Ukrainian cuisine: Top5 Most Popular Ukrainian Foods
The time of the holidays is coming and those of you who have been to Ukraine during holidays know how much celebration Ukrainians have.
And you know that during holidays, Ukrainian tables are cracking of plates with different tasty dishes.
It is true that Ukrainian cuisine is very diverse and hearty. So lots of you prefer coming back to Ukraine just to eat more of Ukrainian cuisine.
But we are also often asked what Ukrainian cuisine is like. So today, we decided to tell you about 5 most popular Ukrainian dishes in detail. You will find out everything about it, and will even read the recipes, so you could try to cook it at home.
Now, let’s start our lesson to cooking the most favorite and popular Ukrainian dishes! :)
The peculiarities of Ukrainian food
Ukrainian cuisine represents Eastern European cuisine. And lots of you probably know Ukrainian borscht, salo, and Ukrainian dumplings very well. All the westerners who come to Ukraine want to try the original Ukrainian dishes with no variations and go to Ukrainian restaurants where they cook authentic classic borscht or dumplings.
There are a lot of regional differences of one and the same dish in Ukraine though. And every woman (or man) in Ukraine cooks her or his borscht in a different way. Thus, if you are invited to 10 families, you can be sure to try 10 different borscht variations. It happens because different regions of Ukraine have their own popular meals.
Ukrainian cuisine is influenced by Polish, Turkish, and Crimean Tatars cuisine. Ukrainians adore hosting guests, so if you ever come to that country, you will eat a lot. Below, you will find the top5 most famous Ukrainian foods that you can meet in any part of the country.
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Ukrainian borscht as a symbol of Ukrainian cuisine
Borscht can be truly called the symbol of the whole Ukrainian cuisine and there are not so many people in the West who are not familiar with it. In fact, there are over 300 types of borscht. Borscht can be called a mysterious dish because even if two cooks make it of the same ingredients, the taste will be different.
Ukrainian borscht is a sort of a soup that usually includes such ingredients as cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots, beetroot, parsley, and, of course, meat. Its color should be red and it can be reached thanks to a large number of beetroots. It can be both a dish for meat lovers and vegetarians.
If you are a vegan, you can also try borscht while it can be cooked without meat. Instead, people use beans. As a rule, they serve borscht with sour cream and garlic doughnuts.
Ukrainian borscht recipe
Traditionally, borscht is made of meat or bone stock and different vegetables. There are different recipes of borscht, so we will consider the classic one. Some of the components may be omitted depending on the recipe. First, you should cook the stock by boiling meat, bones, or both.
The stock is cooked for about two hours; the meat is taken out and is added again just 10-15 minutes before the borscht is done. In the Poltava region in central Ukraine, they cook borscht in a clay pot inside a Russian oven. In our classic recipe, the vegetables are precooked by sautéing, brazing, baking, or boiling (separately from the meat and stock).
Vegetables are julienned, except for potatoes which are diced. It is important to preserve the color of beetroots, so they are baked only partially and separately from other vegetables. Parsley root, carrots, and other root vegetables should be sautéed at animal fat and mixed with tomatoes or tomato paste. Borscht is served with sour cream, garlic, and bread.
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Ukrainian dumplings (Varenyky) – entrée or dessert?
Dumplings or as they are called in Ukraine varenyky are another famous dish in Ukraine. The process of preparation is pretty time-consuming but very easy. If you ever visit Ukraine, you will realize that none of the festivals can be held without that dish. And the peculiarity of that dish is its filling while it can be both a dessert and a main dish.
Varenyky are made of dough filled with different filling – from the cottage cheese and strawberries to mashed potatoes and mushrooms. They can be filled with meat, cabbage, and whatever you can imagine. Each housewife in Ukraine is obliged to cook varenyky. By the way, if you are lazy, simply go to a mall.
Yes, you can buy varenyky in the mall and any food shop. They are sold frozen and it takes only 10 minutes to cook them. The only thing they need to be prepared is boiled water.
Potato pancakes – deruny
As you know, lots of Ukrainian dishes came to this country from other nations. And deruny is one of them; they came from their neighbor Belarus.
In Ukraine, deruny are quite popular and quick to make. They are a sort of potato pancakes made of finely-shredded raw potatoes with eggs and flour.
