13 Popular Ukrainian Recipes
Most people I come across while traveling don’t really know that much about Ukrainian food. In fact, all most people do know about Ukrainian food is that Borsch is from here. Well, hopefully this list of popular Ukrainian recipes can inspire you to try some delicious Eastern European cuisine.
The majority of these recipes come from either my mother in law or her mom. Why? Because I live in Ukraine and recipes are usually passed down parent to child. Almost all of these recipes are available throughout Ukraine, however a few are more regional specialties.
One of my favorite Ukrainian desserts is cheesecake. Far different from a classic NY Cheesecake, a Ukrainian cheesecake uses farmer’s cheese. This cheese, called syr, is a dry type of quark that you might find in countries like Germany or a frommage blanc from France.
Ukrainian cheesecakes are usually made with nuts or fruit. My favorite of course is filled with sour cherries (pictured above).
2. Green Borsch
Did you think Red Borsch was the only color this classic Ukrainian soup could be? Enter green borsch, sometimes called summer borsch due to the use of fresh sorrel leaves instead of beets. This rich yet refreshing herby soup is one of my favorite soups to cook. And another recipe from my fantastic mother in law.
Green borsch, sometimes spelled borscht in America, derives it’s distinct flavor from the sorrel leaves. Some say it is bitter, but that goes away when you stir in some smetana (thick sour cream) and you end up with a fabulously tasty herby, meaty soup.
This is a more regional recipe, specific to the Zakarpattia region of Ukraine. However it is popular in other western regions like Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, and Ternopil as well. The Carpathian mountains are chock full of delicious trout, and that means trout recipes!
A common preparation for Carpathian trout is to bake the fish whole under a shield of sour cream and mushrooms. This is one of the most delicious Ukrainian recipes and one I make every time I go trout fishing (usually on the way back from skiing in Bukovel).
One of the most popular Ukrainian recipes are these dill potatoes. They’re simply boiled potatoes that are then mixed with salt and pepper, sour cream, and of course freshly chopped dill. I make this dish with caramelized onions and shkvarky, which is pieces of fried pork fat.
Dill Potatoes is sort of like Ukraine’s equivalent to a German potato salad. Both are warm potato dishes seasoned with pork fat and herbs. However we don’t really call ours a ‘salad’.
One food almost every visitor to Ukraine tries is Pampushky (пампушки). Why? Because this yeasted garlic bread is the usual accompaniment to borsch. In fact, if I went to a restaurant to get borsch and wasn’t also served either pampushky or rye toasts with garlic and salo, I would probably not go back.
Pampushky are bread rolls that are usually baked in a group and then broken apart later. The tops of the bread are usually spread with a very fresh garlic paste made of minced garlic and butter/oil.
6. Liver Cake
Here’s a throwback. Ukrainian liver cake was once a very popular dish served at many upscale eateries in Kyiv and beyond. The rich ‘cake’ is composed of thin meat crepes made of liver separated by a thin schmear of mayonnaise.
Now the dish is relegated to home cooked feasts but can still be found at Ukrainian cafeterias like Puzata Hata or old fashioned themed restaurants that look like you stepped into Grandma’s kitchen.
Chebureki are another Ukrainian regional dish that actually comes from where my in-laws are from: Crimea! Chebureki are essentially giant empanadas (that plate is 35 cm diameter) made of fried dough stuffed with meat or fruit.
Traditionally Chebureki are a street food usually sold by the shore to beachgoers. I’ve gotten some amazing ones vacationing on Arabatska Strilka and it really is an ideal snack food in my opinion.
Syrnyky are a popular Ukrainian breakfast dish made from dry cheese curds. Simply known as syr in the country, you can use dry quark or even cottage cheese (although you will need to up the flour a bit). These pancakes are commonly served with jam or syrup!
The great thing about syrnyky is that it can also be eaten as dessert. I commonly see them paired with things like caramel sauce or chocolate at some restaurants where they try to make a more modern dessert.
Kotlety are basically the Ukrainian version of a meatball. Now, I know most countries have their own variation of meatballs, from the Italians, to the Swedes, and even the Chinese. But one thing I found unique about Ukrainian meatballs is one of the main ingredients: break soaked in milk.
10. Potato Zrazy
Potato zrazy are a very popular Ukrainian side dish and a great way to use up leftovers! Made by turning mashed potato into a dough and stuffing it with a variety of fillings, you are sure to find these tasty treats at grandma’s house the day after a holiday.
Did you know that the world famous Latkes actually come from the Jews in Poland and Ukraine during the 19th century? It’s true, and that’s why deruny, or Ukrainian potato pancakes, are still so wildly popular all over the country.
In fact, it wasn’t until I moved to Ukraine years ago that I realized my own grandmother’s recipe was essentially the same today, even though she emigrated to America in the 1930’s.
If you’ve been to Ukraine there is a very high chance you have tried salo. This salt cured fatback is considered one of the country’s national dishes and is often served as a snack with horilka shots or aside a steaming bowl of borsch.
Forshmak is one of the more popular Ukrainian recipes that uses salo. It is made by mincing the fatback with herbs and spices. Forshmak is often spread on rye toast and eaten as an appetizer or starter at traditional Ukrainian restaurants.
When most people think of beets, they probably think of the famous Ukrainian borsch soup. However, this purple root vegetable is used in plenty of other classic dishes, like this beetroot salad with bryndza cheese.
This cheese is popular around the Carpathian mountains, so you will most likely find this salad in Western Ukraine. However it can also be found in Romania, Southern Poland, and other Eastern European countries!
13 Popular Ukrainian Recipes
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