and the top third over (like a business letter). Then fold in half one more. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (better for a night).
  4. Mince both fish fillets with onions twice. Or another way. You can mince just zander fillets and onions, cut salmon fillets into small pieces.
  5. Preheat the oven 180°C.
  6. Grease a baking dish with butter and put into cooked rice. Bake in the oven for 15 mins and then cool a bit.
  7. Mix together minced fish, baked rice and eggs.
  8. Divide the dough in half for large pie or small pieces for turnovers.
  9. Grease a baking sheet or a baking dish with butter.
  10. Roll out the bottom layer 3- 4 mm thick and lay out just fish-rice-eggs mix. Or another way. Lay out first minced fish with rice and eggs, then fish pieces. It’s up to you. Top layer of dough you can make such as improvised lattice or just rolled dough. Seal edges and don’t forget about slits or small holes for steam.
  11. Brush the top with egg and milk.
  12. Bake in preheated oven 200°C for 25 mins or until browned.  Leave to cool for 20 mins before slicing. Enjoy!