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This weekend’s Cultural Close-up shines a spotlight on Ukraine.

I grew up in Ukraine, spending the first 15 years of my life living and breathing Ukrainian culture, traditions and ways of life. But after being out of the country for almost 15 years, the memories of my life there are getting more and more blurry.

If there is one thing that I continue to remember very vividly and miss often, it’s Ukrainian food. And specifically my favourite dish – Varenyky (not to be confused with their Polish/Eastern European cousin, Pierogi ). Varenyky (from word vareny, meaning boiled) is the Ukrainian version of stuffed dumplings, made with basic dough on the outside, and a variety of meats, cheese, cabbage, and other fillings on the inside. They can be boiled in hot water, or sometimes steamed, and served with butter, sour cream and some fried onions.  My favourite, are varenyky with minced beef and fried onion filling.

Varenyky, one of the most popular dishes in Ukraine

Varenyky, one of the most popular dishes in Ukraine

If made from scratch, making the dough, the stuffing and the varenyky dumplings themselves can take a few hours.  Needless to say, in many Ukrainian homes, the dish is reserved for special occasions.

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Cultural Close-ups is a series of photographs and stories from around the world that go beyond the pretty sights and famous attractions. If you’d like to contribute a photo and a short story to Cultural Close-Ups, please email your submission to [email protected]

Have you ever had varenyky before or tasted any other Ukrainian dishes?
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Varenyky, not to be confused with their Polish/Eastern European cousin, Pierogi
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