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Where is the homeland of varenyky?


What are varenyky, who invented them and where is their homeland? Varenyky, one of the most specific Ukrainian dishes, are now known everywhere. It is not difficult to cook them, they are a yeast-free dough stuffed with some kind of minced meat, vegetables, fruits or cheese.


Few people know that we owe the appearance of varenyky on our table … to the Turks! Having tasted Turkish dyush-vara, Ukrainians were delighted and changed it in their own way, improving the filling and simplifying the dough recipe. In Ukraine, the name was transformed into a similar “vara-niki”, and later – “varenyky”. The name reflects the method of cooking – boiling.

So that you know: the name of the varenyky is all-Ukrainian, but the pyrogy are Western Ukrainian (Galician).

Verenyky differ from dumplings in that the filling is always not raw, but ready-made. That is, during the heat treatment of dumplings, only the dough is cooked. Even if varenyky are prepared with meat, minced meat from previously cooked or fried meat is used in the filling.

It is believed that varenyky existed in the days of paganism and even meant something. Their first consumption is attributed to the ancient Trypillians. Varenyky then symbolized the month and fertility. They were molded from rye, wheat, buckwheat, barley flour; stuffed with potatoes, cheese, cabbage, sheep cheese (in the Carpathians), millet porridge or crushed beans (Polissya), buckwheat porridge with cheese (Volyn), boiled beans, sometimes rubbed with viburnum (Poltava region).

In the world cuisine there are dishes similar to Ukrainian varenyky: Italian ravioli, Georgian khinkali, Siberian dumplings, Mongolian mantis, Chinese dimsa. Now, there are about 30 varieties of dumplings, which differ in filling and method of dough preparation.

Varenyky in different regions of Ukraine

The filling is also varied, and it differed depending on the region. For example, in the Carpathians – mashed potatoes, cabbage, sheep cheese. Varenyky were boiled in water, then removed with a ladle, folded into a makita and covered with roasting vegetable oil or butter, as well as lard with onions. It was allowed to infuse for ten minutes and served on the table.

In Polissya – millet porridge or beans, previously ground, in Volyn, the filling was made from buckwheat with cheese, and in Poltava region from boiled beans with grated viburnum.

“Hearty varenyky” got their name also because of the hearty filling: cabbage, crushed peas, beans, liver. They are popular in Kharkov.

In the performance of culinary masters in the South of Ukraine, even the most widespread dishes look different. It is believed that the smaller the varenyk, the more it approaches its ideal embodiment.

Sweet Varenyky

Sweet varenyky are typical for all regions of Ukraine. They are loved by everyone – both children and adults. The most common are dumplings with cherries or cottage cheese. However, Ukrainian cuisine also knows varenyky with poppy seeds, apples, prunes, plums, blueberries, raspberries, wild berries and sweet cheese.

Sweet varenyky are supplemented with sour cream, sour milk, melted butter, yogurt, honey, jam or a special syrup.

Many fans of Ukrainian cuisine say that real varenyky should be with a sweet filling, so they prefer to experiment with different berries and fruits. The most famous are dumplings with cherries, but no less tasty and fragrant is the dish with blueberries, apples, cherries, sweet cheese.

Salty varenyky are served with garlic sauce, mayonnaise, fried onions, and of course, sour cream.

The Varenyky’s secrets

The main feature of making varenyky is that the dough should be strong and at the same time well-cooked, tender, not soggy.

The secret here is as follows: cool unleavened dough is kneaded in ice water, and the preparation itself is carried out as far as possible from the stove, in a cool room. The dough is steep but not thick.

The second secret is in the preparation of the filling in such a way that when heated, it would not form a liquid, which usually causes the dough to perforate. For this purpose, the cottage cheese is pre-boiled and carefully wrung out, egg yolks are added to it. The cherry is freed from the seeds, covered with sugar for several hours, and the resulting juice is carefully and several times decanted. Only then the cherry filling can be used without the risk that the varenyky will fall apart.

Finally, the third secret is to firmly seal the varenyky and cook in a wide, low saucepan with a low heat and so that the varenyky are not cramped.

Order varenyky in any Ukrainian restaurant and find your favourite filling.

Bon Appétit!