Grenki (Croutons) Гренки
One thing you might notice if you visit Ukraine is that people love to snack with their beer. In fact most pubs even have a section on the menu called ‘beer snacks’. One of the most popular beer snacks in Ukraine is grenki, or simply croutons. They are usually served with some dipping sauce.
Grenki, or hrinky in Ukrainian, are just fried pieces of rye bread. They are then tossed in a mix of freshly minced garlic with some salt and a bit of water. You have to be a garlic fan to enjoy this recipe, but if you are you might just fall in love.
What Type Of Bread To Use
The traditional bread used to make grenki in Ukraine is simply called Ukrainian bread. This boule of dark rye bread is loved all over the country, and can be used for many other recipes as well. The only other bread more loved in Ukraine might just be pampushky.
How To Make Grenki
There are only five ingredients needed to make grenki, and one of them is optional. Of course, you can add other stuff like grated cheese or herb infused oils, but I’ll go more into that later.
Grenki Recipe Ingredients
250 grams (about half a pound) Dark Rye Bread – we just call it Ukrainian bread here, but any dark rye will work.
1/4 cup Sunflower Oil – for frying
3 cloves Garlic – minced
1/4 tsp Salt – or to taste
Black Pepper – freshly cracked, to taste (optional)
Slice the bread into rectangular prisms, Try to get them all the same thickness and length, or to the best of your ability. Add the oil to a hot pan and lay down the bread. Turn them every 30 seconds to a minute, or once the cooked side looks golden brown.
Once they are crisped up tip them into a paper towel lined bowl to sop up any excess oil. While they are draining you can start the garlic mix.
In a small bowl mix together the freshly minced garlic with salt and pepper. I also like to add a little water here, just a teaspoon or two, to help the garlic stick to the fried bread.
In a bowl toss the fried bread pieces with the garlic mix so the garlic gets everywhere. Don’t worry about some of it sticking to the sides, none of it goes to waste.
Plate the grenki and use a rubber spatula to get the rest of the garlic stuck to the sides of the bowl. Just drop it over the top of the bread. Usually grenki are served with a dipping sauce so pick something that you think will go great. I used some homemade garlic sauce (I think I might love garlic a little too much). Enjoy!
Another common way of eating grenki at bars or pubs is when they’ve been sprinkled with some grated cheese and put under a broiler for a few seconds. Give that a shot if you want to try some cheese grenki sometime!
- 1 Pan
- 1 Knife
- 250 grams Dark Rye Bread (about half a pound) we just call it Ukrainian bread here, but any dark rye will work.
- 1/4 cup Sunflower Oil for frying
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp Salt or to taste
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste (optional)
- Using a bread knife, cut the rye bread into strips. Try to keep them as uniform as possible so you have cute little rectangular prisms.
- In a pan put the heat on high and then add the oil. Place the bread strips in the oil and fry them. Use tongs or a fork to turn the pieces every 30 seconds or so until all sides are fried.
- Take the bread out of the pan on put on a paper towel lined bowl.
- In a small bowl mix together the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and about 1-2 tsp of water.
- Take the paper towel away and pour over the garlic mix. Toss the bowl around so all the bread is coated in garlic pieces. Plate the grenki and use a rubber spatula to spoon over any garlic that has stuck to the bowl right on top.
- Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce!
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