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Message from Ukraine – Deruny

“Hello dear reader of Gastro Guide! I’m Irakli Beridze, originally from Adjara. I was born and raised nine kilometers away from Batumi, in the village Tsikareuli, Ortabatumi community. I graduated from Nikoloz Baratashvili Boarding School of Advanced Physics and Mathematics in Salibauri, where I went after early death of my mother. In my case it was a successful decision made by my father as I spent positive months and met lots of valuable people there.

Then I went to the Pedagogical College and Batumi Maritime Academy, Faculty of “Navigation of Maritime Roads”. I worked on various types of merchant vessels, thanks to which I became acquainted with the port cities of thirty countries, local people and their mode of life, including culinary and customs. Probably that is why I am so communicative and conflict-free, in which my knowledge of foreign languages ​​- Russian and English - helped me.  When I was promoted to the rank of Captain’s assistant, one of challenges influenced my decision to change my profession. You will probably ask whether I miss the sea and ship?! Certainly, yes, but I have found myself in another field now and I want to devote my efforts to its development and refinement, learn and teach.

On November 15, 2014, after my friend told me “Let’s start our business”, I arrived in Ukraine, in   Lviv with beautiful architecture and history, which is even referred to as the cultural capital of this country.

Here I met and married Oksy Wozniak, Ukrainian chef, brand chef and food photographer. Three years later, on November 15, we had a daughter, Nicole. We are currently rebranding restaurants with different concepts, at the same time we are working in the positions of brand chef and chef in the restaurant of French and Italian cuisine “Baguette”.

 

In which region do you live? Tell us about traditional and distinctive dishes of this region.

The region where I live is called Galichina, it represents an excellent example of the historical and cultural heritage of Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, Romania and Hungary on the territory of western Ukraine. This is due to the fact that these countries bordered on the country in many cases, have been carrying out expansion on this territory. Lviv Oblast is an important part of Galicia, it is about the same size as Georgia. The main culinary direction is Galician, i.e. it unites the best cuisines of the countries that still border North-Western Ukraine.

Probably few people in Georgia know that besides lard, borshch and vareniki, Ukrainian cuisine is rich with many other interesting dishes. Each region has its own dishes due to its peculiarities, including a very interesting place is occupied by Galician region.

 

Nowhere do they bake such fragrant and delicious Austrian strudels with different ice creams and vanilla lemon sauces as here.

The pride of proud Carpathian mountains “banusz” with sheep brynza, dried and raw white mushrooms and roasted ham is not inferior to Georgian Ghomi with cheese. Pork ribs stewed in a tandem of young beets and cherries in beet kvass, the so-called “Spundra” is a celebration of tastes.

Four meats “Bograch” and chicken “Paprikash” with goulash will tell you the story of Transcarpathia while eating them. Exquisite Czech potato dumplings with egg whites and cabbage pickle “Bigos” with smoked plum sauce with beef roll is a gastronomic bliss! Here are the dishes “a kind for” the poor and “by the way” for the rich, Ukrainian Deruny with minced meat and mushroom sauce and Polish soup, rescuer from hangover “żurek”, sorrel green borscht and cabbage pickle and pork "Kapusniak", wide range of sausages, especially sausage made from “Drogobych” minced meat and “Krovianka” with buckwheat filling, shin marinated in beer and apple pickle “Мочені яблука”. The culmination is a dessert however, a unique alliance of the famous Lviv cheese “Sirnik”, dried apricots and chocolate.

 

Which dishes do you prepare for the family more often?

At the age of nine, my mother passed away giving me a birth, due to doctors or her negligence. We were seven children ​​in the family, my father worked, and I had to take care of the little ones, I really liked cooking, I often helped my mother and grandmother. I asked them questions and mastered cooking this way. I had a different vision from the beginning and I never hid it from anyone. Even now, when I have my own family, I try to provide them with healthy and useful food, I give preference Pkhaleuli from Georgian cuisine. If I cook meat I definitely prefer baked or steamed meat. Chakapuli and Khinkali, Adjarian Khachapuri on buckwheat flour and salads with pressed Matsoni   orange cedar sauces. I often make Adjarian Pkhalobia cooked on beef broth with yellow corn flour Mchadi. Three-year-old Nicole is celebrating then shouting “I want Chadi, Chadi”.

