Kutia is the queen of the Christmas Eve table in Ukraine. The head of the household is always the first to taste kutia, once the whole family have said their prayers. He is expected to wish everyone good health and to thank God for everything that his family has and for everyone who is alive and sitting at the table.
Kutia has a deep sacred meaning, and whatever is left is not taken away after the dinner: it is believed that the spirits of the late family members will visit on Christmas night and taste this dish as well. Thus, kutia serves as a bridge between life and afterlife.
Its sweetness and plethora of aftertastes created by the blend of dried fruit, honey, and poppyseeds against plain wheat make kutia a truly iconic and unique dish.
- 3 cups (¾ lb) white wheat
- ¼ cup (2 oz honey
- 1 cup (4 oz) poppy seeds
- 1 cup (4 oz) crushed walnuts
- several pieces orange rind
- 1 cup raisins (prunes or cranberries may also be used)
How to Make Kutia:
- Rinse the wheat and cover it with water. Leave to soak for 24 hours.
- Place the soaked wheat in a cheese bag and beat it well with a kitchen mallet or a pin until the bran starts comes off.
- Rinse the wheat thoroughly.
- Place the wheat in a pot with plenty of water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for approx. 2 – 3 hours.
- While your wheat is being cooked, prepare the raisins and poppyseeds. Soak them in warm water for 1-2 hours.
- Remove and drain the wheat.
- Place the honey on alight heat or microwave for 15 seconds.
- Mix the honey, raisins, poppyseeds, and crushed walnuts.
- Mix everything and let sit for 1-2 hours before serving.
- You may want to make your kutia a bit more liquid. If that’s the case, prepare uzvar beforehand and pour ½ uzvar to kutia. Then mix well.