The 5 unique recipes of the Donetsk region. How to line the borsch and season the porridge

  • Olga Nikulina
  • For BBC News Ukraine, Kramatorsk

Author of the photograph, Avdiivka VCA

Do you know much about the culinary features of Donetsk? Probably not.

However, some delicacies typical of certain communities in the Donetsk region may be a pleasant gastronomic surprise, not only for guests from other regions, but also for the locals themselves.

We talk about some unique culinary traditions and recipes shared by their wearers.

Borsch lined with Zvanivka

Author of the photograph, Andriy Tymchak

In the middle of the last century, Lemkos and Boyks were forcibly relocated to eastern Ukraine. His village in the Carpathians, Lyskovatka, was handed over to Poland by the Soviet authorities and the peasants were deported.

They settled compactly in the territory of Zvanivka and brought their culture with them. The traditional cuisine of the Lemko region has also taken root in the Donetsk region.

The descendants of these settlers continue to prepare Lemko dishes and not only pass on recipes to the younger generation, but also promote cooking for tourists.

The Tymchak family is a native of Lemko, they opened a “Lemko Center” in their home. They hold festivals, workshops and meetings, as well as preserve old recipes.

Author of the photograph, Andriy Tymchak

Photo caption,

Andriy Tymchak is from a Lemkos indigenous family

Those families who follow the traditions still prepare borscht. This is a ceremonial dish that is served at the wedding before guests give gifts to the bride and groom.

But on weekdays lined borscht is also often prepared. It’s very different from the traditional one: Lemko’s recipe doesn’t contain potatoes, cabbage, roasts, and this borsch is drunk in cups.


Boil the chicken broth: add salt to taste, add onion, bay leaf, pepper. When the meat is ready, remove everything from the soup.

Cook the whole beets separately on the skin. Two vegetables for a couple of liters of broth. Peel a squash, grate it and slice it. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. The liquid will be a beautiful beet color.

Then the borsch should be “aligned”. You will need a half liter jar of sour cream. Add 2 raw egg yolks and 1.5-2 tablespoons flour. Stir well and pour in the broth.

Stir constantly, bring to a boil, BUT do not boil so that the sour cream “does not boil”.

This borsch is usually served with black bread and the borsch meat is eaten separately.

Avdiivska porridge

Author of the photograph, Avdiivka VCA

Avdiivska flour as a local dish has its roots in the mid-nineteenth century, was prepared in the current district of the East and from there began the settlement of the modern city.

Tatiana Pereverzeva, head of the Avdiivka National History Museum, set out to relive the recipe and learn about culinary traditions.

Avdiivska porridge was prepared for funeral dinners and holidays.

“It was not a substitute for kutia, but a completely independent dish,” says Tatiana.

Once at the festival, they prepared up to 50 liters of porridge in a cauldron. Although the technology did not follow a bit due to the conditions of the field, the porridge turned out delicious and the guests liked it. For the locals, it was a real discovery that this dish was previously prepared in Avdiivka.

Author of the photograph, Avdiivka VCA

And later, Avdiivska porridge was included in the regional list of intangible cultural heritage items.

Tatiana calls this meal “honorary” because it is not cheap in terms of the cost of food, and cooking lasts 4 hours. Each housewife’s recipe may be slightly different, but the set of products is the same.

This recipe is recognized as a cultural heritage.


For 1 cup of rice: up to 10 eggs, 250 g butter, skim milk in a ratio of 1/3, salt, sugar to taste. As a rule, porridge is sweet.

Boil the rice for 1-2 minutes, rinse and dry with a towel.

Boil milk, add salt, sugar, butter, rice. Bake for up to 5 minutes.

Then beat the eggs with the sugar until soft. Pour them into the porridge, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. At this stage, the rice should be undercooked, al dente.

Remove from heat, wrap in pillows and steam for 2-2.5 hours. When you open the pillow porridge, it has a very light consistency, each grain of rice looks transparent.

The melted butter is served with the porridge, and some housewives decorate it with canned cherries.

Smolyan kulish

Author of the photograph, Donbas SOS

This festive dish is prepared in the village of Oleksandro-Kalynove, Illinovo community. Here is the regional landscape park “Kleban – Bull”, a popular resting place. Before the war they went from Donetsk and the whole region.

