Carollers go house to house and act out a small play with a man dressed in women's clothing leading everyone. This holiday caps off Christmas festivities and despite how cold the Ukraine is, symbolizes the celebration of Spring.
The story of Malanka tells how Spring is now released from captivity and how her arrival brings flowers and greenery back to life again.
I see the first snow that has fallen in Victoria when I look out my window, so I am not sure if Spring was released here yet, but I am sure hoping she comes soon.
To celebrate Malanka this year, I made pedehe - a Ukrainian pasta dish filled with cheesy potatoes!
2 large potatoes (about two cups of potato after they are peeled)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup old cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon oregano, very finely chopped
1/3 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 pinch of salt
1. First start your potatoes. Boil them until they are soft, then mash then with the butter and stir in the cheese and herbs.
2. While you potatoes are cooking, start your dough. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is well combined. Let it rest with a dish towel covering it for 15-30 minutes.
3. Roll your dough out very thinly and use a 4 inch or so circle cookie cutter, glass, or container to cut out circles.
4. Spoon a small dollop of the potato mixture onto one side of the dough, flip the other side on top of the potato, and press tightly to close it.
5. Repeat until all dough or potatoes are used up.
6. Boil pedehe in salted water and serve with bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and sour cream - or whatever else tickles your fancy.
And if you have any leftovers the next day, try the Polish way to eat these treats and fry them in a little olive oil. Both ways are equally delicious!