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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Ukrainian recipe: Cottage cheese dumplings (Halushky)

The term "cottage cheese" was first used in the mid 19th century. It’s a simple cheese made by cottage dwellers from milk left over, after making butter … hence the name.

This soft cheese is the most common in traditional Ukrainian cuisine, unlike the hard cheeses common to other European cultures. In modern-day Ukraine, however, you will find more varieties of cheeses. The Ukrainian word for cheese, btw, is сир (cyr).

Cottage cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates, and high in protein. A four-ounce serving of regular cottage cheese is about 120 calories. A fat-free variety of the same serving size has 80 calories. To compensate for the flavor missing from the fat, low-fat and non-fat ones tend to have more sugar in them.

Cottage cheese is very versatile and can be used to make delicious sweet and savoury dishes. Here is a recipe for a savoury one that aired on Nash Holos April 18, 2010.

Cottage Cheese Halushky (Dumplings)

2 cups of grated raw potatoes, drained
1 cup cold mashed potato
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon grated onion
½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, or to taste
½ cup of flour or more.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup dry cottage cheese

Use a fine grater to grate the potatoes, and make sure to drain them well. The potato pulp should not be watery, but almost dry. (Try grating the potatoes into a sieve lined with cheesecloth.)

After potatoes are grated, gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out any remaining moisture. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Next, sieve the cold cooked mashed potatoes and add to the grated potatoes, along with the egg, onion, salt and pepper.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and stir into the potato mixture. For a tasty variation, add some chopped fresh dill, two tablespoons or more.

The mixture should be thick enough to shape. If it’s not, add more flour, about a tablespoon at a time.

Form the mixture into small balls, about an inch in diameter. Flatten each one, and place a teaspoon of the cottage cheese filling on it, bring the edges up and seal them, shaping the ball into an oval. Place the dumplings into a frying pan with oil and fry until golden brown, for about seven to ten minutes.

Drain on a paper towel, then place on a platter. Serve with sour cream and creamed cottage cheese.


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