Radiant Girl by Andrea White: Oladi

img_5530.jpgFor October, the bloggers at Eat The World are exploring Ukrainian cuisine. To not get too political in a food blog, it’s pretty interesting how certain things can line up. Ukraine is quite top of news right now. So being that I am hearing a lot about Ukraine and possible (um probable) involvement in the US elections, it was interesting to get a historical fiction history lesson about the area. For my book selection I chose Radiant Girl by Andrea White. Rated a 4.06 on goodreads on the date I wrote this entry, I rated it 4 stars.

Radiant Girl is set in Ukraine in 1986 and revolves around the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Told from the perspective of a young teenage girl, this book follows 11-year-old Katya into her high school years as she copes with the aftermath of the tragedy which forced her family out of their home and community. The book also used a lot of plays on Ukrainian folklore, which helped give some insight into the culture as well.

Food in the book included:

  • Paska
  • Sorrel and cabbage
  • Garlic buns and crepes called nalysnyky
  • Sausage and cabbage soup
  • Bread and hot chocolate and chocolate cake
  • Horilka, a strong spicy vodka
  • Strawberry jam
  • Kompot
  • Huge stacks of salami, domashnyaya kolbasa, beet-root salad, pickled mushrooms, cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice, fried fish, and sweet pies
  • Cucumber salad
  • Kutia, the traditional Christmas dish Mama made with poppy seeds, wheat nuts, and honey
  • Pancakes with sour cream, strawberry jam, and jelly
  • Lemonade
  • Salo-pig fat, the new potatoes dripped in butter, borsch made from homegrown beets and piping hot apple pie topped with sour cream
  • Cooked potato
  • Pickled beets and a loaf of chorni khilib
  • Yushka, a nutritious soup of whole wheat bread, chicken, veal, ham, egg yolksm and celery
  • Sausage and sauerkraut or corned beef and slaw
  • Homemade sandwiches
  • Porridge
  • Varenniki
  • Oversized sausage sandwiches
  • Cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich
  • Chicken soup
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Chicken sandwich
  • Chicken paprika
  • Potato soup

I decided to make pancakes:

“As Mama returned to the kitchen, I managed to get out of bed and begin dressing. The delicious aroma of fried dough filled my room — she was making pancakes.”

When I googled “Ukrainian pancakes,” I learned about oladi. Oladi or olaydi is a common dish in Russian, Ukraine, and Belarus. They are small, yeasted pancakes made with buttermilk. Oladi are usually served with sour cream, jam, honey, and/or caviar.

The oladi is much fluffier than a pancake, as the yeast sits more like bread. It has to sit for an hour and a half before frying. The flavor is much more like sourdough because of the sourness from the buttermilk.

After sneaking out at night and meeting her domovyk, or household god, Katya wakes up to her mom making pancakes for breakfast.

“A pile of pancakes, a bowl of sour cream and strawberry jam waited for me on the counter. The butter dripping off the side of the pancakes had formed a luscious yellow pool.”

I served the pancakes with the jam from my previous post. The sweet of the jam and the sour of the pancakes was a perfect breakfast!




1 cup warm water
1/4 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tbsp salt
just under 2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the water. After a minute stir together and then let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, sugar, salt, and yeast water. Then slowly mix the flour into the wet mixture.
  3. Cover and set aside somewhere warm for an hour and a half. Let the mixture double in size.
  4. Heat a griddle and spread the vegetable oil on the griddle. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the batter on the skillet. Cook until golden brown on each side.
  • Makes about 15 pancakes.


Check out all the wonderful Ukrainian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Making Miracles: Mazuricks
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Nalysnyky (Ukranian Crêpes)
Sugarlovespices: Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk
Pandemonium Noshery: Ukrainian Pickled Tomatoes
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Galushki Soup
Literature and Limes: Oladi

4 thoughts on “Radiant Girl by Andrea White: Oladi

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