Culture Palate: Dishes from Ukraine

Syrniki

Made with dry, pressed cottage cheese known as tvorog, these delicious pancakes, known as syrniki, are often served for breakfast or dessert alongside a ubiquitous dollop of sour cream, and jam. They may seem complex because of their delicious taste, but they only take a few ingredients to make — tvorog, sugar, and eggs. Some people add flour, but it’s not necessary. Depending on your taste, you can eat them plain or with a filling of chopped fresh fruit, dried fruit, or nuts.

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Kutia

If you’re in Ukraine over Christmas Eve, you’ll definitely be served kutia. This sweet pudding is made with wheat berries, poppy seeds, and honey, and is the first dish served at the Sviata Vecheria, a ceremonial Christmas Eve feast where guests are served 12 specific dishes. Traditionally, none of these dishes contain meat or dairy. The plentiful poppy seeds in kutia are thought to symbolize abundance and prosperity, and the entire dish is considered lucky, so every person in the house must have at least a spoonful.

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Pertsivka

One of the most popular Ukrainian tipples is horilka, a word which refers to any kind of neutral spirit distilled from either wheat, potato, rye, or even sugar beets. Horilka is often flavored with different ingredients, which are taken out prior to serving.

One of the most popular types of horilka is pertsivka, which is liquor that’s flavored with hot peppers. It’s most often served by the shot but be careful, it’s extremely spicy.

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