This Wheat Berry Pudding is a traditional Ukrainian Christmas dish, also known as Kutia. Ukrainian Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on January 7th. Merry Ukrainian Christmas everyone! :)Traditionally, they would attend overnight church service, and feast on Christmas day, singing carols and eating Kutia. No Santa Clause on Christmas, and no gifts! I’ve also read that there was an odd tradition back in a days, people would toss Kutia upwards to the ceiling, and the amount that would stick to the ceiling would indicate how successful next year’s harvest will be (Source). Neither my mom, nor grandma remember this tradition, but significance of having Kutia in the house for Christmas is great to this day.
There are very many variations of Kutia. Some use milk or almond milk instead of water. Hazelnuts can be used instead of walnuts. Any kind of dried fruits can be used as a substitute or in addition to raisins. Maple syrup can be used in place of honey. The recipe that I’m sharing is a traditional, basic, five ingredients only, easy recipe that anyone can make and enjoy. And no, we did not adapt the weird tradition of throwing Kutia upwards 🙂 In fact, I have my own tradition now. I serve Kutia for breakfast any time of the year, because its healthy, and filling, and it can be done ahead of time. Stays fresh for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. What’s not to like?
2 cups wheat berries, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 + 1/2 cup poppy seeds
2 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup honey
8 cups water (not shown)
In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine wheat berries, water and a pinch of salt (optional), and bring to boil. Cover and cook until tender, about 2 + 1/2 hours over low heat. Meanwhile, soak poppy seeds in hot water for about 1 hour. After that, drain the water thru a fine mesh strainer. Grind poppy seeds on food grinder or using a clean coffee grinder until white “milk” appears. Soak raisins in hot water for 20 minutes, drain the water. Toast walnuts, chop. When wheat berries are ready, let them cool down completely. Combine wheat berries, poppy seeds, walnuts, and raisins.
Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!
- 2 cups wheat berries, rinsed and soaked overnight
- 1 + 1/2 cup poppy seeds
- 2 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup honey
- 8 cups water
- In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, combine wheat berries, water and salt, and bring to boil.
- Cover and cook until tender, about 2 + 1/2 hours over low heat.
- Meanwhile, soak poppy seeds in hot water for about 1 hour
- Drain the water thru a fine mesh strainer.
- Grind poppy seeds on food grinder or using a clean coffee grinder until white "milk" appears
- Soak raisins in hot water for 20 minutes, drain the water
- Toast walnuts, chop
- When wheat berries are ready, let them cool down completely
- Combine wheat berries, poppy seeds, walnuts, raisins
- Add honey
- Serve warm or cold
Where do you find wheat berries in the store?
Hi, and welcome! You can find Wheat Berries at Winco Food, Food Coop, Whole Foods, usually in bulk section. I just looked it up, Walmart carries it as well.
Very interesting. I think I don’t know what wheat berries are, but the whole thing sounds super healthy and delicious. A Super Food! 🙂
Yes, a super food! Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernels. Barley is very similar in texture and is a perfect substitution for wheat berries.
The ceiling, really?! Seriously?! I was LOLing. That sounds so weird. I’m from Ukraine but come from not a very traditional or religious family, so we didn’t celebrate Orthodox Christmas. So, I never had kutya. Sounds like a healthy breakfast for sure. What are wheat berries in Russian?
Appears, that this was an old days tradition, we didn’t do it, I didn’t even like Kutia when lived in Ukraine. I just thought I’d share how significant having Kutia in a house used to be for people back then. Wheat Berries are whole wheat kernels, “Пшеничные зёрна” in Russian. I discovered Kutia for myself just recently, and just keep making it over and over again. Love it!
Oh i just found this and had to comment! I remember eating Kutia for Ukrainian Christmas growing up! Cept my mom’s was a bit more liquidier and don’t think she ground up the poppy seeds. We used to call this dish rubber balls lol. I might try making this for my boys someday. Thank you so much for the reminder of time long past ❤
Hi Marianne! Thank you so much for taking time to comment. This Kutia is so easy to make, and in my house, I make it on a regular basis. Its a very filling and healthy breakfast idea. 🙂