Ukrainian cuisine is characterized by a wide choice of dishes and original traditions. Its development took place over several centuries, and many national dishes were glorified by writers and poets. Now Ukrainian dishes are prepared and served in the best restaurants in the world.
Description of Ukrainian cuisine
The formation of the cuisine of Ukraine was influenced by the Tatar, German, Hungarian, Turkish cooking culture. In ancient times, a connection with the old Russian traditions was also maintained, but it was lost after the invasion of the Tatar-Mongols.
Each region of the country has had its own culinary characteristics for centuries. Hearty and low-calorie Ukrainian dishes cause appetite with only one name – pampushki, galushki, borscht, shkvarki, medoviki, mazuriki.
Ukrainians have always been able to cook delicious and appetizing dishes from ordinary and inexpensive products.
How it developed
The formation of the Ukrainian nation and its culinary traditions began more than 1500 years ago. The choice of people’s diet was influenced by climatic conditions and a sedentary lifestyle, which made it possible to grow crops, graze livestock, hunt and fish. The first cooks appeared at monasteries and princely courts, in rich families. Their work required special knowledge and skill, which singled out the art of cooking as a separate profession.
In the XVI-XVIII centuries. the menu of Ukrainians expanded due to geographical discoveries and the development of international relations. The kitchen was complemented by spices, sunflower and potatoes, which became widely used during the preparation of first and second courses. Sunflower oil replaced the olive oil delivered from Greece. Mustard was used as a seasoning and for the preparation of oil.
The formation of the national cuisine was completed in the XIX century. in the menu of Ukrainians there were dishes from eggplants, tomatoes, corn, red pepper. Sugar beets began to be used to make sugar, which was added to pastries, sweet dishes and drinks. The modern cuisine of the country is regional.
The diet of the inhabitants of the western regions differs from the menu of the inhabitants of the south and east.
Features and distinctive features
The formation of the national cuisine was influenced by the mild climate, natural resources and religious beliefs of the people. It is formed from the culinary traditions of the united regions and has such important features:
- wide distribution of pork, lard, beets, chicken eggs;
- a large assortment of refueling first courses (for example, there are more than 30 types of borsch alone);
- an abundance of flour food from unleavened dough;
- limited use of spices and seasonings;
- used utensils for heat treatment – cauldrons for boiling, frying pans, clay cups and bowls for baking.
Dishes of Ukrainian cuisine quickly restore strength, saturate and have such useful properties:
- Vegetables are rich in fiber and important nutrients for the body, stimulate digestion and normalize metabolism.
- Borscht and soups in the diet provide rapid saturation and improve the functioning of the stomach.
- Wild berries and fruits help strengthen the immune system.
- Kvass, compotes, uzvars warm or refresh (depending on the time of year).
- Gorilka (strong alcoholic beverage) stimulates the appetite and eliminates the effects of hypothermia.
- The menu during religious fasts allows you to cleanse the body of toxins, helps to reduce weight.
The best proof of the benefits of national dishes is the average life expectancy of Ukrainians. In men, it is 67 years, and in women – 74 years.
The main methods of preparation
National dishes of Ukraine are subjected to combined heat treatment, which is associated with the peculiarities of the home of Ukrainians. For many centuries, food was cooked in an oven that resembled a closed fire. With this method of heat treatment, the food turned out juicy and aromatic.
Ukrainian cuisine carefully preserves old national recipes.
To prepare dishes, the products are initially boiled or fried, and then stewed or baked.
Other culinary techniques:
- crushing meat and vegetables before heat treatment, as in german cuisine;
- frying food in boiling oil (“smazhennya”) following the example of turkish chefs;
- hot and cold smoking, which can extend the shelf life of food.
The abundance of pork dishes unites Ukrainian cuisine with Hungarian and German. Lard is used raw and fried (crackling) form, as well as a basis for cooking.
Beef and poultry are rarely consumed, and lamb is almost not used. Popular types of fish are pike, perch, minnow, crucian carp, sturgeon.
For many centuries in the menu of Ukrainians there are dishes from rice, buckwheat and millet. Common vegetables are potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, radishes, cucumbers, garlic, onions, cabbage, beets (boryak). Among the widely used legumes are peas, lentils, beans.
