- History of fishing in Ukraine
- What are the best dishes made of fish in Ukrainian cuisine?
- Ukrainian Fish Soup Yushka
- Ukrainian Fish Cakes Sichenyky
- Ukrainian Stewed Fish
- Fish fillings in the traditional Ukrainian dishes
- Ukrainian traditional methods of fish preservation
History of fishing in Ukraine
Fishing has been known in Ukraine since ancient times, as settlements were usually located on the banks of large rivers. According to the Etnocook researches, in the settlements of the Trypillia culture (3800-3300 BC), bones and scales of fish, as well as bone fishing hooks and fishing sinkers, were repeatedly found. From the depths of the ages, we have also the remains of nets (fishing nets) and other fishing tools.
The oldest means of fishing in Ukraine was common among many peoples osten or ost’ – two- or three-toothed fish spear. The fisherman went into a shallow river and beat the fish with his thorns and threw it ashore. Sometimes fish were attracted at night by the light of torches. During the Middle Ages, a fish spare continued to be used only in the Carpathians – there were many shallow mountain rivers rich in fish.
The most common means of fishing were a variety of Fishing rods with homemade hooks (from the 19th century began to use factory hooks). They were used primarily by teenagers, as well as adults, for whom fishing was not the main industry.
Trotline (ukr. Peremeta) was also in use – long laces with dozens of bait hooks suspended from them. They were used at the mouths of large rivers. The cord was pulled across the river and fixed on the banks, and the suspended hooks were immersed in water.
Also used Sack – tackle with which the fisherman “scooped” the fish. They were woven from threads in the shape of a conical bag and attached to a wooden handle. Such bags could be caught both from the shore and from a boat or wading.
Fishing, as the main type of economy, was widespread mainly in the southern regions of Ukraine – the lower Dnipro, Southern Bug, Dnister and Prut rivers. Fishing was also the main fishery along Ukraine`s largest river, the Dnipro River.
During the Late Middle Ages and early modern period, fish imported from the Baltic and Black Sea coasts are actively traded in the West of Ukraine. Thus, the rescript of King Władysław IV Vasa mentions the following taxes:
“From a full barrel of fresh fish – 6 grosh (money). From half a barrel – 3 grosh. From the barrel of salted imported fish 6 grosh. From a barrel of Gdansk herring – 6 grosh. From a barrel of Danube herring – 6 grosh.”
What are the best dishes made of fish in Ukrainian cuisine?
The traditional culinary in Ukraine is famous for its dishes made of freshwater fish Crucian Carp, Tench, Bream, Perch, Astacus (Noble crayfish), Catfish, Pike, Gudgeons and others. Ukrainian ancestors valued different types of fish. As the Ukrainian lands were rich with fresh river water and seas, both freshwater and sea fish were cooked.
Ethnick fish dishes in Ukraine
Etnocook draws your attention that there is a plenty variety of healthy ethnic Ukrainian fish recipes. The most popular is a soup made of fish stock, Ukrainian Yushka. Among the second course dishes, the most widespread is a baked fish with Ukrainian herbs that is simply delicious. Actually, the stewed Ukrainian fish, especially with vegetables, is pretty beloved among the population, as well as baked fish dishes in Ukraine.
If you want to preserve fish then there are different recipes on how to do it. For example, the most popular in Ukraine was salted fish. A fancy treat is considered to be a Ukrainian smoked and dried fish.
Besides, fish was used in the Ukrainian cuisine to make Sichenyky, fish filling for Varenyky and Pyrizhky, and for the authentic aspic Holodets.
After reading this article don`t miss these Top 15 Most famous Ukrainian Dishes from Etnocook
Ukrainian Fish Soup Yushka
What is the Ukrainian soup Yushka?
In Ukraine different types of the authentical first course dish Yushka are known since XI century. One of the most popular types of this amazing Ukrainian soup is a Fish Yushka.
“Enough for fish, enough for soup” (Ukrainian proverb)
What Yushka means
The word “Yushka” is a diminutive form of the word “yuha”. The Proto-Slavic form is restored as “uxa, juxa”, which is derived from Proto-Indo-European language ” Yeue-” (“broth”, “liquid food”) and is considered related to Prussian “Juse” (“soup with meat”), Latin “Ius” (“broth”, “juice”, hence also French “jus” and English “juice”), Sanskrit “Yus” (“broth”).
How Ukrainian Cossaks cooked fish dish Yushka
Ukrainian elite warriors Cossacks cooked Yushka made crucian carp, tench, perch, bream, ruffe. The Ukrainian cuisine Etnocook draws your attention, that this food was also used as medicine, because fish is rich in phosphorus and other valuable nutrients. The Ukrainian Cossack`s Fish Soup with cereals was called Shcherba. Also Yushka was served with a special millet and sour rye dough dish Teterya.
Ukrainian Fish Cakes Sichenyky
What is Sichenyk?
Sichenyky (pl., sing Sichenyk) is an ancient Ukrainian dish made of minced fish meat, which is fried, giving it a round or oblong shape.
