Ukrainian Christmas Kutia

Kutia is the main dish on Ukrainians’ Christmas table. It has a special significance and Holy Dinner begins with it. Kutia is also called God’s dish. It is cooked of decorticated wheat grains, poppy seeds, honey, walnuts and raisins. This dish is a symbol of unity of generations: past ones and coming ones. Also, it is a symbol of life victory over death. Wheat grains are life which comes to the end and revives.

Poppy seeds are souls of deceased ancestors. Honey is an ancient symbol of Christianity and it becomes a symbol of the Good News that Jesus, World Savior, is Born. Therefore, kutia is a very ancient a symbolic dish on the festive table. The tastier kutia is the higher prosperity will be at your home. A soup plate with kutia is to be placed in the middle of a table. Entire family should taste kutia from one plate as this is a symbol of a family unity. A separate small plate with kutia is to be placed on a window sill for deceased ancestors whose souls come for Holy Dinner this night.


1½ cups decorticated wheat (wheat berries)

1 cup poppy seeds

4 tablespoons honey

½ cup raisins

½ cup decorticated walnuts

½ cup boiled water

4 tablespoons sugar


  • Soak wheat berries for few hours in cold water. After that, pour the water out. For 1 part of wheat we take 2 parts of water (1:2 proportion). Put wheat into boiling water, add ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Do not mix wheat while boiling. Simmer wheat under lid.
  • After water boils way, put wheat into hot oven for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse poppy seeds and steam it with boiling-hot water for few hours. Push the poppy seeds through a food grinder. Add sugar and honey.
  • Grind walnuts, steam raisins and strain off.
  • Add some boiled water into cool wheat, add poppy seeds, raisins and walnuts. Mix everything and put into clay bowl.

Recipe from our Pochaiv Site Director, Halyna Mykytiuk