This article was written by Yaroslava, Kiev.
“Every country possesses, it seems, the sort of cuisine it deserves, which is to say the sort of cuisine it is appreciative enough to want”
- Waverley Lewis Root
Dear gentleman, we would like to welcome you to the world of Ukrainian cuisine. Cuisine is a kind of art nowadays and Ukrainian cuisine has numerous masterpieces which you we encourage you to experience with us, and hopefully incorporate in your everyday menu.
Being an important part of our culture, Ukrainian food is rich in every culinary category. The neighboring countries have influenced Ukrainian cuisine, much as the Ukrainian cuisine influences the regional and national cuisines of our neighbors. The western regions (Lviv or Lutsk), for example, display a cuisine that resembles the Polish cuisine, with pork meat being the main ingredient for most dishes. The north-eastern provinces, such as Sumy, Kharkiv or Lugansk show influences from the Russian cuisine, while the southern part of Ukraine has several recipes that are specific to Moldova and Romania.
Ukrainian cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes, usually using only local ingredients. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which might differ a lot in different Ukrainian regions.
We are sure that all those interested in the culinary art will find Ukrainian national dishes wholesome and delicious, simple, and quite affordable. We hope that after reading our recipes you will want to cook Ukrainian dishes yourselves, with your lady and with your family.
For your attention the most popular Ukrainian dishes:
- Borsch (borshch or borsht): Borsch is a beet-based soup that can contain as many as 15-20 different ingredients. Depending on the region and season, you can enjoy red and green, hot and cold borsch.
- Kapusniak: cabbage soup.
- Rossolnyk: soup with pickles.
- Yushka : fish soup, made of fresh-water fish, usually carp.
- Solyanka: meat or fish soup
- Olivye ( from French Olivier): called the "Russian salad" in the West.
- Vinihret (from French "Vinaigrette"): red beet root salad with peas, onions and beans.
- Dressed herring: herring covered with vegetables in special sauce
- Tomato and cucumber salad: very simple everyday salad made of fresh vegetables
- Paska is traditional rich Easter bread. Baked in short round form. The top of the paska is decorated with typical Easter symbols, such as roses or crosses.
- Babka: is Easter bread, baked in tall, cylindrical form. Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling.
- Kolach: also known as kolacky, kolache is a pastry that is made with a fruit or cheese filling. Generally round in appearance, an indented section in the middle of the pastry houses the filling, which is normally visible on the surface of the kolachke.
- Korovai: is elaborately decorated multi-tier bread, which is not consumed, but rather a decoration and a gift from the parents to the newlyweds. This bread symbolizes community and the circle of life. One of the most prominent embellishments on the Korovai are very intricately formed dough doves and other birds, which symbolize the married couple, their family and friends, and fertility.
- Perohy (pies): There are famous Ukrainian "pyrohy" with different stuffing like apples, cabbage and many others depending on the season in Ukraine.
- Varenyky (are called pirogy in English just to confuse you;-): are dough pockets filled with either potato, or potato and cheddar cheese, or cabbage, or cottage cheese, or blueberries, or cherries, or generally anything. Ukrainian "varenyky" are boiled and resemble to various degrees Polish "pierogi", Russian "pilmeni", Italian "ravioli", Jewish "kreplach", or Japanese "gyoza". "Varenyky" are very often served with onions and sour cream.
- Holubtsi, or cabbage rolls, are one of the favorite Ukrainian meat dishes. They are mainly filled with pork and a small amount of rice. The "holubtsi" are placed in a large pot, covered with tomato soup or sauce and baked. A stuffed pepper is a variety of "holubtsi", which is made on the same meat base.
- Syrnyky: cottage cheese fritters, sometimes with raisins.
- Mlyntsi: crepes (blyntsi or nalisnyky), pancakes usually filled with cottage cheese, meat, caviar or fruits.
- Stuffed duck or goose with apples.
- Roasted meat (pechenya): having once tried it freshly from the stove, steaming stewed potatoes, meat and some other vegetables in a clay pot, you’ll never forget this incredibly tender melting in your mouth.
- Fish is usually fried in egg and flour; cooked in oven with mushrooms, cheese and lemon; marinated, dried or smoked variety.
- Studenetz: jellied fish (zalyvne) or meat (kholodets).
- Potato is a popular garnish, it can be young or peeled, served with butter, sour cream, dill; a more exclusive variety includes raw egg.
- Huliash: refers to stew in general, or specifically Hungarian goulash.
- Salo: salted (or smoked) pork lard, which is similar to bacon, but with significantly higher ratio of fat to meat.
- Kotlety (cutlets): minced meat or fish mixed with eggs, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs and milk, fried in oil sometimes rolled in breadcrumbs.
- Deruny: are the potato pancakes that are easy to cook, very nourishing and tasty. You can eat them either hot or cold, you can make them for a barbeque party or just take them with you to school or work. Potato puree is served as a favorite background for various delicacies and vegetables gravies that are typical for Ukrainian cuisine.
- Stews in ceramic pots: roast meat, curds with sour cream, stewed cabbage, potatoes with meat and prunes.
- Kutia: main traditional Christmas dish made of poppy seeds, wheat, nuts, honey.
- Pampushky: are special buns served with garlic sauce and "borsch" or with jam or honey for tea.
- Tort (the same as cake): many varieties of cakes, from moist to puffy, most popular ones are Kyjivskyj, Prazhskyj, and Trufelnyj. Sometimes they are created without flour, instead using ground walnuts or almonds.
- Zhele: jellied fruits, like cherries, pears, etc. or Ptashyne moloko (literally ‘birds' milk’)—milk and chocolate jelly.
- Horilka or, vodka, Samohon (homemade) are the most popular alcoholic drinks, including with flavors of fruit, spices or hot peppers.
- Beer: the largest and the best producers of beer are Obolon, Lvivske, Chernihivske, Slavutych, Sarmat and Rogan, which partly export their products. Many of our visitors state that Ukrainian beer is as good as Chech beer for a fraction of its cost.
- Best Ukrainian wines are produced in the Crimea. They are sweet liquor wines with very rich taste.
- Mead: is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from honey, water, and yeast.
- Kompot: a sweet beverage made of dried or fresh fruits and/or berries boiled in water.
- Uzvar: a traditional compote made of dried fruit, mainly apples, pears and prunes.
- Kvas : a sweet-and-sour sparkling beverage brewed from yeast, sugar and dried rye bread.
- Kefir: milk fermented by both yeast and lactobacillus bacteria and having a similar taste to yoghurt. Homemade kefir may contain a slight amount of alcohol.
- Ryazhanka - a kind of natural yoghurt made of baked milk.
Ukrainian cuisine has hundreds of food recipes, known for simple cooking and high taste qualities. The modern national culinary art preserved and enriched the old good traditions.
Every second weekend we are going to publish a new recipe.
We hope you will use our recipes to enjoy Ukrainian meals and share your experiences, comments or suggestions!
Welcome to Ukrainian culinary world! Smachnogo!