Traditional dairy drinks of the Ukrainian people are whey and fermented baked milk. To make bread, residents of the country use wheat and rye flour. Seasonings are anise, mint, savory, black and red pepper, cinnamon, bay leaf.
Culinary traditions of Ukraine
The raids of the Mongol-Tatars on peaceful Ukrainian villages affected the formation of the diet of local residents. The robbers took everything except pigs, which were considered unclean animals. Lard and meat helped the people survive the hard and hungry years. Ukrainian cuisine has always been practical. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were cooked simultaneously in the oven, which kept the temperature of the food for a long time. Before eating, we wished each other “savory”, which means “bon appetit”.
The festive menu of simple and wealthy citizens has always been decorated with the best dishes. These are jelly, pig with horseradish, duck with apples, pork ribs with beets. Everyday food was also delicious and nutritious – blood sausage, cue balls, tortillas made of roasted minced meat. On the table there were necessarily cereals and cabbages. For quick recuperation, kuleshi (field porridge) was prepared with fried lard and onions.
Hearty Russian dumplings in Ukraine replaced dumplings stuffed with berries, cottage cheese, mushrooms, cabbage, potatoes. The recipe of dishes often included vinegar made from apple juice. Popular homemade drinks are beer, kvass, uzvars, sweet liqueurs and tinctures, gorilka.
Some national dishes were made only on a special occasion (for example, to a religious holiday, a solemn rite). Buckwheat and wheat pancakes were baked on Shrovetide. At Christmas, Epiphany and generous evening, kutya and uzvar (a drink made of dried fruits and berries) were consumed. At Easter, green borscht was prepared with the addition of sorrel, nettles, boiled eggs. Traditions were preserved and passed on to descendants.
National dishes by region
The regions of Ukraine belonged to different states, the culinary traditions of which left an imprint on the formation of the national menu. For example, in the west of the country you can try dishes that are not known in the east. The example of borscht demonstrates the regional difference. Each of the areas has its own version of its preparation. The most popular are Volyn, Poltava, Kiev recipes.
South of Ukraine
In the areas where the full-flowing rivers Danube, Dnieper and Dniester merge into the Black Sea, many fish dishes are made. In the Odessa region, Danube herring, cue balls from gobies are prepared. In Mykolaiv fish is boiled with tomatoes and yushka. Zaporozhye region is famous for rich cabbage, and Kherson region – eggplant caviar and fish soup.
Borscht in the southern regions is cooked with sweet peppers, adding a lot of vegetable dressing.
North of the country
In the region, a large harvest of potatoes is harvested, so there is a lot of food on the basis of this starchy vegetable on the menu. Dishes are characterized by high calorie content and an original combination of components. The most popular are the deruns that are made in neighboring Belarus. Housewives of Chernihiv region prepare a fragrant roast with potatoes. In the Sumy region, the vegetable is baked together with meat or liver. Kiev region is famous for juicy cutlets, and local borscht is cooked on the basis of pork and beet kvass.
East of Ukraine
In the recipe book of the eastern region there are many variants of okroshka. Here they cook baked in dough knuckle (pork leg), meatloaf, and beans and meatballs are put in borscht. In the central areas, twists (meatloaf with fillings of prunes and nuts), forshmak, dumplings and pampushkas with garlic are served.
Galushki and pampushki are the “visiting card” of Ukrainian cuisine.
In Transcarpathia, cult dishes of bograch (beef goulash) are prepared on an open fire and banosh from corn grits. The original borscht from white beets is offered by hutsuls. It is made on the basis of smoked ribs or fatty homemade sausage, be sure to add thyme. In the Rivne region, they eat matsiki – meat wrapped in dried pork stomachs.
In Lviv, Viennese rolls are baked and mushroom soups are boiled, and in the Ternopil region – thick soups with roasting.
What to try in Ukraine
Ukrainian dishes are not distinguished by sophistication. They are simple and satisfying, based on available high-calorie foods. The national cookbook offers not only traditional borscht and lard, but also many other recipes for every taste.
Ukrainian chefs borrowed borscht from Byzantium. There it was considered one of the main dishes of Ancient Rome. Borscht was cooked in vegetable broth with seasonings and was called “brew with potion”. The improved recipe of the dish has become a Ukrainian national treasure. In each family, it is prepared in its own way – in meat or vegetable broth. Borsch is accompanied by fragrant pampushkas with garlic. They are made from yeast dough, adding a small amount of flour to make the pastry airy.
