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Ukrainians around the world will soon be celebrating Christmas according
to the Julian calander (January 7th). To commemorate Christ's birth, the
evening before (Sviat Vechir/Christmas Eve) a ritual meal is prepared with
12 meatless dishes. The recipes differ from region to region but here are
the ones which my family will be preparing for the 6th. Enjoy.:-)


2 cups cleaned wheat 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3-4 quarts water 1/3 cup honey, dissolved in
1 cup cleaned poppy seed 1/2 cup hot water
2/3 cup sugar

Wash wheat in cold water and soak overnight in the 3 to 4 quarts of water.
The next day, bring the water to a boil then simmer for 4 to 5 hours,
stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The wheat is ready when the
kernals burst open and the fluid is thick and creamy. Chop the poppy seed
in a food processor and set aside. Mix honey, sugar and hot water. Before
serving mix the honey mixture, poppy seeds, chopped nuts and wheat. More
honey can be added to taste.

2. Borshch

1 cup fresh or dried mushrooms 3 cups shredded cabbage
1 large onion - chopped 1/2 cup tomato juice
3 tbsp. vegetable oil 3 peppercorns
2 cups beets, sliced into strips 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup diced carrots lemon juice (to taste:tart, not sour)
1 potato, diced salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. dill (fresh or frozen) 8-9 cups water
1 tsp. parsley (fresh)

Saute onion in oil until transparent. Add mushrooms- saute slightly and
set aside. Cover beets, carrots, potato, parsley/dill with water and cook
until barely tender. Add cabbage and cook until slightly tender. Add
onions, mushrooms, tomato juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon
juice with caution since you want the borshch tart, not sour. Bring to
boil and serve.

3. Baked/Fried Fish
- any variety of fish baked or fried, but if frying use only
vegetable/olive/hemp oil (in keeping with the meatless nature of the

4. Osyletsi (Pickled Fish)

2 filleted Whitefish (preferably caught while ice fishing)
or 4 salt herrings

Milt Wash the whitefish (or herrings)
2 large onions (sliced) fillets and soak in cold water for
1 cup white vinegar about 12 hours, changing the water
1/4 cup water 2 or 3 times. Wash again and cut into
1/2 cup dry white wine the size you want to serve. Place
1 tbsp pickling spices into a jar or crockery with a layer of
Additional sugar if desired sliced onion and some milt between the
1 glass of dry white wine layers of fish. Boil vinegar, water,
wine, spices, and additional sugar for
10 minutes. Let the boiled mixture cool. Strain and pour it over the
fish. Let stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Then store in the
fridge for another half day.

5 & 6. Holubtsi (Cabbage Rolls)
- buckwheat and rice filled

To prepare the cabbage:
Place one large head of cored cabbage in a deep pot of boiling water to
which salt has been added. Remove the leaves as they become soft. Cool
and drain the leaves and remove any remaining core. Cut the leaves to the
desired size (personally I cut them about 3" wide). Grease a cassarole
dish and place a few leaves of cabbage to line it. Put a tablespoon full
of filling (filling recipe follows) into each leaf and roll it up tucking
in the edges of the leaves as you roll. Arrange the holubtsi in layers,
adding some fried onions and garlic (to taste, sauteed in olive oil) between
the layers. When the dish is filled place extra prepared cabbage leaves
over the top to prevent scorching. Cover and place in 325 degree oven for
1 1/2 to 2 hrs or until both the cabbage and filling are tender. For a
nice variation you could also use grape or beet leaves. Also, you could
pour some tomato juice over the top to add flavour.


1. Rice Filling

2 cups rice Wash rice well. Add water and stir in salt. 2 cups water
Bring to boil and cook for one minute. Stir 2 tsp. salt and cover. Turn
down heat and simmer until 1 medium onion (chopped) rice starts to get
tender. Take off of heat 4 tbsp olive oil and let stand covered until the
rest of the Pepper water is absorbed. The rice at this stage will only be
partly cooked. Saute chopped onion in olive oil and add
to the rice. Season to taste. Cool and roll into cabbage.

2. Buckwheat Filling

2 cups buckwheat groats Brown groats very lightly in the oven. Place
2 tsp. salt in pot with boiling salted water. Add 4 tbsp
1 medium onion (chopped) olive oil. Cook until water is absorbed. Cover
4-5 tbsp. olive oil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
4 cups water After baking allow the buckwheat to cool. Saute
chopped onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sauteed onions
to the cooked buckwheat. Cool and fill the holubtsi.


