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Vushka (Ukrainian Little Ear Dumplings)

2:00 prep
3:00 total


prep 2:00       total 3:00





2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup evaporated milk or
whole milk
1 tsp. oil or
melted butter

Mushroom Filling

1/4 lb. dried boletus or
dried Italian mushrooms (porcini)
2 lbs. fresh mushrooms mature if possible
4 md. onions
1 cup oil or
1/2 lb. butter
2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 lemon, juice of

Mushroom Gravy

1 cup mushroom filling (see previous recipe above)
1 cup stock
1 cup light cream
1 tbsp. cornstarch (optional)
Salt and pepper


Combine flour and salt. Add milk, egg yolk, and oil, and mix. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Knead for 5 minutes and form into a ball. This may be done in a processor. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes or so.

On a floured surface, roll out a third of the dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Turn dough and roll from center, so that all dough is even in thickness. Run a hand under dough to loosen it. Dust with flour, flip over, flour again. With a sharp knife, cut into 1-1/2 inch squares.

Place a teaspoon of mushroom filling in each square, being careful not to smear edges. Fold diagonally to make a triangle and press edges. Pinch together the two bottom corners. Make sure dough has bonded, or the stuffing will boil out. Place on cookie sheets covered with towels dusted with flour. Roll out scraps last, as this dough is a little tougher.

Drop 10 or 12 vushka into 6-8 cups of rapidly boiling water and stir once with a wooden spoon. Do not cover. When they float to the top, cook 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon to a strainer. Cool on a lightly oiled plate without crowding. Repeat until all are cooked. Cover and set aside. These may be frozen and then reheated in boiling water. Do not overcook when reheating.

To serve, place 4 or 5 vushka in soup bowls and pour hot borsch over them.

Mushroom Filling:
This mushroom mixture may be used as filling for vushka or pyrizhky, baked filled pastry used as appetizers or with soup) and as a base for mushroom gravy. Dried boletus may be found in specialty stores.

In a saucepan with enough water to cover, bring dried mushrooms to a boil and and simmer until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Do not allow to cook dry; add water as needed. Cool, set aside. Wipe fresh mushrooms with a damp towel, trim stems, chop fine, and set aside.

Chop onions and cook in oil or butter in a heavy skillet until wilted. Add chopped fresh mushrooms and cook over medium heat, stirring. Remove dried mushrooms from the liquid (reserve it), chop fine, and mix in. Cook until mushroom mixtures is dry, then season to taste. Add lemon juice and bread crumbs. Stir and remove from heat. Keep stirring while cooling to allow steam to escape.

Yield: 1 quart. May be used to flavor rice for cabbage rolls and to make gravy and soup.

Mushroom Gravy:
The terrific flavor in this gravy comes from the wild boletus. These mushrooms are very aromatic and therefore in great demand.

Heat stock in a saucepan, add mushroom mixture and bring to a boil. Add cream and heat through. Season to taste. For a thicker gravy, add cornstarch to a little of the cream, and then add to the hot gravy. The gravy is excellent with holubtsi, cabbage rolls and roasts, or over toast points.

Author's Comments

Tiny stuffed dumplings can be found in other cuisines. Italians call a similar pasta tortellini, and the Chinese have their wonton. Ukrainian vushka are served in clear broth and specifically with borsch on Christmas Eve. There is no substitute for them. The dough is a light soft dough and filling is a mixture of wild mushrooms and onions.

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