Varenyky (vareniki/dumplings) are known all over the world and Ukraine is the motherland for this wonderful dish. The national love immortalized varenyky in poems, songs, movies, and even monuments!
Varenyky are popular across the globe, and abroad they have other names, shapes, and fillings. A traditional Ukrainian varenyk is twice bigger than a Russian pelmen and four times larger in size than an Italian ravioli. Ukrainian varenyky are half moon shaped, Russin pelmeni have a round form, and Italian ravioli have mostly a square shape. In Poland and Belarus varenyky are called kalduny and their recipes are similar to Ukrainian ones.
Famous Russian and Ukrainian writer Mykola Hohol often mentioned varenyky in his novels. Born in the village Sorochyntsi, in Poltava, he was fond of Ukrainian cuisine, varenyky in particular. In his novel “Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka”, Hohol described in detail the way Paciuk swallowed his varenyky with cheese and sour cream, while in his novel “Vii” the writer narrated about “giant” varenyky with the size of a hat and the diameter of 30-40 cm. In “The Fair of Sorotchinetz” Hohol also mentioned his favorite dumplings. He described the scene when Afanasii was eating incessantly varenyky and groping simultaneously his Fevroniia.
Popular Jewish poet Saul Chernikhivskyi who was living in Ukraine at the end of XIX – beginning of XX century, grew fond of traditional Ukrainian food so much that he devoted his poem and musical idyll to Ukrainian dumplings and called it “Varenyky.”
In Ukraine varenyky are not just a national dish, but also a special talisman. Ukrainian ancestors equated varenyk with a young moon since they have a similar form. They used dumplings as sacrificial food. For instance, varenyky with cheese were sacrificed near the source of spring water.
- 4-5 potatoes
- 1 bulb onion
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- black ground pepper – to taste
- salt – to taste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 eggs
- 125 ml water/kefit
Combine flour, eggs, salt, and water/kefir (fermented milk product similar to yogurt) and knead the dough. Then set aside the dough for half an hour. Peel and wash potatoes. Boil the potatoes until done and mash them. Peel, wash, and chop a bulb onion. Rinse fern and cut it finely. Combine the onion with fern in a frying pan and golden brown them. Mix the ingredients with mashed potatoes.
Serve cooked varenyky with a generous dollop of sour cream.
Varenyky are one of the most popular dishes among the Ukrainian expat community. They were even monumentalized in Glendon, Canada. The monument is located in the central square and is considered to be the official symbol of the village. This culinary marvel is 9 meters in height and weighs almost 3 tons.
“Golden varenyk” – is a special award pin for the best cookery experts and candymakers in Ukraine (the pins are bestowed according to the results of the annual open competition). This award was founded in 1999. Since 2000 seven such pins have been given in different nominations. The first owner of this award pin was Oleksandr Henrikhovych Zvenyhorodskyi.
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#1.A traditional Ukrainian dumpling (varenyky) is twice bigger in size than Russian dumplings (pelmeni) and * times bigger in volume than Italian ravioli