Ukrainian Halushki (Halusky)

This is a favorite dish of the early Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovak immigrants to North America that is still enjoyed today. You will probably find it on the menu if you attend a block party, church bazaar, or county fair in northeastern Pennsylvania coal country. This is authentic Russian comfort food that is so simple to make with everyday ingredients. I rarely go a month without making halushki, because if I do they will start asking for it. Even today, halushki evokes warm memories of our grandmother, my mother, and her sisters cooking, laughing, and feeding the hoards together. If my mother had a head of cabbage, she could feed an army!

Halushki served with vegan sausage and applesauce

Today we try to eat healthier than the original recipes that were handed down to me, but I still want the flavor and the memories. Originally butter was a big part of any Russian meal, but I swapped that out for grapeseed oil and steamed the cabbage and onion instead of frying for lower fat and calories. This recipe is not complicated at all.

Ingredients:

1 head of fresh green cabbage (chopped, not shredded). Discard the bitter core.

1 large onion, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

Place the grapeseed oil in the bottom of a very large pot. Add the chopped cabbage and onion, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper as you add more. You don’t need to add any water, because the cabbage and onion contain enough water to steam the vegetables. Steam and stir occasionally until the mixture cooks down to about half the original volume. (HINT: if you add a couple teaspoons of vinegar you will greatly reduce the cabbage smell that will surely fill your house if you don’t).

Cabbage and onions steaming.

Ingredients for Drop Noodles:

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)

2 large eggs

warm water: 1/2 – 3/4 cup

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl

Make a well in the center and add the eggs. In the same bowl whip up the eggs with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour/salt mixture a little at a time until it looks crumbly. Add just enough warm water to make a soft sticky dough (approximately 1/2 – 3/4 cups water).

Slide the mixture by spoonfuls into the boiling water. (This is the easiest and simplest way to do it. Some people insist that you need a “spaetzel maker,” but that is totally unnecessary. I use two large soup spoons — one holds a portion of dough and the other scrapes bits of dough off the spoon and into the boiling water). Work fast and repeat the process until the noodles are all in the water.

Cook noodles for 10 minutes and drain in a colander. Add the drained noodles to the cabbage/onion mixture and serve.

In a separate pot: noodles cooking in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Dinner is served!

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