In order to treat people with something, the then director of the park suggested to Zoya Panchenko to make an interesting dish. Kulish was mentioned together, but they had no cooking experience.

“I took homemade pork stew, boiled it. I cut pieces of smoked lard. No need to fry, everything is cooked! I added millet, butter and vegetables. That’s the whole recipe. The most important thing. it’s putting soul and love on the plate, ”Zosia says. Vasylivna.

Almost 10 years ago, a woman opened a green farm “U Ms. Zosia”: she treats city guests with fresh vegetables, homemade dishes.

Author of the photograph, Your. city

Photo caption,

Zosia Vasylivna (right) is the author of the recipe

Later, the festival of Ukrainian cuisine “Smolyan Kulish” was launched in the village, which quickly became popular. It is celebrated on the weekend closest to the Independence Day of Ukraine. Several thousand guests and participants gather for the party in the village, which hosts no more than 600 people.

Kulish is the main dish of the festival. Zoya Panchenko recalls that the last time 280 liters were cooked for the holidays, it was not enough for everyone.

“It was called Smolyan because the village of Oleksandro-Kalynove was called Smolyanka, so they didn’t even invent anything,” says the hostess.


For a three-liter pan you need 1 can of stew. Suitable for anyone, most importantly, boneless.

If it is not ready, the meat must be minced first. It tastes better with pork.

150-200 grams of butter, 800 g of millet, 2.5 liters of water.

Millet should not be soaked, just rinse well. Add smoked pork bacon or lard, seasonings and herbs to taste.

First, boil the meat, add butter, butter. Pour the cereal into boiling water. It prepares very quickly. Greens – in the end.

Greek Chebureks

Author of the photograph, Pavlo Kirilenko

The most delicious chebureks in the Donetsk region can be tasted closer to the Sea of ​​Azov. Chebureks are the national dish of the Greeks in the Azov region.

They brought the secrets of cooking to eastern Ukraine after moving from the Crimea in the 18th century.

The village of Bugas near Volnovakha was founded two centuries ago by the same Greek immigrants. Although over time, people of other nationalities began to live here, but almost 70% of the locals – with Greek roots.

Chebureks are cooked here for all families. They say they are much quicker to make than to cook borsch.

Valentina Hryshu was born and raised in the village of Bugas, she is 83 years old. Nearly 30 years ago, his family started selling chebureks. Those who drove to the sea bought.

Initially, clashes and the CPVV hampered the family business, but later problems were added through quarantine.

“Our chebureks are delicious because we know how to make them. It’s like blood, with genes that are transmitted,” says Valentina Ivanovna.

“A special machine helps to stretch a thin dough, but you can also try it by hand. We take all the high quality products. The best thing is the lamb. But you can mix pork with beef.”


Per 1 liter of water: 1 tablespoon salt, 3-4 tablespoons. tablespoons oil, 2 kg of flour. Knead, let stand. Knead several times.

The dough should be stretched, but not torn. Shake very finely.

Traditionally, Greek chebureks need minced lamb, but they also make pork.

Add the chopped onion and water to the minced meat. The minced meat should be liquid, like sour cream.

Fry in plenty of oil.

Lyman Community Cone Jam

Author of the photograph, Olga Nikulina

The Lyman community in the northern Donetsk region is known for its forests and lakes.

The forest dwellers collect not only mushrooms, but also young pineapples and make pineapple jam.

Last year, the technology for making jam from pineapples from the village of Yarova was even included in the register of intangible heritage of the Donetsk region. It has been cooked here for over 70 years.

Pineapple jam became an unusual souvenir for tourists and a delicacy of the Lyman region thanks to the residents of the village of Shchurove. Previously, Shchurove with tourist bases in the forest was the tourist center of Lyman district.

Nelya Fotina from Shchurovo is interested in the local tradition and says that tourists should have been surprised by something. Fifteen years ago, they decided to sell pineapple jam.

It gained popularity at a furious pace, and the following year began selling along the route and in other tourist towns where pine groves grow.


Young green cones should be picked in May, when they are no larger than 1.5 cm in size, washed well, cut in half and covered with sugar in a ratio of 1: 1.5.

You have to insist for three days.

During this time, a liquid will appear to cook the cones. Put on the fire and bring to a boil. Boil for no more than 10 minutes.

It is important that the stew is green and not too brown because the sugar is too cooked.

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