Amidst the continuing conflict in Ukraine, with devastating scenes broadcast across the world, it’s encouraging to see how many people on social media are using their platforms as a force for good.

In the culinary world, UK-based Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules and Russian food creative Alissa Timoshkina have teamed up to launch #CookForUkraine, raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis and funds for those in need. 

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The campaign encourages people to cook or bake Ukrainian and Eastern European-inspired dishes, share their pictures on social media and donate to UNICEF UK’s Ukraine appeal via the #CookForUkraine fundraising page.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Olia Hercules (@oliahercules)

Cooking may seem like a small way to contribute to a huge issue, but as Hercules writes on Instagram: “Every single positive post or physical act of kindness, full of love, that brings attention to what’s happening, helps.”

Ukrainian recipes to try

Want to get involved, but not sure what to cook? Here are some tasty traditional Ukrainian dishes to try…

Borscht

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Helen Davies (@clemhf10)

Ukraine’s national dish, borscht is a beetroot soup eaten hot or cold, and usually served with sour cream and pampushki (garlic rolls). Traditionally, borscht is made with beef stock, but it’s easy to swap it out for a vegetarian version.

Pancakes

Syrniki Ukrainian recipes
Syrniki (Alamy/PA)

Pancake lovers can take their pick from thick, fluffy syrniki (cheese pancakes), topped with jam and sour cream, or thin, crepe-like nalisniki, traditionally filled with cottage cheese.

Cabbage rolls

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Anna/Anya Voloshyna (@annavoloshynacooks)

Called golubtsi in Ukrainian, these cabbage rolls are filled with minced meat and rice, and either baked in the oven or stewed in a pan.

Dumplings

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Verity | Recipes, styling & 📷 (@fortheflavour)

Known as either varenyky or pierogi, these boiled dumplings can be sweet or savoury. Popular fillings include potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, onions, cherries or currants.

Chicken Kyiv

Ukrainian recipes chicken Kyiv
Chicken Kyiv (Alamy/PA)

Named after the Ukrainian capital, the culinary classic chicken Kyiv is made by stuffing a chicken breast with garlic butter, coating it with breadcrumbs and deep-frying it.

Babka

Ukrainian babka recipes
Ukrainian babka (Alamy/PA)

Rich in flavour but with a light, fluffy texture, babka is a sweet, cake-like bread, often eaten at Easter and topped with icing.

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