 

Who is your source of culinary inspiration?

Probably my grandmother and the uniquely bitter or sweet years spent with her in the village, as well as childhood memories. In fact, she raised me and my sisters and brothers. She cooked amazingly delicious food,   “Neni this is due to Imeretian blood” she used to say. She mostly cooked in the fireplace, on a firewood emitting smoke, over a slow fire. She used cherry or pear wood firewood for meat dishes, barley or blueberry firewood when baking beans, Khachapuri or Machadi. Their specific and aromatic smoke added a special touch to the dish prepared in a copper kiln or cast iron pan. She used to wrap garlic in a bunch of corn with various spices and boil. She called it “Gakochili”, in modern language it is a sous vide technology.

 

Please tell us about your future plans.

I am thinking of establishing myself in Georgia in the future. I would like to make ,y contribution in the popularization of Georgian cuisine, presenting it not only as a gastronomy, but also as a Georgian cultural heritage.

Any chef thinks about opening his or her own restaurant. I only have some general outlines in this regard, my plans are based more on ethno concept. I think the right theme and a team of professionals should create a product that will not only attract foreign guests, but also the local customer will feel happy to visit it all year round and get unforgettable emotions.

The dish we have chosen for the gastronomic guide readers is easy to make and is much liked by big or small ones.

The history of the origin of Deruny is attributed to the proximity of Ukraine to Belarus, due to its resemblance to the Belarusian Draniks. In Belarus it was spread from Germany in its turn, although Ukrainian cuisine had no lack of dishes prepared with potatoes. Deruny has its name in different parts of the world: Plyatsky, Kliotsky, Kartoplianki, Tertzi, and many other names evidences the fact that it is a dish created independently of the Germans. The full version of its preparation was first published in Jana Schitler’s culinary book in 1832, and the recipe included a mass of finely or coarsely grated potatoes and flour made in pork fat “Smalec”. It has undergone certain transformation over time and other ingredients have been added to it. Deruny gained universal recognition in the 1930s, when “Holodomor” was raging in the country.  Today millions of kilograms of Deruny are made in Ukraine, with lots of sauces or stuffing. There is also a Deruny Festival, where chefs invited from all over the country compete with each other to make a budget, creative and delicious Deruny. 70% of the two million tourists who come to Lviv consider Deruny to be the best dinner, just like my family. 

 

Deruny with mushroom sauce

Ingredients: (per 1 kg mass)

730 g peeled potatoes

50 g bread flour

4 eggs

200 g onions

5 g   salt

1 g black pepper

50 g sour cream

 

Peel off the potatoes, remove the starch as much as possible and add sour cream so that the mass does not get black. Then add the finely chopped onion and the rest of the ingredients. Pour oil on a well-heated pan and put the mass with a tablespoon, cook over medium heat, on both sides, until crispy. We can fry both small and whole ones, put in the stuffing that we want and then fold it.

Cover the surface of the remaining mass with flour and seal it. It is desirable to keep it for no more than two hours. Before use, remove the flour cover and fry. It is usually eaten with sour cream, but is also served with mushroom and cream sauces.

You can also prepare meat Deruny. Put the desired minced meat in the center of the mass poured on the pan and pour the same mass and flatten the surface.

Mushroom and cream sauce:

100 g finely chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic

50 g oil

Thyme one pack

200 g mushrooms

100 g cream

Pepper and salt to taste

 

We squeeze the garlic into small pieces, fry thyme and onion into the hot oil. When onions are stewed, remove garlic and thyme, add medium-sized mushrooms. As soon as the mushrooms are stewed, add pepper and salt, finally cream, bring to a boil and set aside. Blend if desired.

Enjoy.