This is by far Claudia’s favourite Ukrainian dish. Kutia is always served as the first of the twelve traditional meatless dishes during Christmas Eve. Served cold, Kutia is essentially a sweet wheat soup. I’m not going to lie. I don’t like this stuff at all. It has taken Claudia 32 years to get me on board with Kutia and she has yet to succeed. Every Christmas Eve it’s the same discussion:

Claudia: “Jaime, look it’s your favourite – I can’t wait for you to try some Kutia. It’s so good”

Jaime: “No.”

Claudia: “On come ON! It’s so good! You’re Ukrainian, it’s part of your heritage.”

Jaime: “No.”

Don’t get me wrong, everyone else I know loves this stuff. But for some strange reason (probably my stubbornness) I skip this and go straight for the Borsch. It really is amazing that I am still invited over for Christmas every year with my behaviour. So please, do not take my word on how delicious this traditional dish is. If you ask 99.9% of Ukrainians, they love it. I have always had a unique side to me.

To cook wheat:

Dry wheat in 205F oven for 1 hour, stir occasionally.

Wash, soak in cold water overnight. Next morning, bring wheat to boiling point in 11 – 12 cups of water, simmer 3-4 hours (or more), until kernels burst open.

They should look like image above and below.

Mmm…wheat.

To prepare the poppy seeds (sorry I don’t have any images of this process):

Scald poppy seed, simmer 3-5 minutes.

Drain, grind twice using the finest blade of food chopper.

Add ground poppy seeds to wheat.

Combine honey and hot water.

Add to wheat.

We’re almost there!

Finally add your roughly chopped pecans.

Serve in a Ukrainian dish and enjoy!

Although I don’t eat it, Christmas Eve really wouldn’t be the same in our house without this dish.

Claudia is pretty darn excited.

Kristos Rozdiatzia!

Kutia
A traditional cold Ukrainian wheat soup, served as the first of 12 traditional meatless dishes during Christmas Eve
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Prep Time
4 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Prep Time
4 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
4 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pint (2 cups) cooked wheat
  2. 11-12 cups water (to boil wheat)
  3. 6 tablespoons ground poppy seeds
  4. 1/4 cup honey
  5. 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
  6. 3/4 cup hot water
Instructions
  1. To cook the wheat, dry wheat in 205 Fahrenheit oven for 1 hour, stir occasionally. Wash, soak in cold water overnight. Next morning, bring wheat to boiling point in 11-12 cups of water, simmer 3-4 hours, (or more) until kernels burst open.
  2. To prepare the poppy seeds, scald poppy seed, simmer 3-5 minutes. Drain, grind twice using the finest blade of food chopper.
  3. Add ground poppy seeds to wheat.
  4. Combine honey and hot water. Add to wheat.
  5. Add your roughly chopped pecans.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Claudia's Cookbook http://www.claudiascookbook.com/

53 Comments on Kutia

  1. Marsha
    January 6, 2012 at 6:00 PM (5 years ago)

    What kind of wheat? I am of Ukrainian descent but my mother would just call it “Ukrainian wheat”. Is is bulghur? Where in the United States do you get it? I go through this every Sviati Vecher and have made kutia with every kind of wheat I can find but I know I have not yet used the right stuff. Help!!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 6, 2012 at 6:37 PM (5 years ago)

      We get our wheat from a small bakery in rural Manitoba. It is the whole kernel wheat. Not split, or halved, and it’s not bulgar. Just straight whole kernel wheat. We’re from Canada, so I am not sure where you could get it in the USA, but local bakeries, organic or health foods places may have it, or even meat markets might sell it, as they do here. Even bulk stores, like Bulk Barn sometimes carry it. Polish or Russian markets may carry it. Some people/places call it “Wheat Berries”. I hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Louise Bichler
        December 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM (3 years ago)

        Do you have to soak the wheat, can you just cook it longer. My father was Ukrainian. I have made it before.

        Louise (Kit) Bichler

        Reply
  2. Trish
    January 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM (5 years ago)

    I buy wheat berries to make kutia….here in States lots of stores carry them -Whole Foods, health food stores and I have even purchased them at regular grocery stores. Bob’s Red Mill I think packages them and there is a new one called Earthly Delights from Idaho – Grown in USA – I came across them and tried them – they come already parboiled which is kinda different. I thought they were good but not quite as good for kutia that way. But for quick salads it is great because it doesn’t take so long to prepare them. sorry i am writing so much—just trying to help the next person that comes across that is a novice to wheat berries like I used to be!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM (5 years ago)

      Thank you very much for the info Trish! Write as much as you want πŸ™‚

      ________________________________

      Reply
      • lesja
        January 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM (5 years ago)

        I tried the wheat berries and they didn’t pop open like your picture does,and it was more chewy. I read to dry them in the oven 1st for an hour @250, I’m going to try that next time.Thank you for your picts and recipies-you’re so sweet.