Just as an ammendum, the first item on the list of foods should be a
Kolach, a braided, ring-shaped bread, symbolic of eternity and life and
should serve as a centerpiece for the meal.

7 & 8. Varenyky (pyrogies)

4 cups flour 1. Combine flour and salt
2 tsp salt 2. Add rest of ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil 3. Kneed until smooth and elastic
2 eggs well beaten 4. Cover and let stand at least 15 min.
1 cup water 5. Roll out thin on a floured board
6. Cut out rounds with a glass or beer mug


i. Potato

2 cups mashed potatoes 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. vegeatble oil salt and pepper to taste
- saute onions in oil, season, add potatoes and mix well.

ii. Kapusta (sauerkraut)

2 cups sauerkraut 4 tbsp. vegeatble oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped pepper to taste
- bring sauerkraut to boil in some water. Rinse, cool, drain and squeeze
out water. Chop finer if you want. Saute onions in oil and add to
sauerkraut, season to taste.

iii. Prune filling

1 cup prunes honey to taste
1/2 cup water
-bring prunes and water to a boil, let cool and drain. Chop prunes very
fine and add honey to taste.

To make:
Add 1 tbsp of filling to each round of dough , fold over and pinch the
dough together well. When boiling add a little salt and oil to the water
so they don't stick together. When they come to the surface, they're

8. Cooked beans

2 cups white beans 2 cloves garlic
7 cups water 1 onion, diced
1/8 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. salt

Boil beans in water and add baking soda and salt when almost done.
Continue simmering until beans are tender. Drain if necessary and set
liquid aside for later. Mash beans well, adding bean liquid a little at a
time until it is of a thick consistency. Crush garlic and stir into beans.
Saute onions in oil and put on top of beans before serving.

Kapusta and peas

2 cups sauerkraut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup dried peas
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. flour

Soak peas overnight. Rinse and drain. Cover with fresh water and
cook until tender. Drain. Rinse sauerkraut in cold water and drain.
Add the water and cook for 15 minutes. Combine peas and sauerkraut.
Save the liquid. Saute onion in oil. Sprinkle flour over onions
and brown lightly. Pour liquid from cooked sauerkraut and peas;
add crushed garlic and stir until sauce thickens. Add sauce to
sauerkraut and peas, stir and add salt and pepper to taste, simmer
for 30 minutes and serve.

Beets with Mushrooms

3 cups chopped beets
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3-4 tbsps. oil
1 cup mushrooms (fresh or canned)
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp.lemon juice

Chop the raw beets finely and then boil in a bit of water until
tender yet firm. Add lemon juice to beets. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Rinse mushrooms in hot water. Drain. Saute onion in oil, then add
mushrooms and crushed garlic and simmer for a half hour. Combine
with beets and simmer a further 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to
taste and serve hot.


8 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt

Proof yeast. Let stand 10 minutes. In a large bowl, put in part
of the flour (about 6 cups), making a well in the middle. Beat the
eggs lightly, add melted butter, milk, sugar and salt. Add this
mixture to the flour along with the yeast. Mix well and knead
until dough is soft and not sticky adding the remaining flour only
as necessary. Knead about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm
spot until double in bulk. Punch down and knead lightly. Let rise
again. Take a small amount of dough, roll on a lightly floured
table. It must be fairly thick. Cut out rounds, coffee mugs work
well. Place a small amount of filling in the center bringing the
edges together and pinch well to seal tightly. Place pompushky seam
side down on lightly floured surface, cover and let rise a while,
about 15 minutes. Do not let over rise. Deep fry in oil, about
375F for about 3 minutes, turning them to brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels.

Poppy Seed (Maky)

1 cup poppy seed
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
1 cup raisins (opt)
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Grind the clean dry poppy seed in a coffee grinder and add to the
moistened raisins. Add honey, nuts, vegetable oil well and then
fold into the poppy seed-raisin mixture. Ready to be used.


1 lb. apricots
Sugar to taste
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
Dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. of lemon juice

Boil apricots until soft. Drain thoroughly. Put through food
processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well.

Variation: Subsitute 1 lb. of pitted prunes for the apricots.


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