Recipe: Kutia, Star of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper

Discover Kutia with this traditional easy-to-use recipe.

Kutia_001For many Ukrainians Christmas means a season of wonderful festive celebrations and the opportunity to make some delicious time-honoured Ukrainian recipes. On Ukrainian Christmas Eve, which is the evening of 6th January, family members gather together to share ‘Sviata Vecheria’ (sometimes spelt Sviata Vechera) – the ‘Holy Supper’.

The Ukrainian tradition of Sviata Vecheria differs in detail from region to region and from family to family. However, certain elements remain the same. Sviata Vecheria consists of 12 dishes containing no meat or animal by–products, and although there are variations, two of these dishes are essential: Kutia (Kutya) and Uzvar. Both of them are sweet dishes.

Uzvar is a refreshing beverage, compote made from dried fruit. Kutia is a wholesome rustic dish made with husked wholewheat grains (kernels and berries) and other healthy ingredients including: honey, poppy seeds, raisins and walnuts. Although it is not difficult to make Kutia, it takes a while because of the time spent cooking the wheat grains. Also, the wholewheat grain ingredient is not widely available to consumers, at least in countries like Australia. For our Australian readers we did some research and found a couple of suppliers of wholewheat grain. On www.fourleafmilling.com.au you can find a list of stores throughout Australia with this product. You can also buy wholewheat grain online at: www.goodness.com.au In other countries, try wholefood, healthfood or organic produce stores.

The following easy-to-use recipe is from Taste of Ukraine: Rustic Cuisine from the Heart of Ukraine, a classic work of Eastern European cookery, which is packed with high quality photographs and authentic recipes. The book also has special articles on Ukrainian cuisine describing Kutia and other Christmas folk customs, including the Holy Supper, which is lovingly decorated with wheat and glowing candles.

Book cover, “Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper: Traditional village recipes for Sviata Vecheria”

Book cover, “Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper: Traditional village recipes for Sviata Vecheria”

To learn more about Kutia, Uzvar and other traditional dishes cooked for Sviata Vecheria, check our book wholly dedicated to this festive occasion, Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper: Traditional village recipes for Sviata Vecheria. The book is currently available in e-format on Amazon website (click HERE to see a free book preview).

We hope you enjoy this free recipe for tasty Kutia, star of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve table.

Kutia

1 cup wheat kernels (hull removed),  ½ cup poppy seeds,  ½ cup raisins (optional),  ½ cup honey,  ½ cup walnuts (coarsely chopped) (optional),  ½ teaspoon salt (to season)

Rinse wheat kernels in a sieve under running lukewarm water. Place in a bowl, cover with lukewarm water and soak overnight. Simmer in the same water for about 3 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt 5–10 minutes before cooking is completed. Let it cool then place in a refrigerator.

Cover the poppy seeds with boiling water, soak for 15 minutes, strain and then grind. In a separate bowl cover the raisins with boiling water for about 10 minutes then strain.

Mix honey with 1 cup of water and bring to boil. Let the honey syrup cool then combine it with the refrigerated wheat, making a medium–thin mixture. Stir in the poppy seed paste, walnuts and raisins.

Serve the kutia chilled. Traditionally it is served in simple glass or clay dishes.