        Reply
        • Claudia's Cookbook
          January 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM (5 years ago)

          Yes, drying them is important before soaking. Thanks for sharing! Let me know how the second time works out.

          Reply
    • MarshaCroft
      January 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM (5 years ago)

      If you buy wheat berries do you have to dry them in the oven and soak them overnight, or are they “ready to go”?

      Reply
      • Claudia's Cookbook
        January 11, 2012 at 7:52 PM (5 years ago)

        Hi Marsha – the blog post details that you do have to dry them and soak them overnight. “Dry wheat in 205F oven for 1 hour, stir occasionally. Wash, soak in cold water overnight. Next morning, bring wheat to boiling point, simmer 3-4 hours, until kernels burst open.” I believe “wheat” and “wheat berries” are basically the same and have seen other recipes that use “wheat berries” use the same drying and soaking method. Hope this helps!

        Reply
  3. Katya
    May 31, 2013 at 1:20 AM (4 years ago)

    Pronounced “koo TYA”, not “cha” :).

    Reply
  4. Pat Tucker
    July 9, 2013 at 1:28 AM (4 years ago)

    In the USA, the Polish deli’s/stores carry this around the Christmas holiday…it’s called “cracked white wheat”, no brown shell on it…you can also purchase it at Middle Eastern stores all year round. I rinse then soak the cracked wheat for one hour, drain, then bring salted water to boil, add cracked wheat, bring back to boil, then simmer till it bursts open, ‘do not overcook’…drain, rinse lightly to rid of starchiness. Add honey to taste, Solo brand canned poppyseed to liking, chopped walnuts, not coarse/broken, our family likes a lot of nuts…eat warm or cold. Found some families at my church subsituted barley…nope, not the same.

    Reply
  5. Mag
    December 11, 2013 at 11:39 PM (4 years ago)

    Hi, Kutia is not only Ukrainian Christams dish. It’s very popular over Bielorussia, Poland, Carpathians region etc. Regarding wheat – you can buy it online. This wheat has less of its outer, though shell, and is especially prepared to cook it fast http://www.eko-kraina.com.pl/pszenica-kutie-400g-babalscy-p-291.html , http://jawo2008.pl/pl/p/Pszenica-na-KUTIE.-KUTIA.-500g/394 . Ask in Polish deli or look for at ebay. Common wheat grain must be soaked for at least 24h and then cooked for an hour or longer. Also a prepared, preboiled wheat does great, in spite it doesnt pop up http://www.french-supermarket.com/en/starches/419-ebly-ble-gourmand-500g.html
    The classic recipe calls for nuts, but pecans were unknown in Europe, so use rather walnuts or, better, roughly ground/chopped hazelnuts. For “rich” version you may add chopped confited orange peel, almonds and almond essence. I love this dish the nex day, when all the ingredients blend perfectly, ar even 48h after Xmas, if it last…:)
    Kutia symbolizes a good beginning, health and wealth for all the next year. The recipe comes from wheat sheafs every farmer used to put both inside the cleaned, prepared for celebration, recently painted house and outside, in the garden/field for birds and animals to feed at the longest winter night. The home’s shaf used to be decorated with apples, nuts and dried poppy heads, and was considered the same as nowaday’s Xmas tree, that came from Germany, but much earlier then the tree.
    I hope it helps πŸ™‚ Happy Christmas!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much for the info Mag! Happy Holidays to you and your family!! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Erena
    December 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM (4 years ago)

    I boiled and boiled for 5 hours and the wheat berries opened some
    It was thick as you say but they are chewy what the heck am I doing wrong???

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM (4 years ago)

      It sounds like you’re doing it right Erena. It does take a long time for the wheat berries to open. The texture is supposed to be somewhat chewy, even after you mix in the honey sugar water, poppy seeds and nuts. Does your Kutia look different than the pics we posted? If you dried the wheat berries in the oven and soaked overnight, that should do the trick.

