Traditional Boykos’ dishes are filling, delicious and plain, especially barley porridge called ‘pentsak’, colostrum pancakes called ‘kolyastra’, cabbage with cumin, beans with vegetables, Carpathian style beans, milk soup called ‘styranka’.
When you are in the mountains potato is your core food and it’s often called ‘second bread’. Boykos use potatoes to cook a lot of unique dishes, for example dumplings filled with cottage cheese (pyrohy), potato pancakes (deruny), tarchanyky with mushroom, meat or cheese filling, grated dumplings with milk, etc.
Traditional Boykos’ cuisine includes mushrooms, which are main ingredient in different sauces, stuffed cabbage rolls (holubtsi), dumplings (varenyky or vushka); they are used as stuffing or prickles. Who would refuse to taste an orange agaric in sour cream, mushroom soup, russula steak, or another Carpathian delicacy mushroom julienne?
All Boykos know that the mushroom for julienne grows in spring, on the tree trunks. If these mushrooms are not collected in time, they get stiff and can no longer be used for cooking purposes. When cooked with oil and onion it becomes a real Boykos’ delicacy.
Mushrooms in sour cream
Boykos are reputable cooks when it comes to meat dishes. Budzhenyna (smoked meat and lard) is their speciality. Boykos could afford such luxury only once or twice a year. Meat is left to soak in marinade for three days, then it’s seasoned with pepper, garlic, salt and paprika. Then it is wrapped in a thin cloth, tied with strings, hooked and placed in a basket to be smoked. In the kitchen they made a fire from dry and wet branches of juniper, pinetree, fir tree and fruit trees. Meat was smoked for 3-4 days. The process itself was time-consuming, but the taste and quality of final product was worth the effort.
Boykos know how to bake meat bread, blood black pudding and home-made fresh meat, dishes with lamb, cumin and wheat.
A Boyko man will not feel full until he tries stewed fat-hen. For a contemporary person this may sound a bit weird but for the Boykos this was their daily food. Red borscht soup with haulm and leaves will satisfy even the most demanding Boykos.
What can be better during winter times than fried peas? Boykos keep dried peas in paper or linen bags in well-ventilated rooms. Before frying peas they soak them in water for 4-5 hours, then filter and fry on a dry pan with a pinch of salt.
Boykos are very industrious people, who work hard and play hard. They are belived to be good singers and as well as good brewers. Boykos make fantastic cherry vodka, rose hips and blackberries liqueur, plum brandy, cherry brandy, cumin and honeydew liqueurs.
Did you know that Boykos have been using health-giving powers of flint since ancient times? A huge stone of flint was passed from generation to generation – it was even put in a barrel with pickles to sit there the whole winter.
I want young people to have healthy diet, so that the future generations of Ukrainians could be strong and healthy.
The materials are the excerpts from the article “Смачна Бойківщина: 12 апетитних бойківських страв” (Delicious Boykos region: 12 yummy dishes of the Boykos people).