Kutia (or Kutya) is a delicious Ukrainian dessert dish, similar to a British crumble. It is made from ingredients such as wheat berries, milk, honey and dried apricots, and is a highly revered dish in Ukraine as well as in Russia.
Kutia is traditionally prepared in Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe as a ceremonial dish during Christmas or as a funeral feast. It is an important dish in Ukraine’s cuisine and the custom of making kutia on special occasions is well established in Ukrainian society.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The word Kutia originates from the Greek word Kukkia which means boiled grain. Kutia was first made way back in the Neolithic era. In the beginning, it was only eaten in eastern Poland but as the time passed it became popular in the whole country.
Kutia is also known as God’s dish. Poppy seeds are symbolized as the spirits of the dead souls while honey is a symbol of the wonderful news about the birth of Jesus.
In Russia, this dish was made to worship the dead. It is believed that the tastier the Kutia, the more happiness and prosperity will be in the house.
The ritualistic significance of this dish is ancient. Before the dinner, it is placed in the most honorable place of the house. The elder of the family takes a spoon full of Kutia, lifts it up and calls out to the souls of the deceased ancestors and then it is thrown up to the ceiling.
As it sticks to the ceiling, it is believed that there will be swarms of bees and cattle in the upcoming year. After dinner, this dish is left on the table because it is believed that the souls of the dead ancestors visit to enjoy this Holy dish.
Ukrainian Kutia (or Kutya) Recipe
If you are craving for a delicious dessert, we bring you the traditional recipe of Kutia featuring berries, nuts, honey,cream and its characteristic ingredient, poppy seeds.
- Wheat berries or hulled barley or spelt berries (whichever is available) - 250g
- Poppy seeds or can substitute which chia seeds - 250g
- Milk or water - 4 ½ cup
- Honey - ½ cup
- Almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts - 100g
- Raisins/dates/chopped apricots - 70g
- Cranberries/dried currants/dried cherries/raisins - 30g
- Candied orange peel or lemon. (optional) - 2 tbsp
- Crème fraiche/buttermilk/heavy cream - ½ cup
- Put wheat berries, chia seeds or hulled barley in cold water, rinse it and then transfer the wheat berries in another bowl with hot water and soak it overnight.
- The following day, strain it. Pour milk or water in the wheat berries and cook it until its tender. It will take up 80 or 90 minutes on the stove.
- Now take 250g poppy seeds, rinse them and then put them in the sauce pan and add 3 cups of water.
- Then preheat the oven and spread 100g of almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts and toast them for 4 5 minutes.
- Now when the wheat berries are tender, drain the milk in the measuring cup or jug. Keep ½ cup of cooked milk and discard the rest.
- Mix ½ cup honey with ½ cup milk and also orange juice or lemon juice.
- After this, put the wheat berries in a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients of raisins/dates/chopped apricots, poppy seeds, almonds/hazelnuts/walnuts, cranberries/dried currants/dried cherries/raisins and some crème fraiche.
- When mixed, bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, take the Kutia out from the oven and refrigerate for a few hours before you serve. The longer it is in the refrigerator, the more tasty it will be.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 718Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 177mgCarbohydrates: 144gFiber: 13gSugar: 98gProtein: 15g
So whether you are planning to surprise your family with the ritualistic dessert after the Christmas Eve dinner or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth, Kutia is the dish for you.