Food is one of the most versatile things on this planet. Every region or culture has developed their own unique way of making food based on a number of factors, like geography, resources, climate, and level of outside influence. You can learn a lot about a country’s history and people if you try their food.
Ukraine is no an exception to this rule. Ukrainian cuisine is often described as peculiar because of its unique blend of flavors. Ingredients that should not work together somehow do and taste delicious (some of them you can buy in the Ukrainian store). This article explores the most common peculiarities of Ukraine’s must-try cuisine.
Borscht is a well-known traditional dish in Ukraine. It is so ingrained into the country’s culture that young women often learn how to cook it before they get married. A traditional borscht has over 30 ingredients, but the modern version is much more manageable and has fewer ingredients.
While the ingredients have changed, the method of preparation remains the same. A cook places beef in cold water and lets it sit to create a broth. Once the broth is ready, the meat is removed and other ingredients are added in before they’re cooked in a saucepan with a closed lid. This dish is often served with pampushki or garlic fritters.
2. Chicken Kiev
One could say that chicken Kiev is the sushi of Ukrainian food. This dish is one of the most popular exports of the country. You might think there’s nothing particularly special or peculiar about a simple chicken and butter dish, but a single bite into this buttery deliciousness will tell you otherwise.
While making chicken Kiev, the chefs are able to miraculously keep the butter on top of the chicken while frying. This process gives the Kiev its signature flavor.
If you see Ukrainian people buying pork fat in large quantities, it is because of salo. This breakfast dish is a favorite one in Ukraine. It’s weird to think of any dish involving pork fat as healthy but that’s exactly what salo is. Pork fat contains vitamins A and D. These compounds help to improve digestion, detoxify the body, and boost brain activity.
Salo is a simple dish with pork fat on rye bread with some greens and a hint of spice. It is one of the easiest Ukrainian cuisine recipes to follow and quick to put together as well.
This particular recipe requires a special touch because it is easy to mess up. Chefs take several hours to make a good golubtsi, but the effort is worth it. You can make them in the oven or stew them based on your personal preference.
As this dish is difficult to prepare and requires expert culinary skills, it is reserved for special occasions. Top it up with some sour cream and you will have the perfect dinner dish.
Banush is unique to Western Ukraine and not found in central or eastern parts of the country. It was long considered as a poor man’s dish, but now it has become one of the most popular Ukrainian dishes.
It is made from cheese, corn grits, and pork fat. The dish has a delicious smoky flavor because it is often cooked on the open fire. If you want better flavor, you can add some hint of mushrooms. It will make the porridge richer and more filling. There are many different recipes of this Ukrainian food online.
It doesn’t get any stranger for tourists than this dish. Holodets are jelly-like dishes made from meat broth and some meat pieces. But that’s not the strangest part because this treat is made from the bottom-most part of pork leg. This section ends with a hoof and barely has any meat on it.
Holodets might appear strange to people outside the community, but it is very popular within the community. People make this dish during celebrations and special occasions, so its peculiarities isn’t very peculiar to them.
This dish is perfect for hot and sultry summers. It is a refreshing combination of cucumbers, carrots, kefir, kvass, greens, radishes, and a number of other ingredients.
Most Ukrainian people have their personal recipes of this dish and serve it with relish to guests. There’s nothing especially peculiar about this recipe, but it is delicious enough. So, you shouldn’t miss it.
This dumpling is one of the most popular food items out of Ukraine. The shell is made from dough and can have a wide range of filling options. Different recipes have different ingredients and these include meat, cabbage, cherries, cheese, currents, etc.
This flexibility makes vareniki a very popular dish with tourists. They can sample different versions of the dish at different establishments. There are also several recipes available online so you can experiment with the dish as well.
You don’t need to find the closest Ukrainian restaurant to sample these dishes. All recipes are freely available online and many of them are easy to make. You will get authentic Ukrainian flavors if you get all the required ingredients from a Ukrainian store.