After you form such a small pancake, you should fry them in a well-oiled griddle. The pancakes should become golden-brown.
Sour cream is one of the most famous toppings for many dishes and for deruny as well. Such fried potato is very tasty and crispy.
It is necessary to eat deruny while they are hot because when they get cold, they are not crispy anymore. Their taste reminds potato chips in some way. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
This cold snack is popular both in Russia and Ukraine and all Russian and Ukrainian women can cook it.
Moreover, this dish is one of the main dishes on the New Year table. The dish is made of meat gelatin. The process of preparing it is really time-consuming and literally hot!
Meat broth is boiled for a very long time. Frequently, onions, bay leaves, and carrots are added to the broth. It adds some specific taste to it. When you dip a finger in the broth and they come out sticky, the broth is ready.
After that, it is necessary to take the bones out of the broth. The broth is to be poured into some sort of mold.
After refrigeration, the broth hardens into gelatin. Usually, it should be eaten with horseradish or mustard.
Ukrainian food recipes have come from different cultures and cuisines. Another example of such a dish is shashlyk or, as you are more familiar with, the kebab. Yes, shashlyk (or kebab) is a Georgian dish that is spread to Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. They cook Armenian shashlyk as well.
Shashlyk is made of meat only. Modern techniques allow making shashlyk out of fish or even vegetables. Real Caucasian shashlyk is made of lamb. However, in Ukraine, they mostly prepare pork shashlyk with vegetables – onions and tomatoes.
None of the festivals and holidays can be spent without that dish. Shashlyk is grilled meat and there is nothing difficult to cook it. It is extremely delicious and aromatic. Lots of Ukrainian restaurants serve different variations of that dish, so you can try lots of them and even real Georgian shashlyk, too.
Is Ukrainian cuisine healthy?
Ukrainian recipes are very diverse. Modern Ukrainians tend to lead a healthy way of life and do lots of sports, so they eat more salads, meat, fish, yoghurts, etc. But traditional Ukrainian dishes contain a huge mixture of products. Traditional Ukrainian salads, for example, contain a lot of mayonnaise.
Ukrainian meat is also very fatty. Western people love Ukrainian food because it is very tasty but such recipes are not very healthy, of course, if you stick to a proper diet. So if you don’t want to get some weight when coming to Ukraine, try not to over-eat traditional Ukrainian dishes.
But modern Ukrainian restaurants serve a lot of healthy dishes, including not only Ukrainian cuisine, so don’t worry, you will not be hungry for sure and will have a good choice of dishes in any restaurant in Ukraine. But, of course, if you want to feel the real spirit of Ukraine, you should try at least the most famous national Ukrainian dishes.
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Who cooks in Ukraine – men or women?
Traditionally, women are the ones who cook in Ukrainian families, of course. They have a lot of recipes in their arsenal and always pamper their husbands, children, and all family members with amazing dishes. Ukrainian women bake a lot. And the cakes are amazing.
However, there is no secret that some men adore cooking as well. In some families, men cook a lot and there is nothing wrong with it. Of course, you will not meet such families often, but it happens. We bet that lots of you adore cooking as well, so why not show your cooking skills to your beloved?
Ukraine is famous for its hospitality. So if you have chosen a Ukrainian bride, get ready to get some weight when getting acquainted with her parents and family. They will want you to try everything they prepared for you. And do not dare to refuse – this is a poor taste in Ukraine.
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Conclusion: Ukrainian food worth to try
Yes, guys, if you want to try real Ukrainian cuisine (and believe us, it’s very tasty), you need to come to Ukraine and try it yourself.
No matter what city you go, you will find some good restaurants everywhere and will be able to feel the Ukrainian coloring. And if you want your wife to cook such meals for you, you definitely need a Ukrainian bride.
Our Romantic and marriage tour to Ukraine will help you meet your Ukrainian woman. And if you want a Slavic mail order bride from another country, welcome to our online gallery of foreign women. You will be able to see your woman and talk to her face-to-face in our video-chat with foreign brides for at least 30 minutes!
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Written by Katrina El, a practicing psychologist, professional matchmaker and founder of the Slavic marriage agency Best-Matchmaking.com.
Learn more about the Ukrainian matchmaking service by Best-Matchmaking.com.