Ukraine is a country of breadbaskets and comfort food
The lands of Ukrainian cuisine are renowned for their rich, fertile soil, producing cereals and grains that are central to many recipes in this homestyle cooking. From holubtsi (cabbage rolls) to varenyky (dumplings), these foods reflect the traditions of generations of hard-working Ukrainian families.
A traditional dish from Eastern Europe, holubtsi is cabbage rolls that are packed with ground beef and served with a scoop of sour cream on the side. This is one of the most popular and well-known dishes in Ukraine and its neighboring countries.
Deruny or drunka are Ukrainian pancakes that can be either savory or sweet. They are often topped with raisins, cheese, sauerkraut, or other ingredients depending on the cook’s preference.
Another classic of Ukrainian cuisine is salo, which consists of non-render hog fatback that has been cured and fried. This is a delicious appetizer that can be served on slices of bread or with pita chips.
These thin, typical Polish pancakes can come in a variety of sweet and savory flavors, but are usually filled with cheese, meat, sauerkraut, or other fillings. There is also a savory version called nalesniki that can be filled with a mixture of cottage cheese and cinnamon sugar.
Nalesniki can be made into a variety of different shapes, from small pancakes to large cakes. They are a favorite snack of Ukrainians and are often eaten with sour cream or mashed potatoes.
Kotlety, a pork or chicken cutlet, is another typical dish of Ukrainian cuisine. These can be stuffed with different fillings, such as mushrooms or onions.
Potato zrazy is another popular dish of Ukrainian cuisine, which is a meat croquette that can be rolled in rice and buckwheat or just a plain boiled potato. It is usually paired with sour cream or a spoonful of butter.
Kvass is a type of traditional Slavic and Baltic fermented drink. It is usually made from rye bread, but it can be prepared with other kinds of bread.
Varenukha is a traditional hot drink that can be made with vodka or other alcoholic beverages, dry fruits, raisins, honey, or spices. It is typically prepared in a clay pot and can take several days to make, so it is perfect for long holidays.
The image of Ukraine in the West has been of rapacious oligarchs and corrupt politicians, but that is not the entire story. In fact, a civic nationalist agenda has been embraced by many Ukrainians since the revolution of 2014, with hundreds of thousands of people organizing in the streets to challenge corruption and advocate for the rights of ordinary citizens.