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Polish Wheat Berry Dessert Kutia Recipe

Polish dessert Kutia in white bowl.
Kutia brings prosperity and wealth

The Polish wheat berry dessert is a popular dessert that’s served only for Christmas. Traditionally made extremely sweet, you only need a few mouthfuls of kutia!

What Is Kutia? Who Invented The Kutia Recipe?

Kutia or kutiya is a traditional Polish Christmas dessert that was adapted from our Ukrainian neighbors. Especially popular in the Polish boderlands, kutia dessert is also eaten by Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia on Christmas Eve and the Feast Of Jordan. 

The Ukrainian ethnographer Fedir Vovk traced the origins of kutia to the Neolithic era (10,000 BC to 4,500 BC). The pot containing the kutia was placed under the statues of pagan gods during festivals dedicated to deceased family members.

These traditions were incorporated into the East Slavic traditions and kutia became a part of Christmas. Often called ‘God’s dish’, kutia symbolized the unity of generations here and past, and of the victory of life over death. Young kids were often sent to give kutia to their godparents and grandparents.

As a Polish Christmas dessert, kutia wigilijna is eaten on Christmas Eve as the first and last of the twelve Christmas courses. The recipe for kutia should be super sweet. Typically, you will be able to eat only a few spoons of kutia because it’s too sweet to have more.

Polish dessert Kutia in white bowl.
Kutia brings prosperity and wealth

What Is The Meaning Of Kutiya?

Here is an important part – kutia is only served for Christmas, and at no other time in the year. It is eaten before and after the Christmas dinner to symbolize the fertility of land and family, a good harvest, and many newborn cattle in the coming year. 

Some people also eat Kutia at memorial services as a symbol of the resurrection and a celebration of life after death. 

How Is Kutia Made?

The Polish Kutia is really easy to make, it just takes a bit of time.

Rinse the wheat berries and soak overnight in cold water. The next day, replace the water and cook the wheat berries till soft.

At the same time, cook the poppy seeds with milk or water for 30 minutes in another pot. Drain the cooked poppy seeds and run them through the grinder a few times till they’re smooth.

Chop the dried fruit and nuts into smaller bits. Mix the wheat berries, poppy seeds, and dried fruit together, and serve warm or cold!

Nuts and dried fruit in a glass.
Dried fruits and nuts
Chopped dried fruit and nuts in a steel plate.
Chopped dried fruit and nuts with wheat berries, poppy seeds, and honey
Polish wheat berry kutia in a white bowl.
Kutia is made from wheat berries, honey, poppy seeds and nuts

Tips For Making The Polish Christmas Dessert – Kutia

  • It can be served cold or warm.
  • Make the kutia super sweet. Traditionally you only need to eat a few spoons of this Polish dessert.
  • You can replace the walnuts or almonds with any other nuts of your choice. 
  • You can increase or decrease the amount of nuts and dried fruit as you prefer. 
  • Serve the kutia with coffee or a glass of wine!
  • Kutia is vegetarian but can be gluten-free if made with millet instead of wheat. 
  • To make the recipe dairy-free, use almond milk to soak the poppy seeds instead of milk.
Polish Christmas wheat berry dessert.
Kutia is served as the first course of the Christmas dinner!

FAQs About Making Polish Wheat Berry Dessert

How To Pronounce Kutia?

Kutia is pronounced coo-t’ya. It is derived from the Greek word κουκκί which means bean or κόκκος which means grain. 

Is It Possible To Make The Kutia Vegan?

To make the kutia vegan, you can replace the honey with maple syrup and use water instead of milk to soak the poppy seeds. 

What Are There Dishes Similar To Kutia Called In Other Countries?

The sweet dishes made of wheat berries, honey, nuts, and dried fruit exist in many Easter European countries where Orthodox Christianity exists as well as some Middle Eastern countries where Byzantine Christianity existed. It’s called:

  • Kutia in Ukraine
  • Kolivo in Bulgaria
  • Koliva in Greece
  • Coliva in Romania
  • Koljivo in Serbia
  • Cuccia in Sicily
  • Ameh Masslouk in Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan
  • Sochivo in Russia
  • Sliha in Syria

What Is The Difference Between The Polish and Ukrainian Kutia and The Ukrainian Kolyvo?

Kutia and Kolyvo are both similar dishes, but kolyvo is usually made without poppy seeds. Kutia is usually served for Christmas dinners while kolyvo is usually served for memorial services. 

Can I Refrigerate Leftover Kutia?

Yes, transfer the kutia to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days, or freeze for 2 to 3 months. You can thaw the kutia and serve warm or cold.

Polish Wheat Berry Dessert Kutia Recipe

Yield: 10

Polish Wheat Berry Dessert Kutia Recipe

Polish wheat berry kutia in a white bowl.

The Polish wheat berry dessert is a popular dessert that's served only for Christmas. Traditionally made super sweet, just a few mouthfuls of kutia are very satisfying. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of wheat berries
  • 1 cup of poppy seed
  • 6 tbsps of honey
  • 1 cup of crushed nuts and dried fruits of any kind (walnuts, raisins, cranberries, almonds, etc.)
  • ½ cup of candied orange skin dices
  • milk

Instructions

  1. Rinse the wheat berries, then cover them with cold water to soak overnight. The water level should be about 2" above the wheat berries level.
  2. The next day, drain the wheat berries, cover with fresh water again and cook until soft (for about 20-30 minutes).
  3. In a separate pot, cook the poppy seeds in milk for 30 minutes.
  4. Drain the poppy seeds, then grind them a few times.
  5. Crush/ dice the nuts and dried fruits into smaller chunks.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together.
  7. Serve warm or cold.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 26gProtein: 8g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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