      Reply
  7. Merle Fenwick
    December 22, 2013 at 10:37 PM (4 years ago)

    How many cups in a pint. I thought a pint is a liquid measure. Thanks

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 23, 2013 at 1:35 AM (4 years ago)

      2 cups.

      Reply
  8. Iryna Wilson
    April 7, 2014 at 9:12 PM (3 years ago)

    My family recipe prepares the same recipe above but omits the water and sugar and we use only liquid honey, maybe 1/2 cup. 1 cup poppy seeds prepared as above and 1 tsp grated orange rind, a squeeze of orange juice, 1/2 tsp almond extract and chopped maraschino cherries with a tbsp of cherry juice as well and we add golden raisins along with the pecans.

    Amazing the next day!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      April 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM (3 years ago)

      Sounds delicious Iryna! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Ane Skale
    December 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM (3 years ago)

    I am making kutya for the first time for 5th graders . Cant wait to see what the expressions on their face .They are all from different ethnic backgrounds, im excited to see all their little expressions. Will share my experience with you. Wish me luck.

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM (3 years ago)

      That’s great Ane! I am so curious to see if they like it! Good luck!

      Reply
  10. Rebecca
    December 22, 2014 at 9:26 PM (3 years ago)

    The household got the flu shortly before the holiday. We traditionally celebrate Christmas on the 25th, but this year we chose to postpone the holiday until Jan. 7th. Our Ukrainian heritage is on our mothers side. It works out even better this year because the guests that were to come to our house this Christmas also have some Ukrainian blood. I plan on making this dish to add to the meal. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 22, 2014 at 9:31 PM (3 years ago)

      I hope you and your family feel better soon Rebecca! Let us know how you like the recipe. Happy (healthy) Holidays to you!

      Reply
      • Rebecca
        January 6, 2015 at 8:02 PM (2 years ago)

        Well everyone tried it, and there was mixed emotions. Two people thought it was really good, three thought it was OK, and the rest had a spoon full or so.
        I thought it was good except I think I’ll cut down from 6 TBSP of poppy seeds to 4 TBSP next time since it was a bit strong on the poppy seeds flavor for me.
        The wheat I used was Bobs red mill soft white wheat. (1 cup dry wheat berries to make 2 cups cooked. They opened up like the pictures, and were so sweet tasting before adding anything else.)
        I even gave the dogs a few wheat kernels (which they loved) since tonight, legend has it, the animals can talk. πŸ™‚ anyway, thanks again for the wonderful recipe, i’ll be making this again

        Reply
        • Claudia's Cookbook
          January 6, 2015 at 8:38 PM (2 years ago)

          Thanks for sharing Rebecca! Yes, Kutia is not my personal favourite, so I can understand the mixed reactions πŸ™‚ Love that the dogs got a treat too! Regardless, I’m very happy to hear it turned out and you were able to find the wheat berries!

          Reply
  11. irene s. pyskir-bilak
    December 28, 2014 at 2:27 PM (3 years ago)

    I usually have no problem with my kutia. This year I bought “soft wheat” and the kernels got hard on the second day? Why? Can I cook the kutial in its already made stage to make the kernels soft?

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 28, 2014 at 9:34 PM (3 years ago)

      Not too familiar with “soft wheat” as we don’t use it, sorry.

      Reply
  12. Marty Chuchmuch
    January 1, 2015 at 10:33 PM (2 years ago)

    when you buy poppy seed, it already looks so fine, do you still have to grind it?

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 1, 2015 at 10:36 PM (2 years ago)

      Yes, we grind it and recommend it. It makes a difference in consistency.

      Reply
  13. Stacie
    January 3, 2015 at 12:53 PM (2 years ago)

    We adopted our daughter from Ukraine over 10 years ago and every year I attempt to provide a Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal. I am not Ukrainian and have had no one to explain techniques on how to make some of these recipes. I cannot thank you enough for the instructions for cabbage rolls and Kutia. I had no idea where to buy wheat—now I can! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 3, 2015 at 12:59 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Stacie! It’s so wonderful you are keeping the Ukrainian culture and traditions alive for your daughter. Thank you so much for sharing. You have no idea how much it means to us that we can help you and your family connect with food and bring a sense of ‘home’ to your daughter. All the best to you!

