Once the sterlet was included in the category of the royal fish, during feasts, sterlet dishes were always in the center of politicians’ table. Peter the Great initiated the creation of nurseries, one of which was located in Peterhof. It was in them that servants bred this fish for royal feasts. Subsequently, the breeding of sterlets in artificial reservoirs has become one of the types of entrepreneurial activities they are engaged into this day.


Like all sturgeons, the scales of this freshwater predatory fish form a semblance of bone plates that abundantly cover the spindle-shaped body.


The sterlet is the smallest among all sturgeon species. An adult’s body size rarely exceeds 120-130 cm, but usually, these cartilaginous ones are even smaller: 30-40 cm, and they weigh no more than two kilograms.

The sterlet has an elongated body and a relatively large, in comparison with it, oblong, triangular head. Its snout is elongated, conical, with the lower lip divided in two, one of the most noticeable distinctive features of this fish. Below, there is a row of fringed antennae on the snout, also inherent in other representatives of the sturgeon family.

Its head is covered from above with fused bony scutes. The body has ganoid scales with numerous bugs, interspersed with small comb-like projections in the form of grains. Unlike many fish species, the dorsal fin is displaced closer to the body’s tail part in the sterlet. The tail has a typical shape for sturgeon fish, while its upper lobe is longer than the lower one.

Where did it come from?

The sterlet, which belongs to the sturgeon family, is considered one of the most ancient fish species: its ancestors appeared on Earth at the end of the Silurian period. It is in many ways similar to its related species, such as beluga, stellate sturgeon, thorn, and sturgeon, but smaller in size. This fish has long been considered a valuable commercial species, but to date, due to a decrease in its number, sterlet fishing in its natural habitat is prohibited and is considered illegal.


The body color of the sterlet is usually quite dark, as a rule, grayish-brown, often with an admixture of a pale yellow tint. The belly is lighter than the main color; in some specimens, it can be almost white. It differs from another sturgeon sterlet, first of all, by its interrupted lower lip and a large number of beetles, the total number of which may exceed 50 pieces.

It is interesting! Sterlet comes in two forms: sharp-nosed, which is considered classic and blunt-nosed, in which the edge of the muzzle is somewhat rounded.


The sterlet lives in the rivers flowing into the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas. It is also found in northern rivers, for example, in the Ob, Yenisei, Northern Dvina, and the basins of the Ladoga and Onega lakes. People artificially populated this fish in rivers such as the Neman, Pechora, Amur, and Oka and some large reservoirs.

Why is sterlet good

The fact that when preparing it, regardless of whether you know how to do it or not, with or without seasonings, following the recipe or whatever is necessary, it still turns out delicious. That is, inept cooking will not spoil it. Besides, at all times, almost all of it was used, without a trace, excluding the insides.

Sterlet lacks a backbone. Instead of it, there is a chord from which chefs baked the famous pies with it. In general, it isn’t easy in Russian cuisine to imagine a festive table without a sterlet. This is truly a royal fish.

Choosing a sterlet just like any other fish?


Of course, first of all, we carefully examine the gills, they should be dark red, and the eyes should not be cloudy. There is another way to check the freshness of the sterlet. Put the carcass in the palm of your hand, and if neither the head nor the tail hangs down, then the fish is fresh.

There is no need to say that you should not take frozen fish. As a last resort, chilled. Be careful. If the sterlet lies for a long time, it acquires the taste of rust; bitterness may appear. We store fresh fish on ice for no more than two days.


Are there any peculiarities in the processing of this fish

Yes, there are some subtleties here. The fish is covered in mucus and literally slips out of your hands. Rubbing the fish with coarse salt and then rinsing it with cold water will remove the mucus. You can wear cotton gloves. On the back and the sterlet’s sides, there are tough shields with a razor-sharp edge. There are a few of them, but you need to remove them with special care. If the sterlet is lightly scalded, you will easily remove them with a special fish knife.

What is the best way to cook sterlet?

This fish is best to cook whole. You can bake, steam, grill – it all depends on the capabilities of your oven. It is advisable to choose a low temperature, no higher than 140 degrees, five to seven minutes – and the dish is ready. You can serve with the skin; you can remove it – froze the fish.

In suburban conditions, sterlet is the best to cook on a spit. More often, of course, they use sturgeon, the smaller sterlet. From spices it is better to use only salt and pepper in order to preserve the natural taste of this luxurious fish as much as possible. You can cook it lightly salted with horseradish herbs. You need sea salt, sugar, lemon juice, dill, parsley, and I also add horseradish for the marinade.


This root gives a good aftertaste. A great advantage and at the same time a disadvantage of sterlet is that it easily absorbs someone else’s taste. Therefore you must carefully combine it with foods that have a bright taste.


What to serve such fish with?

It was always served whole with crispy pickles, sauerkraut, pickled mushrooms, onion broth.

Beneficial features

Sterlet is rich in beneficial acids such as Omega-3, which improve brain function and stabilize blood circulation.


The famous black caviar is obtained from this particular type of fish. It contains a large number of calories in its composition. Besides, sterlet contains a lot of vitamins, proteins, and other useful substances.

Black caviar of this fish prevents cardiovascular diseases, reduces the possibility of a heart attack, helps the regeneration of nerve cells and healthy heart function.



Harm from fish is possible only with excessive consumption and the presence of certain diseases. So, due to the increased content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is undesirable to abuse the product in pathologies of the adrenal glands and pancreas. Salted fish is contraindicated for people with hypertension, since salt tends to retain fluid in the body and raise blood pressure.

You can only eat fresh fish of good quality since if stored improperly, helminths and botulinum toxins can appear in it. It is better to give up the smoked product processed by “liquid smoke”, which negatively affects the digestive organs.

As you can see, the benefits and harms of sterlet for the body are unequal. The fish is a healthy and extremely valuable product that deserves to take its rightful place in your daily menu.

The benefits of sterlet in weight loss

Considering the benefits and harms of sterlet for humans, it is important to mention that it is an excellent way to eliminate excess pounds. 100 grams of fish contains only 88 calories, so it is safe for weight loss diets.

Regular consumption of seafood allows you to speed up metabolic processes, which leads to the rapid burning of subcutaneous fat. The protein in sterlet keeps you satiated for a long time, and omega-3 acids reduce the amount of triglycerides in the blood, providing more energy for weight loss.

To achieve high results in losing weight, you should properly prepare fish dishes. It is better to refuse to fry it, preferring cooking or stewing. If you combine fish with vegetables and low-fat dairy products, it will soon be possible to evaluate on your own waist how useful a sterlet is for the body.

Stuffed sterlet



  • 3 medium-sized sterlets;
  • 1 kg of fresh porcini mushrooms;
  • 3 onions;
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp. a spoonful of olive oil;
  • 2 tbsp. spoons of mayonnaise;
  • salt, pepper, herbs – to taste.


  1. This amount of ingredients is enough for 6 servings. Before cooking, you must wash the fish, gutted, fins, and gills removed. After that, cover the baking sheet with foil, grease the sterlet with olive oil, grate with pepper and salt, put it on a baking sheet.
  2. Chop porcini mushrooms and fry them with onions for no longer than 4-5 minutes. Boil the rice, add mushrooms to it, add pepper and salt, mix thoroughly and taste.
  3. Stuff the fish with the resulting rice mixture, carefully turn it over so that the abdomen is below, grease with mayonnaise on top. Put the baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes and bake the sterlet at 180 degrees.

When the fish is ready, you can garnish it with herbs and lemon.

Enjoy your meal!

How to fillet a sterlet

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