Borscht and kapustnyak are the signature first dishes of Ukrainian cuisine.
A product with high biological value is useful for the body. When consumed in moderation, it improves metabolic processes, stimulates the digestive and endocrine systems. Lard is salted, smoked, baked, boiled, fried, used to make lard. On its basis, borscht, snacks, roasts, sausages, croutons with garlic, dumplings and other national dishes are made.
Hot nutritious soup is made in autumn and winter to warm up and quickly recuperate. It resembles Russian soup, but is prepared only from sauerkraut. Salty and fresh are not suitable for him. The first dish is boiled in a fatty broth of pork ribs, adding millet, potatoes, carrots, onions, bacon, sauerkraut, salted lard. Of the spices, pepper peas (black and fragrant) are used, as well as parsley.
Meat delicacy is made from the best part of the pork carcass (tenderloin, long muscle). In the classic version, this is homemade dried meat, which in cooked form resembles a log in shape. In many recipes, Polendwica is not only dried, but also smoked, baked in the oven, cooked in a frying pan. In the recipe of the dish there is garlic, cumin, coriander, cloves, spicy and sweet paprika, basil.
The meat is served thinly sliced as an appetizer to the gorilka. It goes well with vegetables, forest mushrooms.
The dish is prepared from unleavened dough based on simple ingredients: flour, eggs, butter, potatoes, sour cream. Pieces of dough are boiled and served as a side dish with sour cream or garlic sauce. Dumplings are put in borscht and soups, consumed with meat. Other components can be added to their main ingredients. For example, grated apples, and for gravy – jam. With this method of preparation, a dessert is obtained.
Vegetable snack is prepared from boiled beets, beans and prunes. The vegetable is cut into cubes, beans, dried fruits are added, stirred. The dish is seasoned with ground black pepper. For its filling, vegetable oil or sour cream is used. Lettuce removes toxins and salts of heavy metals from the body, stimulates metabolism. Ukrainian chefs recommend boiling or baking beets in the peel and peeling after temperature treatment.
A yeast dough pie with a filling is prepared in different ways. Before baking, each of the 5 prepared cakes is covered with one of the compositions: whipped proteins, grated poppy seeds, meringue with coconut chips, crushed nuts and dried fruits, jam and whipped proteins. Separately prepare a cream (custard or sour cream-based). The finished cakes are covered with cream, form a cake and cool it for about 12 hours.
Meatloaf is prepared with different fillings: rice with egg, cheese and herbs, prunes, lard with cabbage, mushrooms. The pork fillet is beaten and the prepared minced meat is laid out. Then rolled, tied with thread and fried in a frying pan. Transfer to a cauldron and stew, after which the dish becomes juicy and fragrant.
Krucheniki is one of the most delicious dishes of Ukrainian cuisine.
Everyday Hutsul dish has a memorable taste. It consists of corn porridge boiled in cream or milk. The dish is served with crispy cracklings and salted cheese. According to national traditions, banosh is cooked by men on an open fire. It is served with forest mushrooms stewed in sour cream.
Tender breaded mazurics are made from turkey meat with the addition of cheese, eggs and butter. Semi-finished products are given the shape of sausages or cutlets and fried in vegetable oil until golden brown. Serve with vegetables or cereal side dishes.
The dish resembles Russian firewood. It is prepared from yeast-free dough on the basis of products that are always in the household (kefir, flour, sugar, eggs, soda, vegetable oil). From the dough make strips of complex shape, which are fried in boiling oil. Ready verguns are sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with compote. In some recipes for frying, instead of vegetable oil, you need lard.
The exact recipe of the air cake is kept secret. It was developed by specialists of the Kiev confectionery factory in 1965 According to GOST, the confectionery consists of 2 cakes based on meringue with nuts. The layer is made of Charlotte butter cream. On top, the dessert dish is decorated with cream and colored roses. On the side it is sprinkled with nut crumbs. The original cake can be brought only from Kiev.
Most national Ukrainian dishes are easy to prepare at home. They will help to feed the family, surprise guests, cheer up and restore strength.