Spring 2023

Olia Hercules’ Ukrainian Pyrizhky with Split Peas and Chorizo

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For the dough:

250ml kefir

7g sugar

2g Maldon salt

350-400g flour

7g fast-acting yeast

For the filling:

200g split peas

3 tbsp oil

2 large onions, finely diced

200g cooking chorizo, finely chopped

A pinch of Maldon Salt

A pinch of black pepper

300ml oil for shallow frying


This can be made vegetarian or even vegan very easily. Simply substitute the kefir for water or nut milk and leave out the chorizo! These are so satisfying to eat and they keep so well so it is worth making ten of them.

The original filling, Olia’s dad’s favourite, has just the split peas and caramelised onion, but I do love to add the saltiness and spice of chorizo. Olia’s husband is vegetarian though, so she often split the peas and onions in two, and add chorizo to one and leave the other meatless.

  1. To make the dough mix the kefir with yeast, sugar, Maldon Salt and add 350g of the flour, all in one go. Mix this using a spoon. The dough will look quite wet – that’s what you want. Cover it and leave somewhere warm for an hour to rise.
  2. Meanwhile cook the split peas according to instructions. The packet might advise to soak the peas, but I don’t normally bother, the ones I use cook quickly enough. Cook them until they are soft, drain and let them cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions and a generous pinch of Maldon Salt. The salt will make the onions extract liquid and there will less chance for them to burn if you forget about them for a moment. Cook over a medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until they look nice and brown. If the pan becomes dry during cooking, add little spaces of water and deglaze the pan.
  4. Take the onions out and add to the bowl of peas.
  5. Don’t rinse out the pan, add another small drizzle of oil and cook the chorizo for 3 minutes or until just cooked. Scrape the chorizo and the flavoursome oil into the peas and onions.
  6. When the dough doubles in size, flour the surface really well and pour the dough out onto the surface. Then keep sprinkling the top of the dough with flour and using a dough scraper or floured hands keep on folding it in on itself. It should remain very soft, but should become less sticky.
  7. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, they should each weigh about 70g.  Knead a little flour into each piece, so they become less sticky. Then one by one, flatten each piece out into a circle (about 12cm diameter) and add 2 tbsp of the filling in the middle. Bring two edges up and pinch them together, then flip it over onto a floured surface, seam-side down and flatten the bun gently with the palm of your hand. Keep them on a floured tray or board until ready to fry.
  8. Have a plate lined with kitchen paper – to absorb the oil – at the ready.
  9. Take a large frying pan and fill with oil. It should be a good 2-3 fingers deep. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully lay in the bun, put as many as the pan would fit to make turning comfortable for you. Cook them over a medium heat, lowering the heat if you feel the buns are starting to colour too quickly. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the underside is golden and gently flip (be careful not to splash yourself or people around you) and cook on the other side until golden brown.
  10. Then lift out and drain on the kitchen paper. These are good as they are with some fresh salad on the side or alongside a simple chicken or vegetable broth.
5/5 (3 Reviews)


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