The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef

Voracious. May 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780316559393. $40. COOKING
For 80 years while the Soviets controlled Ukraine, they did their best to stamp out the country’s cuisine. Now, restaurateur, cookbook author, food activist, and winner of MasterChef Ukraine Klopotenko wants to bring real Ukrainian cooking back home. Beginning with an enlightening discussion of pantry staples, he immerses cooks in the regional cuisine of Ukraine through more than 100 recipes, ranging from iconic treats such as pyrizhky (little stuffed pies) and tsvikli (beet and horseradish salad) to rybna yushka (traditional fish soup). In some cases, he adapts a traditional recipe such as palyanytsya to modern circumstances (a lack of yeast owing to the Russian invasion) or offers his more accessible take on a classic, such as chicken Kyiv. Klopotenko also acknowledges that some ingredients may be difficult for U.S. cooks to source and offers acceptable substitutions whenever possible. Each recipe includes fascinating notes from Klopotenko, who will sometimes throw in a wryly apt declaration (e.g., “Eating a pickled tomato should feel like kissing someone”).
VERDICT Klopotenko’s passion for and pride in Ukrainian cuisine shine brightly in this insightful, illuminating cookbook, making it an outstanding introduction to the food and culture of this brave country.
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