How to cook Sichenyky
Actually, the Ukrainian recipe of the fish cutlets Sichenyky is very simple. Take raw fish without bones and skin, finely chop, mix with fried onions, peppers, a small amount of white bread or flour, chopped greens. Add raw chicken egg and form a homogeneous viscous mass. After pumping small round cakes into the flour, they are fried in a pan until golden crispy crust and then stewed in the oven until they are done.
Sometimes Sichenyky are cooked in boiling water if baking or frying isn`t appropriate.
There is a very similar Ukrainian dish made of fish Tovchenyky. They are cooked the same way as Sichenyky, but the fish meat is not chopped but crushed in a mortar.
How to eat Sichenyky
Serve the Ukrainian fish cakes Sichenyky hot, top with vegetable oil mixed with crashed garlic, with any vegetables or porridge, Halushky, Varenyky or with a loaf of the traditional Ukrainian rye bread.
Ukrainian Stewed Fish
What is the Ukrainian Stewed Fish?
The Ukrainian Stewed Fish is a very healthy and light dish that is made of fish cooked with a little amount of water in a pot under the lid.
How to make the Ukrainian Stewed Fish
This method to cook a fish is considered to be the most simple. For stewing are taken big pieces of properly cleaned fish, peeled vegetables to taste, and simmered in low temperatures. The Ukrainian fish recipes give different times for different types of fish, but usually, the process doesn`t take more than half an hour.
How to eat the Ukrainian Stewed Fish
Etnocook recommends serving the Ukrainian Stewed fish hot, with melted butter on top, stewed vegetables, buckwheat porridge, and Ukrainian traditional dish Kulish.
Fish fillings in the traditional Ukrainian dishes
Where is the filling made of fish used?
In fact, the fish fillings are widely used in the Ukrainian ethnic recipes such as dumplings Varenyky, Vushka, buns Pyrizhky, Stulenyky, cabbage rolls Holubtsi, and others.
How to make the fish filling for stuffing
For the perfect stuffing made of fish are taken fish fillet, cut onions, Ukrainian herbs sage, parsley, dill to taste, mashed garlic, grounded pepper, salt. It is recommended to add a raw chicken egg, some grated carrots, cooked mushrooms, bread crumbs. Mix all the ingredients properly and the fish stuff is done. Besides, sometimes is used the stewed or boiled fish fillet finally chopped, they can be taken from the leftovers. Add some fish broth or hot water if the stuffing seems too dry.
Ukrainian traditional methods of fish preservation
How the Ukrainian ancestors salted fish
Archaeological researches in the ancient cities of the Galician land (modern territories on the west of Ukraine) have revealed old salt galleries, stone axes and hammers, and even leather sacks in which salt was carried 3,000 years ago.
The earliest written mention of salted fish in Eastern Europe is found in the reports of Herodotus (V century BC) about Scythia (also known as Skytiia, Skifiia) that was situated in the 8th century BC on the territories of modern Ukraine. It spread from the Dunai (Danube) River in the west to the lower Don Basin in the east across the Black sea and steppe lands. Herodotus Greater wrote about fishing the Ukrainian Dnipro river called in ancient times Borysthenes.
“The river Borysthenes… its water is very pleasant to the taste and differs in purity… in it large fish without a backbone, called sturgeons are caught for salting”.- stated the Father of History Herodotus abut fishing traditions in ancient Ukraine.
The Ukrainian method of salting fish is very simple and hasn`t been changed for ages. Fishes are layered with salt and Ukrainian herbs. Big fishes are cleaned and gutted, smaller ones are not processed and usually stay with heads. After this, the traditional Ukrainian recipe recommends placing the fish under the weights for 4-5 days. Salted fish is ready to be served, smoked, or dried.
How to dry the fish as the Ukrainian ancestors did
The method of drying fish is known since ancient times in Ukrainian lands. Etnocook underlines, that the ethnic Ukrainian recipe how to make dried fish stay unchanged. In the season when the weather is not hot but sunny, and nowadays in Northern Hemisphere, these are spring and autumn, the salted fish is washed from the mucus and strung on rope twine. The whole process of drying takes near a month, depending on the weather, size, and type of the fish.
Dehydration in natural conditions will give the fish meat a new delicious texture. Sunlight and air give an adorable flavor and a special taste.
How to smoke fish
The other Ukrainian traditional way to preserve fish was smoking. Historical researches stay that smoking food was practiced by ancient people since the Paleolithic (2.5 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.). And in every Ukrainian household till the nearest past was an oven with a special sector for smoking meat and fish. This was usually done before Winter holidays in autumn. The smouldering material was wood and it had a huge impact on the taste of the finally smoked fish. The fish is taken out of the salt brine, put on the rope, and hang in a special place where the wood shavings slowly smolder it. This can take time, more than a day, but it`s totally worth it. The taste of the Ukrainian smoked fish is incredibly good. The ready product can be preserved for a year or even more.
As we can see from the article, Ukrainian ancestors loved fishing, and this fact we can see from the cooking tradition that is very beloved and well-known among the Ukrainians nowadays.
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