Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kutia - a welcome post :)

Hi everyone :)

I wanted to start this blog for a very long time and I started thinking about it seriously about a month ago, hoping I start it before Christmas. It didn't work. This way my first recipes will be post-christmas christmas dishes, but nobody says you can't try it for New Year's Eve :)

I'm a big food blog fan and my goal - as well as my friend's Kassandra - is to promote polish kitchen among vegans and others sympathizing :) Our kitchen has lots of recipes that even don't need veganizing, as well as some amazing food that require just few modifications. I hope you'll find here some inspirations; we'll be posting traditional recipes as well as some not-so-original ones that are popular in Poland (like tomato soup; I can't imagine how is it possible to cannot make a tomato soup, but it seems there are some people unaware of it's existence).

The first recipe is a classic Christmas sweet treat: kutia. It's originated in eastern part of Poland and for so I didn't know it for a very long time (I'm from the western part) till I started my studies and my flatmates taught me make it. From then on, it's my favourite and I always make lots of kutia and eat for breakfast for a week :D

What do we need: the base is cooked wheat, the whole grains, not flour or bran. Other basic ingredients are poppy seeds, soaked in hot water and crushed, then some nuts and dried fruits of your choice - my recipe calls for dried fruits traditionally used in Poland, but don't let it stop you from adding your favourites (my kutia always contain some papaya cubes). The last traditional ingredient is honey; I substitute it with artificial honey, a communist-times mercancy that had survived till our times to my vegan joy. If you can't buy it, which is very probable, you can mix half maple syrup and half agave nectar - that will give you a similar flavour - or just forget it and use any liquid sweetener you have.

The Recipe:

1 cup dry wheat grains

1/2 cup dry poppy seeds

1/2 to 1 cup of nuts of your choice - traditionally we use wallnuts and hazelnuts
1/2 to one cup of dried fruits - prunes, apples, pears, peaches, raisins, orange zest and apricots
2 to 5 T of artificial honey ar any liquid sweetener

optional: 2-3 cups of soymilk

First you soak the wheat overnight in a large bowl. Next day you cook it till it's edible - the grains shouldn't be soft in the outside nor sticky, but while chewing they shouldn't taste like flour. Drain the wheat and pour some cold water to prevent it from sticking; let it cool.

Take 2 cups of water/soymilk and make it boil; take off the oven and pour the poppy seeds into, cover and let it sit for one hour, it will make them softer. After and hour drain it well and blend. There will surely be a problem with blending, but it actually depends of you, how crushed you want the seeds. I like it almost uncrushed, so I never care about blending; just try some and tell if you like the feeling of poppy seeds scratching between your teeth or not :)

Chop the nuts and cut the fruits into tiny pieces, like in a fruit cake.

Mix everything altogether: the wheat, poppy seeds, nuts & fruits and add half of the honey; cover everything with it and try. If you want your kutia sweeter or there's not enough honey to cover everything, add the rest of your sweetener. Done!

You can eat it right away or store in a cool place (a fridge is the best option, just cover it well, if you don't want it to smell of other food); keeps a week to 10 days. Kutia is a great and quite cheap party food; also easy to turn raw, if you're sure that the wheat can be eaten uncooked (poppy seeds surely are).