      Reply
  14. Lyana
    January 3, 2015 at 5:19 PM (2 years ago)

    Fabulous! So glad I found this detailed recipe. I love Kutia and I make the rest of my American-Ukrainian family have at least one spoonful at Christmas dinner. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 3, 2015 at 5:21 PM (2 years ago)

      I’m so glad you found us, Lyana! My family pushes the spoonful of Kutia on me too each Christmas πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  15. Yevhen
    January 4, 2015 at 6:55 AM (2 years ago)

    Thanks for the recipe. I live in England and I’m on Kutia duty this year. I have some “Split Wheat” – and cannot find what exactly this is. Have you heard of this and will it be OK for Kutia?
    I have Googled and looked at the wholesalers website with no luck.
    Thank you and “Smachnoyji Kuti”.

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 5, 2015 at 3:57 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Yevhen! Best of luck with Kutia duty! I’m not overly familiar with split wheat and we haven’t used it. We use whole kernel wheat. Some others have used Wheat Berries, so you may be able to find it under that name. Good luck!

      Reply
  16. Bojana
    March 30, 2015 at 3:15 AM (2 years ago)

    I am from Macedonia and my mother makes something similar. We call it “boiled wheat”. No drying in the oven, no soaking, but after a few hours of cooking my mother wraps the pot in a blanket to keep it warm longer and the kernels become soft. We add sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. I haven’t eaten this for a long time. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      March 30, 2015 at 9:19 AM (2 years ago)

      You are welcome Bojana! Thanks for sharing your traditional recipe as well! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Jessica
    April 1, 2015 at 11:09 AM (2 years ago)

    I always skip out on the kutia too! Why waste tummy space on that when you can fill it with borscht, varenyky, and nalysnyky! As a Ukrainian/Canadian girl myself, I 100% relate with and love your blog! Thanks for helping to keep the heritage alive! I am having a little girl and she will be Darka Katharina after her Babas. So glad I came across this today!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      April 1, 2015 at 3:10 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Jessica! Wow, thank you so much for your lovely comment and sharing your story. Congrats on the little one! How very exciting for you. I love the name Darka. Now you will have to compile all your Ukrainian recipes for her one day πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Susan B
    December 13, 2015 at 10:07 AM (2 years ago)

    Love your recipes! They are so similar to my Grandma Jennie’s recipes, which makes sense since she was from Saskatchewan too (Preeceville and Carrot River).

    I can’t wait to try Kutya this year with nuts chopped into it. We always leave the poppy seeds whole so they have a great pop in your mouth as you chew.

    Grandma always said to use Winter Hard Wheat because it produced the best Kutya.

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      December 14, 2015 at 7:03 PM (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for sharing Susan! Kutia is definitely not my fav, but reminds me so much of my family that I can’t help but love it πŸ™‚ Happy Holidays to you and your family!

      Reply
  19. Shannon
    December 24, 2015 at 11:20 AM (2 years ago)

    Do you drain the water after cooking the wheat?

    Reply
  20. Brenda
    January 1, 2016 at 11:05 PM (1 year ago)

    Can you freeze this dish?
    How many days ahead can it be made?
    Thanks
    Brenda

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 1, 2016 at 11:11 PM (1 year ago)

      I would not recommend freezing this dish. You can make this the night before.

      Reply
      • Marlene
        December 19, 2016 at 11:22 PM (6 months ago)

        My Mother and I have successfully frozen containers of Kutia (minus nuts)…have had it in the freezer until next Christmas

        Reply
  21. Nadia
    January 7, 2016 at 2:29 PM (1 year ago)

    How much water do you use to boil the wheat? If the water runs low do you add more? How do you make sure it doesn’t burn while cooking?
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 9, 2016 at 9:28 PM (1 year ago)

      11-12 cups of boiling water. It will definitely not burn with that amount of water.

      Reply
    • Claudia's Cookbook
      January 9, 2016 at 9:37 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Nadia – sorry about that. We boil the wheat in 11 – 12 cups of water. You definitely won’t run out of water. But yes, if by chance you do, add a bit more until the kernels are cooked and burst open.

      Reply
  22. H. Prestie
    January 7, 2017 at 9:12 PM (6 months ago)

    Today is Ukrainian Christmas and I have enjoyed Kutia for the first time in my home. It was a success, but I made enough for 20 people. What am I supposed to do with all the left overs. I don’t think I can eat it all and have nobody to share with. My girlfriend hates it(English). So, aside from freezing it, how long will it keep in the fridge without the trimmings (sugar, honey etc.)?

    Reply
  23. StephenX
    June 22, 2017 at 6:53 AM (6 days ago)

    I must say you have high quality articles here.
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