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Review of the DVD

"The verbal instructions are beautifully coordinated with visuals, and the chef is a natural teacher: He explains not only the what and the how, but also the why of things he is demonstrating... Moreover, the recipes are presented with the modern cook and the modern kitchen in mind... [The chef's] delivery is friendly and inspires confidence. Instead of being overwhelmed, the viewer is encouraged.... the chef/host is personable and likeable; he smiles a lot and you are actually inclined to smile right back, a definite plus for those of us who see the kitchen as a mysterious labyrinth and culinary arts something akin to voodoo."
"Our Life" magazine, May 2007

Makes a great gift! Perfect recipes for any time of year!

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Instructional Ukrainian Cooking DVD

Ukrainian Christmas Eve

 (Running time: 2 hours 14 minutes)

The Ukrainian Christmas Eve English-language DVD includes the following:

Introduction to Ukrainian Christmas Eve recipes

Host and chef Pavlo Czerwoniak provides a brief introduction to all the delicious Svyat Vecheer (Christmas Eve) recipes that will be prepared in this instructional cooking DVD.

Learn how to make:


An important ceremonial Christmas Eve dish made of boiled wheat grains with poppy seeds, honey, raisins, and walnuts.
It was customary in Ukraine for many families to have the eldest member throw a spoonful of Kutia up to the ceiling; if a lot stuck to the ceiling, then the next harvest would be bountiful. Some families still practice this ancient custom to this day. In rural areas of Ukraine, Kutia was also added to the feed of barn animals in recognition that animals were present at the birth of Christ. Legend has it that animals are able to speak on Christmas Eve.

Dough for Ushka and Varenyky*

Learn a very easy, time-saving method to make the dough for mushroom-, potato- and cabbage-filled dumplings.


These delicious mushroom-filled dumplings, about the size of a walnut, are served in Borshch (beet soup).

Meatless Borshsch (beet soup)*

Although various forms of Borshch are eaten throughout the year, the Christmas Eve version must be meatless. Wild mushrooms give this version of Borshch a wonderfully unique, earthy flavor.

Fish in Aspic*

This dish, customarily made with carp, is prepared using salmon filets. Traditionally served on Christmas Eve, this light and refreshing dish may be prepared any time of year.

Pickled Herring Salad

For the herring lovers out there! A very nice, refreshing salad that rounds out the twelve courses for your Christmas Eve meal.

Potato filling for Varenyky

The potato filling is by far the most popular for dumplings. This very tasty recipe uses no dairy products.

Cabbage filling for varenyky

The cabbage filling is a favorite among traditionalists. The preparation is somewhat time-consuming, but well worth the effort.


This favorite Ukrainian comfort food is prepared without dairy products for Christmas Eve.

Meatless Holubtsee (stuffed cabbage rolls)*

Holubtsee come in many varieties and are a hearty winter meal. For Christmas Eve, these are meatless. This recipe shows the popular rice and mushroom filling. Learn a very quick and easy method of steaming the head of green cabbage for the Holubtsee!

Hryboviy Sos (mushroom sauce)*

A wonderfully smoky and earthy sauce made with porcini mushrooms and onions, the Hryboviy Sos complements Holubtsee and Varenyky very nicely.

Strutslia (braided Christmas bread)*

This braided Christmas bread is customarily used as the centerpiece for the Christmas Eve table. The Strutslia is traditionally not eaten on Christmas Eve, since it contains dairy products, and is saved for Christmas Day.

Uzvar (dried fruit compote)

This refreshing dessert is made with a variety of dried fruits and honey. It's a wonderful dessert year-round!

Medeevnyk (honey cake)

This favorite Ukrainian dessert is customarily saved for Christmas, and not eaten on Christmas Eve, since the recipe calls for dairy products.

Explanation of Ukrainian Christmas Traditions

Host and chef Pavlo Czerwoniak explains the significance of the Christmas Eve meal in the context of Ukrainian Christmas traditions, which include themes from the pagan winter solstice as well as Ukraine's long Christian tradition, dating back to 988 A.D.

Ukrainian Christmas Carols performed on Bandura

The DVD also features traditional Ukrainian Christmas carols performed on bandura by multi-faceted performer and accomplished artist Olya Chodoba-Fryz who has been entertaining audiences for nearly 30 years. The bandura is a unique 58-stringed national musical instrument of Ukraine that resembles the sound of both the lute and harp. For more information on Olya's music, please visit

This DVD also includes printable recipe files and timeline for preparing the dishes (using your PC or Mac).

  1. Insert DVD into your PC or Mac DVD drive.
  2. Go to "My Computer."
  3. Right click on DVD drive (or Ctrl-click the CD icon for Macs).
  4. Click "Open."
  5. Click on "Printable Recipes" PDF file and print out.

* Time-saving methods utilized to prepare these recipes.