Ukrainian cuisine. Past and modern

First Ukrainian chefs emerged in churches


At each national cuisine primarily affects design of food preparing places. In Ukraine this place called "varista pіch" (broth-giving oven) with closed fireplace. Therefore, Ukrainian cuisine mainly uses the methods of cooking, stewing and baking. Even Cossacks shot a game, trying to cook from her "yushka" (broth soup), and not roast on skewer like the Germans, for example. 

Ukrainian cuisine is very diverse and includes different meat and vegetables


Besides, Ukrainian cuisine perceived some technological methods of the kitchens of neighbors, particularly frying foods in overheated oil ("smazhennya" in Ukrainian), which is inherent to the Tatar and Turkish cuisine. Germans bestowed us with minced meat ("sicheniki") and also adopted from the Hungarian, for example, the use of paprika. 

Geographic and climatic conditions of the habitation of the Ukrainian people were so diverse that it was allowed to eat as crop food and livestock production as well. Already during Tripoli culture (5 thousand years ago), which was inherited by the Slavs, the population of these territories cultivated wheat, barley and millet. Rye appeared about a thousand years ago, that is much later. Cattle ranching, hunting and fishing have made the menu very diverse, although even before the beginning of the XIX century dishes with meat had been considered celebratory. 

Food raw materials for Ukrainian cuisine were selected for a long time in contrast to the oriental cuisine, such as eating pork in defiance of the Tartars, who love and honor the lamb, and the Russians who prefer beef. For centuries, working on the ground, Ukrainians have used oxen as hardworking in the field livestock, so the use of beef in the food was not welcomed, and meat was considered not very clean, not to mention the fact that it was much harder than tender pork. In Lutsk even erected a monument to a pig, who "saved" Ukraine during the Mongol invasion (but during Mongol invasion it was Kievan Rus). The local population has survived largely due to human consumption of pork, while the Tatars, considering the pig as "dirty" animal, disdain pork and did not take it away from the occupied territories. 

First Ukrainian chefs appeared in the monasteries and princely courts, ie cooking stood out as a separate specialty with a strong essential skills. Already in the XI century in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra of monks had several cooks. The chefs also appeared in wealthy families where the female half had no time to engage in cooking. 

First Ukrainian chefs emerged in churches

Perhaps it is the appearance of chefs in the monasteries is the reason Ukrainian cuisine owes the widespread use of eggs, which are not only used for making various kinds of fried eggs and omelets, but also in the religious baking for the holidays, and as an additive in various kinds of sweet flour, cheese and egg-fruit dishes. 

Due to the geographical (and, accordingly, culinary) discoveries XVI-XVIII centuries in Ukraine appears a significant number of different crops that enrich, expand and diversify the Ukrainian cuisine. For example, in the XVIII century in Ukraine potatoes began very widely distribution, where used for the preparation of entrees, main courses and garnishes to fish and meat dishes. Although this vegetable, had not became in Ukraine, unlike Belarus, "second bread", but is widely used, and since then included in almost all the entrees. 

Ukrainian cuisine uses the potato as one of the most important ingredients

In the XVIII century sunflower and mustard also appeared in Ukraine, which played an important role in the development of Ukrainian cuisine. Sunflower oil beginning to be widely used in place of imported Greek olive oil, and mustard uses to produce oil also and make a condiment for meat cold and hot dishes. 

And yet, finally emerged in the form in which we know today, Ukrainian cuisine, can only be refered to XIX century, when tomatoes widely expand the choice. Besides them Ukrainian cuisine around the same time accepted the other vegetables: eggplant, previously considered as "busurmansky" and were not in use, and sugar beets with which began to produce sugar, which greatly enriched the national cuisine. Sugar became available to most of the population due to its cheapness, which significantly expanded the range of products, the menu appeared pudding, porridge. Also expanded the range of beverages, the sweet liqueurs, moonshine and things like that. 


Meat and fish

Was used the meat of domestic (pigs, cows, goats, sheep) and wild (wild boar, hare) animals and poultry (chickens, geese, ducks, pigeons, grouse, grouse) and fish (sturgeon, eel, carp, bream, tench, pike, gudgeon, perch). 

Ukrainian fresh-sup with fish

Rather use the products in the Ukrainian cuisine is lard in all forms. Using it is extremely diverse. In the food fat is used raw, pickled, smoked, fried and fat is the basis of many dishes mostly festive dishes. They backfat usually not all pork meat to make it juicy, triturated with garlic and salt to give a lot of nutritious sandwich.


Ukrainian salo

Another traditional meat dish of Ukrainians is salo. It is cured fatback pickled in salt, because of which Ukrainains are often called "saloedy" (salo-eaters) by neighbour folks. 


A long time ago Ukrainians learnt to make big sausages which we call "kovbasa": various kinds of smoked or boiled pork, beef or chicken sausage. And also this row of meat dishes extends by sosysky: (hot dogs without buns) typically eaten for breakfast.

Cereal meals

The diet consisted of as cereals and derived products, in different kinds of vegetables (cabbage, turnips, onions, garlic). 

