Food

Big Issue Recipe Collection: This sweet and tasty Ukrainian vareniki is 'best comfort food ever'

This week's it's a recipe with an international flavour with Ukrainian vareniki via Australia

Ukrainian Vareniki. Image: 2019 freeskyline/Shutterstock

The Big Issue Recipe Collection is bringing together budget-friendly delicious dishes, and this time it goes international. Matt, known as MBK, sells the Big Issue Australia in Melbourne and has submitted this recipe, with roots in his own heritage.

He said: “When I was young, my sister and I would often be at my grandparents’ house. They were Ukrainian immigrants who came to Australia in the 1950s. They may have met in a work camp near Russia at the end of World War II, but that might just be family myth. They knew how to make food
tasty and cheap.

“Sharing this recipe for Ukrainian vareniki, I remember their chrome-edged kitchen table covered intea towels full of vareniki; helping prepare the dough, rolling it and cutting out circles. With the scraps of leftoverdough, we would make a little treat – filled with jam and cooked in the oven. Ukrainian dumplings can be filled with so many different fillings, from sour cherry to sauerkraut. My favourite is potato and cheese. After they were boiled and cooled, we would add butter to a frying pan with chopped onion, lightly fry both sides, then serve hot with lashings of cream on top.

“Last time I made these, I had the first bite and the memories came flooding back – I couldn’t hold back the tears of joy rolling down my cheeks. Best comfort food ever. Slava Ukraini.”

Ingredients (serves 4)

Dough
250g plain flour
ó tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
7-8 tbsp water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Potato filling
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
115g cottage cheese
60g cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Butter, fried onion, spring onion and
cream to serve (optional)

Method 

1. For the dough, place flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add egg yolks and oil into the centre and beat with a fork, slowly incorporating the flour. Add water a little at a time until it forms a dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with a tea towel or bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.

2. For the potato filling, melt butter in a small frying pan on medium heat. Add onion, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, 15 minutes tops. Remove from heat and cool slightly. 

3. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes and cheeses. Add the onion and melted butter and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. 

4. To assemble, divide the dough in half and shape into 2 balls. Keep one covered while working the other ball. On a floured surface, roll out a ball into a very thin sheet, about 3mm thick. Make sure it doesn’t tear. Using an 8cm cookie cutter or an inverted glass, make small circles in the dough. Gather scraps and set aside, covered. Place a heaped teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each circle. Fold the dough in half over the filling to form a semi-circle. Brush the edges with the egg white and pinch edges firmly together with your fingers (or use a fork to seal). Place the vareniki on a lightly floured baking sheet, about an inch apart. Cover with a damp tea towel. Repeat process with second ball of dough. 

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, and carefully lower some of the vareniki into the water. Avoid crowding them. Boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until they rise to the surface and are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the vareniki to a colander. Drain thoroughly. Repeat process with remaining vareniki.

6. Serve tossed in a little butter. Or, once cooled, try frying them slightly on each side with a little butter and onion, then serve with thickened cream and spring onion. Yumbo! Once cooked and fully cooled, they can be frozen.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy!
If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member.
You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play

Support your local Big Issue vendor

If you can’t get to your local vendor every week, subscribing directly to them online is the best way to support your vendor. Your chosen vendor will receive 50% of the profit from each copy and the rest is invested back into our work to create opportunities for people affected by poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
34 places where kids can eat free or for £1 during the summer holidays
kids eat free/ easter holidays
Cost of living crisis

34 places where kids can eat free or for £1 during the summer holidays

'Out of touch': Rishi Sunak urged everyone to 'buy British' food – but there are several big problems
General election 2024

'Out of touch': Rishi Sunak urged everyone to 'buy British' food – but there are several big problems

Special Olympian and COALPIT Welsh Cake founder Michael Benyon shares his favourite recipes
Food

Special Olympian and COALPIT Welsh Cake founder Michael Benyon shares his favourite recipes

World's first fine-dining restaurant staffed by homeless people to open in London
Home Kitchen restaurant is set to be staffed by homeless people in London
Homelessness

World's first fine-dining restaurant staffed by homeless people to open in London

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know

The Big Issue

Sign up to get your FREE Doctor Who Archive Special

Celebrate the 14th series with your FREE edition of the Dr Who Special Archives