Recipe for Kolyva

Boiled wheat with sugar, fruit and/or nuts

Eaten by Orthodox Christians when the dead are commemorated or in honor of a Saint

Kolyva, Koljevo or Zhito is made in different ways according to local custom. The constant ingredients seem to be boiled wheat (of course!) and sugar. Other common ingredients are nuts, raisons, or pomegranate seeds, parsley, and other spices. Certainly, this is not a comprehensive list!

The following recipe satisfies the local custom in which Kolyva is made from only three ingredients: boiled wheat, ground nuts and sugar. It commences after the author's culinary comments ...


After years of eating bland and soupy and sometimes weird Kolyva with spices, parsley, pomegranate seeds ... and a bullet proof crust of powdered sugar I applied simple and modern techniques to create a very tasty memorial tribute.

Boil two cups of wheat berries till they burst. Drain and grind/chop coarsely.

Toast enough nuts to make two cups ground. Walnuts are traditional. I like the flavor of pecans. Almonds and, for a delightful flavor, pistachios are both grown in the Holy Land.

Take two cups sugar and caramelize to a very pale gold and stir in the chopped nuts to make a nut brittle. Grind to a coarse praline powder.

Mix the praline with the wheat and pack into a Saran lined hemispherical type bowl. Cover the top with Saran and refrigerate. This will keep for a few days.

Remove Saran, invert onto a large plate, unmold and remove Saran. Decorate with Sultanas or Jordan Almonds to form a cross on the half dome. Ready to bless and serve.

Edited from a post to the "Indiana" Orthodox Mailing List:
Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2001 23:04:47 -0500
From: Max Selexis
See the archives at: http://listserv.indiana.edu/archives/orthodox.html





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