Amazing Menu

Chef Daria's Amazing Menu – Ukraine

Another new country – Ukraine! Here we encounter borshch spelled in a variety of ways, usually without the “t” we’ve come to know and love. I’ll go with the spelling I ran into most frequently. We also have perogies, chicken Kiev (or Kyiv), and many more vegetarian dishes than I found when I wrote about Russia a couple of years ago.

Here’s how to ask for perogies in Ukrainian. If you go to this link and click on “introduction, you can learn all about the food and history of Ukraine. You can also link to a whole bunch of recipes. If you want a basic kitchen vocabulary, it’s here, along with some links, a few of which I used for the recipes below.

Note that where you encounter “glass” they mean “cup.” And here’s a handy conversion site in case you need it.

 

Soups/Appetizers/Salads

If you will allow me a brief rant . . . . Here is a recipe for meatless borshch. In looking at recipes, it has struck me as odd that most of the Ukrainian borshch recipes have pork or beef in them. I ate a lot of borscht (as we spelled it) when I lived in a vegetarian group home after college, and of all the unusual foods and ingredients and concepts I’ve encountered in writing this column, this is the first one I just can’t grasp. Bugs as an entree, sure. Decayed shark meat as an amuse bouche, sure. Pork in borscht, never. It’s not a concept my brain will accept. All borscht is meatless – that is as critical to the essence of borscht-ness as beets are.

Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I would also like to point out that the Ukrainian version has many more vegetables in it. Here is a white borshch that is very much like a traditional vegetable soup.

Cold fruit soup is noncontroversial. Herring salad with apples and beets is inoffensive. Most of all, however, I like lazy perogies. Yay, laziness! And I like perogies for beginners. Yay, beginners!

 

Meat and Fish Entrees

The entrees are less controversial. Let’s start with a recipe for chicken Kyiv with mushroom sauce. (You probably want to ignore the bad advice to use parsley flakes and use fresh instead.) While we’re cooking chicken, this recipe for yogurt chicken sounds good.

I’m not sure Dijon mustard is a historic component of beef strogonov, but this recipe sounds good anyway. Stuffed cabbage is time-consuming but very traditional. Festive pork calls for cayenne-flavored whiskey, if you can find it, or sherry if you can’t. And shashlyk, which seems like lamb kabobs, calls for a long period of marinating.

 

Vegetarian Entrees

My dear meatless friends, we have hit the jackpot! At Christmas, Ukrainians traditionally serve 12 meatless dishes (a couple include fish, however), and the recipes are in the link. A couple of other recipes with promise include potato pancakes and vegetarian stuffed cabbage.

 

Desserts and Beverages

There’s nothing really odd or unusual here. Cottage cheese fritters are a little different, but vegan poppy seed cake, fruit honey nut bars, and coffeecake are all familiar to those of us in North America.

 

More

If you want more recipes, you can visit a “cookery book” with some traditional recipes. Serg and Valeriya’s site is especially good for vegetarians. There is also a collection of Ukrainian recipes at cookadvice.com. The Food Geeks have a lot of recipes from one Olga Drozd and a larger collection that includes recipes from other cooks. Then there are the sugar bowl and bread basket recipes.

Old standards remain, of course, including recipezaar, astray.com, recipesource, and food down under.