Kapustapusto: An Eastern European Dish With A Difference


Kapustapusto – also known as kapusta or Russian sauerkraut soup is intriguing and fascinating culinary delight with deep-rooted cultural significance. It has been a dish to beat in many Eastern European households for decades. It is a hearty traditional Turkish cuisine and Balkan cuisine stew whose name is derived from the Slavic languages word for cabbage. The meal, despite its foreign name, is a Turkish take on a traditional cabbage stew found in Eastern Europe, including Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other nations. In Thrace and the Black Sea districts of Turkey, kapuska is a well-known beverage. The culinary tradition of kapustapusto is truly valuable and should be preserved.


What is Kapustapusto?

Kapustapusto is cuisine that showcases cultural significance of people of Eastern Europe, particularly in countries like Ukraine, Russia, and Poland. It is a cabbage based dish that has been with the people of Turkey in particular and Eastern Europe in General. Apart from cabbage, kapustapusto is made from ingredients with rich flavors and nutrients your body crave for.

Kapustapusto: An Eastern European Dish With A Difference

The Origins of Kapustapusto

Kapustapusto, also knows as Kapuska is a hearty traditional Turkish cuisine and Balkan cuisine stew. The name came from the word “Cabbage” a language of Slavic origin. The name was not originally known in some Eastern Europe but has become a household name and now regarded as a Turkish version of a cabbage stew common in Russia, Ukraine, Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe. We must examine this culinary marvel’s historical origins in order to fully appreciate it. Eastern European traditional cuisines are the source of the recipe for kapustapusto. It was originally developed as a simple cuisine for peasants, using easily accessible items including wheat, cabbage, and different vegetables. The inventiveness and resourcefulness of Eastern European culinary traditions are reflected in this modest beginning.


The Ingredients

Cabbage is the bedrock of kapustapusto. This particular ingredient can be stored for a long time owing to its durability. Cabbage also has water absorbing property with crisp texture. These characteristics earned it number one ingredient in preparation of Kapustapusto. Kapustapusto usually has a crisp, acidic texture from the fermentation of the cabbage used in it.


In addition to cabbage, other complementary ingredients are:

Potatoes, Onions, carrots, garlic cloves, Beef or Bork broth, Smoked sausage or bacon, Bay leaves and Sour cream for serving.

Ingredients for filling: They includes rice, mushrooms, minced meat, and fruits. These fillings are made into thick mixture which are used between the layers of the kapustapusto. Additionally, keep in mind that every region has a unique filling ingredient. This classic Eastern European and Russian dish balances flavour and nutrition with a blend of meats, veggies, and herbs. The flavour profile of your kapustapusto will be determined by the components you use, so choose wisely.

Kapustapusto: An Eastern European Dish With A Difference

Preparation of Kapustapusto

Preparation of the cabbage: Cabbage being the foundation of Kapustapusto, should equally be processed first, transformed to the state it should be used before other ingredients. Here, two important processes are involved. They are blanching and fermentation. The blanching makes the cabbage leaves soft, this in turn makes it easy to fold. The fermentation process is done by mixing mashed cabbage with salt. This will help remove water and start the fermentation process proper. This gives the cabbage its unique taste after processing and helps preserve it for a long time.

Forming into Rolls: Once you prepare the cabbage leaves, fill them with your chosen ingredients. Achieving the ideal harmony of flavours and textures is the key to making these rolls. The rolls are then properly secured so they maintain their shape while cooking.


Ways of Cooking

They includes:

  • Simmer with a flavorful broth
  • Oven baking
  • Use of cooker in cooking


Cooking and layering

  • Layers are created in the cabbage and interspersed using sliced potatoes and chunks of pork.
  • Combination of onions, spices, and herbs further enhance the flavor and taste of the dish.
  • Prepare the potato by peeling off the back cover, cut it into smaller sizes. Also mash the onions and the carrot into smaller pieces and equally reduce the garlic into shreds.
  • Rinse the kapustapusto very well with running water. This act will help remove excess salt. After that, put it in a place where it will drain off excess liquid.


Regional Variations of Kapustapusto


Kapustapusto in Belarus is called “koldūny.” This particular cuisine has an outstanding features and taste. When flavor of cabbage and meat are soaked up with addition of dumplings, giving a unique and filling meals



Ukrainians call it “kapusniak”. Kapustapusto is celebrated in Ukraine for its cultural significance and unique taste and flavor.



Bigos as it is called in Poland, Kapustapusto is a dearest cuisine which brings together meats such as pork, beef together with cabbage to produce a delicious dish. You can flavor with prunes and mushrooms if you so wish.

Kapustapusto: An Eastern European Dish With A Difference

Cultural Significance of Kapustapusto

The annual cultural events of kaspustapusto is one to reckon with in the Eastern Europe. Kapustapusto according to history originated from “kapusta”, a Slavic word, meaning cabbage, and “pusto”, which means empty. Its cultural significance cannot be overemphasized as the cultural event is usually adorned with colourful celebration throughout the Eastern Europe. It is very important to the people and also part and parcel of their everyday living. Its novel idea of consuming all remaining food before the start of Lent is reflected in the name itself. The celebration has its roots in paganism, when it was thought that ghosts wandered freely through the long winter hours. The locals would feed these spirits, especially foods made with cabbage, which was seen as a sign of richness and prosperity, in order to placate them. Since the arrival of Christianity, this custom has developed into a festival held prior to Ash Wednesday, which ushers in Lent. In the days preceding Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday, Kapustapusto is observed. The act of creating a bonding experience that is carried down through the generations is the celebration. The festival brings the communities together to feast on a variety of traditional foods such sauerkraut soup, cabbage rolls, pickled vegetables, and pancakes with jam or honey on top. They also enjoy each other’s companionship. Additionally, it is made for festivities and special occasions that unite families. Not only are these foods wonderful, but they also have great cultural significance because they symbolise fertility, power, and good fortune for the coming year.


How to Serve Kapustapusto

Arrange the kapustapusto rolls on a serving platter or individual plates. Place them in a way that they will be visually appealing. You can garnish by adding Fresh herbs like parsley. Add a sauce if you like, a tomato based one will be most ideal here. Add sliced bread, this is a perfect combination with kapustapusto juice. Serve classic Eastern European sides, such sauerkraut or a simple salad, to enhance the eating experience. The meal’s flavors and textures are harmonised by these side dishes.


Source of the Ingredients

Kapustapusto ingredients can be found in many local markets, grocery stores and for those who cultivate, you can also get them in your gardens.



Kapustapusto is a distinctive cuisine with special flavor cherished by the people of Eastern Europe. Its cultural significance and regional differences make it very unique to any other dishes. When next you visit Eastern Europe, make it one of your priorities to have a taste of the cuisine and the unforgettable experience will live with your memory for life.

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