Our Tour Leader, Taras, is not just great at making sure you have an amazing experience while on tour, he is also a Ukrainian food specialist and master chef in the kitchen!
Discover Ukrainian cuisine, try Taras’ mouthwatering recipes and check out his two best-selling cookbooks! Read more about Taras here.
Learn to make Varenyky & Pampushky! (Dumplings & Donuts)
Christmas is a beloved celebration not only in Ukraine, but all around the world. Christmas Eve dinner usually consists of 12 traditional dishes – two of which we will teach you to make today!
Varenyky, or Perogies. One of the most famous Ukrainian dishes. These delicious dumplings can be stuffed with all kinds of delicious fillings. Taras listened to all your please and is going to teach us the secrets to making the tastiest dumplings around!
He’ll also teach us how to cook up the tastiest Ukrainian dessert – pampushky, or filled donuts! These are the best way to end any Christmas meal.
Keep reading for our recipes for:
See the full cooking class video for both recipes here.
Scroll further down for the recipes!
You can find this recipe in Taras’ Book “Christmas and Easter Dishes” on page 10.
- For the Dough:
- 2 cups of flour (sift);
- 1 cup hot water
- For the Fillings:
- 5-6 Potatoes
- 3 tbsp sauerkraut
- 1 onion.
- 1 Tbsp Oil
For the Dough:
- Sift 2 cups of flour into a large bowl, and add 1 cup of hot water. Mix well into a smooth dough (add flour gradually) and add more flour as needed. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for 30 mins.
For the filling:
- Mashed potato: Peel, cut and boil up your potatoes in a pan of salted water. Once boiled, mash, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Sauerkraut: You can learn to make your own sauerkraut here.
- Peel and dice your onion. Rinse your sauerkraut twice to reduce the sourness. Dice the sauerkraut into smaller pieces.
- Heat a pan with a splash of oil, and fry up the onion with the sauerkraut until soft.
- These will be your fillings! For a third kind of varenyky, you can combine some of your potato and sauerkraut fillings for a mixed filling.
- Roll out the dough, and cut out circles for your varenyky. Take a circle, and scoop a spoonful of filling onto the dough. Bring the edges together into a half circle and pinch together until sealed.
- Bring salt water to a boil and boil your varenyky, until cooked, approx. 10 mins.
- Serve with fried onions, but also you can save some to fry for the next day. You can also freeze your varenyky and reserve for later use.
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Pampushky / Donut Recipe
You can find this recipe in Taras’ Book “Christmas and Easter Dishes” on page 24.
- 500g flour
- 50 g fresh yeast
- 1/4l whole milk
- 75 g sugar
- 5 eggs (1 whole egg and 4 egg yolks)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 50 g butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 Tbsp vodka or brandy
Icing sugar for decoration/finish
1 1/2 l Oil for frying
- 50 g canned sour cherries
- 50 g poppy seeds
- 25 g sugar
- 50 g chocolate (or chocolate bonbons)
- 5 g icing sugar
- 1/4l of vegetable oil
- 1/4l shortening
- Sift the flour.
- Warm the milk, then dissolve the yeast.
- Add 2/3 of the sugar, 1-2 heaped tbsp of flour, vodka/brandy, and mix gently. Cover the mixture with a cloth and set aside to proof for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Whisk together the eggs yolks, eggs. Add butter, melted, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, 2 tbsp sugar and mix well. Add 2 cups of soft flour to the mix and mix well. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare your poppyseed. Add hot water to your poppyseed and set aside.
- Combine the dough egg mixture with your dough starter, knead until elastic and glossy. Cover with a cloth and proof for 1 ½ -2 hours. Check after 1 hour and knock back if necessary.
- Once proofed, mix again and check if you need more flour to make the dough easier to work with. Leave to sit for 2-3 mins.
- Preheat 1 ½ litres of vegetable oil in a pan.
- Mix your soaked poppyseeds with 3 tsp sugar.
- For an easier way to make your donuts, roll out your dough to about ½ inch thick.
- Scoop your fillings into small portions on one half of your dough (the other half will fold ontop). Once placed, fold your dough so the fillings are covered. You can see the lumps where the fillings are – use a glass to cut into the dough around the fillings, Squeeze the sides where they may be gaps. Roll them around in your hands gently to ensure they are smooth on all sides, and your donuts are ready to fry!
- Fry donuts on both sides for 2-3 minutes total, until puffy and golden brown.
- Dust the donuts with icing sugar. Enjoy!
Ukrainian cuisine is a delicious combination of traditions, history, and the abundance of our land’s natural wealth. Historically, Ukrainian cuisine and all the dishes we cook day-to-day combine many cultural and culinary influences from various European countries, whilst also being unique in themselves.
“Ukrainian Cooking in Taras’ Kitchen” provides a variety of recipes from across Ukraine to satisfy everyone’s appetite!
Christmas & Easter are beloved celebrations not only in Ukraine, but all around the world. These days are special, as they bring entire families together. Christmas Eve dinner usually consists of 12 traditional dishes – Taras lays out his favourite 12 Christmas dishes in this holiday cookbook, followed by a guide for the essential elements for your Easter basket. Enjoy traditions, holiday recipes, and time spent with family – cooking with Taras’ Kitchen!