From time immemorial bread took the first place by importance among plant foods, both leavened and unleavened as dumplings, unleavened bread with poppy seeds and honey. Wheat Bread (Ukrainian. "Palyanitsa") baked mainly for the holidays. On other days, the main dish on the table was rye bread or "zhitnіy" (from the word "zhiti", ie "to live"). Meaning of the word once again underlines the paramount role of rye bread and rye in most of life, national cuisine and culture of the Ukrainian people. Wheat also used not only to make flour, but also was manufactured into the various cerealsto boil Christmas Pudding. In the XI-XII century buckwheat was brought from Asia to Ukraine, which began used to make flour and cereal. Ukrainian cuisine widened by buckwheat dumplings with garlic, buckwheat dumplings with bacon and other dishes. Used as millet, rice (XIV century) and legumes, such as peas, beans, lentils, beans, etc.

Dumplings with differeте dishes

Traditional breads of Ukrainian cuisine from that time were:

  • Kalach: ring-shaped bread typically served at Christmas and funerals. The dough is braided, often with three strands representing the Holy Trinity. The braid is then shaped into a circle (circle = kolo in Ukrainian) representing the circle of life and family. 
  • Korovai: a round, braided bread, similar to the kalach. It is most often baked for weddings and its top decorated with birds and periwinkle. This bread is one of the most traditional and respected in Ukrainian culture. You can see it even on different sportive or political events where foreign people are welcomed with korovai and salt (khlibom-sillyu).

Korovai with salt - invitation dish

Favorite kind of dough of the Ukrainians is unleavened, of which there are several different kinds, and the shortbread is for confectionery. Now we have different main courses based on flour dough:

  • Pyrizhky: baked buns stuffed with different fillings, such as ground meat, liver, eggs, rice, onions, fried cabbage or sauerkraut, quark, cherries etc.
  • Pyrih: a big pie with various fillings.
  • Mlyntsi or nalisnyky: thin pancakes filled usually with quark, meat, cabbage, fruits, served with sour cream.

Vegetables and fruits

In second place was the orchard and wild fruits and vegetables. Carrots, beets, radishes, cucumbers, squash, horseradish, dill, caraway, anise, mint, galangal, apples, cherries, plums, cranberries, lingonberries, raspberries – this is not a complete list of vegetation consumed very widely. Bee honey played a prominent role in the diet as the sugar at the time absent. For the preparation and use different types of animal fats and vegetable oils, vinegar and nuts. 

Over time, from Central Asia to Ukraine brought mulberry and watermelons from America – corn, tomatoes and peppers, which have been cultivated in the south of Ukraine and is widely eaten. 

The main hot food was fish and meat broths with vegetables under the name "soup" that the Russian language later transformed into the word "ukha." The peculiarity of Ukrainian cuisine was reflected in the preemptive use of products such as beet, lard, wheat flour, as well as in the so-called combined heat treatment of a large number of products (Ukrainian borscht – a typical example), when added to the beet another twenty components that shade and develop its taste. 

Vinaigrette a la Ukraina

The most popular vegetable salsd in Ukraine is vinigret (from Vinaigrette): salad with cooked and shredded beets, sauerkraut, cooked and chopped potatoes, onions, and carrots, sometimes pickles mixed with some sunflower oil and salt.



We can`t to skip the description of famous Ukrainian soups such as borshch and solyanka which are famous all over the world and not only in the places of compact dwelling of Ukrainian diaspora. 

Ukrainian borsch with garlick

  • Borshch is a vegetable soup made out of beets, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, dill. There are about 30 varieties of Ukrainian borshch. Also we eat it with wheat bread, smeared with mustard, salo, garlick and sour cream. Mmm!
  • Kapusniak: soup made with pork, salo (pork fat), sauerkraut, and served with smetana (sour cream).
  • Rosolnyk: soup with pickled cucumbers.
  • Solyanka: thick, spicy and sour soup made with meat, fish or mushrooms and various vegetables and pickles.
  • Yushka: clear soup, made from various types of fish such as carp, bream, wels catfish, or even ruffe.
  • Zelenyj borshch (green borscht) or shchavlevyj sup (sorrel soup): water or broth based soup with sorrel and various vegetables, served with chopped hard boiled egg and sour cream.



Alcoholic: Among the ancient Ukrainian drinks produced by the process of natural fermentation medovukha ("honey-vodka"), beer, kvass, Uzvar. 

In the XIV century, there was vodka. Based on it to make numerous tinctures. Artisanal moonshine made ​​in Ukraine on the basis of sugar and various sugary foods – fruits, vegetables and berries. Distributed moonshine is hot drink based on vodka or moonshine, honey and spices. 

Moonshine in Ukraine

It has long been common in Ukraine wine – initially only in the Crimea, and then – in other southern regions of the country. Now the main wine-growing area of Ukraine is still the Crimea, wines which have received international fame in the XIX century, thanks to the efforts of the Crimean winemakers. Certain notoriety also got Ukrainian brandy (Soviet tradition called cognac).



  • Kompot (compote): a sweet beverage made of dried or fresh fruits and / or berries boiled in water. 
  • Uzvar (uzvar): a specific type of kompot made of dried fruit, mainly apples, pears, and prunes. 
  • Kvas (kvass): a sweet-and-sour sparkling beverage brewed from yeast, sugar, and dried rye bread. 
  • Kefir (kefіr): milk fermented by both yeast and lactobacillus bacteria, and having a similar taste to yogurt. Homemade kefir may contain a slight amount of alcohol. 
  • Mineral water: well-known brands are Truskavetska, Morshynska, and Myrhorodska. They usually come strongly carbonated. 
  • Pryazhene moloko (milk voltage): baked milk, a milk product having a creamy color and a light caramel flavour. It is made by simmering milk on low heat for at least eight hours. 
  • Ryazhanka (ryazhanka): fermented baked milk.



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