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375 ml (1/2 cup) wheat berries (kernels), soaked in warm water for 24 hours, then strained
1.125 litre (4 1/2 cups) water
190 ml (3/4 cup) poppy seeds
150 ml (2/3 cup) sliced roasted almonds
125 ml (1/2 cup) honey
150 ml (2/3 cup) chopped dried apricots
125 ml (1/2 cup) raisins
pinch of salt
dash of ground cinnamon
- Combine wheat kernels and water in medium pot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 3 hours.
- Add more liquid as needed to keep kernels covered.
- Scald poppy seeds with boiling water, drain, and cover with warm water.
- Soak poppy seeds 30 minutes, drain and grind in a food processor; set aside.
- Drain wheat kernels, keeping 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the liquid.
- Add honey to liquid and mix well.
- Mix kernels, honey, ground poppy seeds, almonds, apricots, raisins and salt.
- Bake at 162°C (325°F) in a 2-litre casserole dish, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Serve warm or chilled, sprinkled with cinnamon. Kutya is best when made several days ahead.
After their big dinner, the family sings Ukrainian Christmas carols. It is not traditional to exchange gifts at Christmas, although many now do. December 19, St. Nicholas Day according to the Orthodox calendar, is the traditional day for giving gifts.