Is Chicken Kiev really from Kyiv?

18th May 2019

When coming to new cities and countries, people always want to try something new, which also means trying local cuisine. Chicken Kiev is one of the most popular dishes in traditional Ukrainian cuisine. It is a well-known dish in Russian and Polish cuisine too. The classic term for Chicken Kiev in Poland is “côtelette de volaille”. Chicken Kiev is, basically chicken fillet stuffed with garlic butter, coated with breadcrumbs, and then baked or fried. Butter melts inside and oozes out on to your plate when you cut chicken. It really tastes delicious! Chicken Kiev stands on the same level with Ukrainian borshch and varenyky when comparing the popularity of these dishes.

Does the name ‘Chicken Kiev’ really come from Kyiv?

It would be logical to assume that the name of the dish originates from the name of the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv., but it does not. Even though there is no documented proof, many Ukrainian chefs agree that authentic recipe originates from France. There are numerous stories about how the recipe got to Russia and Ukraine. Some stories have documented evidence, others exist just like fairy tales.

In late 1840’s rich people from Russia sent their chefs to France to master French cooking techniques and bring recipes of the best chefs to Russia. According to another version, the Chicken Kiev recipe was invented by Marie-Antoine Carême, French chef at the Court of Alexander I. He spent only several months during the whole year in Russia but that was enough to impact Russian cuisine. Therefore, invention of the recipe is attributed to his frequent visits to Russia. However, you will not find any information about “côtelette de volaille” in Carême’s cooking books today.

“Côtelette de volaille” is a purely French term, which literally means chicken cutlet. There is no solid proof, but some chefs state that the French also used veal instead of poultry because at that time chicken was an expensive product. It was treated as a real delicacy and only rich people could afford it, so chicken was a cheaper substitution of original recipe. Despite the existence of this version, French and Ukrainian chefs believe that chicken has been always the main ingredient of original recipe of Chicken Kiev.

The Ukrainian recipe of Chicken Kiev that we know today was invented in the restaurant of Continental hotel in Kiev in 1918. We can only assume that it originated from “côtelette de volaille”. Chicken Kiev was cooked only for officers of command staff of Skoropadsky Hetman and became extremely popular.

Traditional Chicken Kiev Recipe

You can easily find a huge number of Chicken Kiev recipes on the Internet but the classic version of the recipe tastes the best, so surprise your family or friends and cook Chicken Kiev for dinner. To cook Chicken Kiev at home, you’ll need:

  • Herbs
  • Butter 150 gr
  • Garlic
  • Pepper and salt
  • 2 chicken fillet
  • 2 eggs
  • Flour
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil

Place the herbs, garlic, pepper, salt and butter in a mixing bowl, and mix them well. Wrap the butter with herbs in a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. This is for the filling that you’ll put inside of the fillet. Feel free to add any extra spices or herbs as long as they complement the chicken well. You can also add some cheese to make Chicken Kiev even more delicious. The butter and cheese will melt inside and make the chicken juicy and tasty.

Slice the chicken fillet and pound it until it becomes thin. Be careful not to make holes otherwise the butter will leak. Do not forget to season chicken too with some salt and pepper. Put the butter with the herbs in the middle of chicken, then take two opposite ends of fillet, fold them in and roll the chicken from the bottom to top. Put chicken in flour, then beaten egg, and then breadcrumbs.

Chicken Kiev can be baked or fried but make sure you have enough oil in the pan. It is usually cooked for 20-25 minutes and presto! Chicken Kiev is ready to be served. 

Try Chicken Kiev in the best Ukrainian restaurants of Kyiv

Chicken Kiev can be found in the freezer section of shops all around the world. Pre-cooked Chicken Kiev does not taste like the one you can try in Ukrainian restaurants. What could be better than trying traditional dish in it’s own country?

Rebra & Kotlety

Rebra & Kotlety is a Kiev gastro bar serving cutlets and ribs. Locals say that Rebra & Kotlety, literally meaning “ribs and cutlets”, is the gastro capital. Just believe that the menu of this restaurant will surprise you. The restaurant cooks Chicken Kiev using traditional recipe and other unique recipes. There are so many variations of the same dish that you can easily get lost and it is the only place where you can try Chicken Kiev with blue cheese, almond or apples. Gourmands should order a set of Chicken Kiev cutlets that includes different mini cutlets. If you are looking for unconventional flavours of Ukrainian cuisine, go to Rebra & Kotlety. In addition to good food, the restaurant has convenient central location. But, if you do not know where it is, you will never find it. It is a small place with nice modern design. Visitors are recommended to make a reservation before coming on Friday or Saturday.

Address: 8/13 Borisoglebskaya street

Khutorets na Dnipri

Khutorets na Dnipri or Khutorets on Dniper is a restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine located on the bank of Dniper river. It is the first place most Ukrainians want to come to after being abroad for a very long time. Why? It tastes like home. The restaurant offers a wide range of national dishes, including well-known Chicken Kiev. Khutorets on Dniper was established almost 20 years ago but it has remained one of the best Ukrainian restaurants in Kiev. It has great menu and high-quality service. It has changed its design several time over the last 10 years but now it’s back to a traditional Ukrainian style. The place has many tables and you will not have any difficulties finding a one from Monday till Thursday, but the situation is different from Friday till even Sunday.

Address: 10a Naberezhno-Kreshchatitskaya street

Chicken Kyiv restaurant

Yes, it sounds just like the name of the dish. Chicken Kyiv restaurant is a gastro restaurant with an incredible atmosphere and design. If you want to have a look at how mid the 80’s looked like in Kyiv, the post-soviet design of the place adds a special flavour to all the dishes. It is like a special seasoning that has a unique and exquisite taste. It is a restaurant of Dmitriy Borisov who is a famous Ukrainian restaurateur, who has established numerous restaurants in the city. If you have heard about Dmitri Borisov, than there is no need to say that the menu of Chicken Kyivhas a number of incredibly tasty Ukrainian dishes. Apart from traditional Chicken Kyivdish, you should also try banosh and varenyky. Traditional Chicken Kyivcutlet is always served with mashed potatoes in this restaurant.

Address: 15/4 Khreshchatik street

Ostannya Barykada or The Last Barricade

The Last Barricade restaurant is another successful project of already well-known Dmitri Borisov. It is a gastronomic and artistic place that unites people from different communities, generations, and counties. The Last Barricade is all about Ukraine and Ukrainian products that have been selected from all parts of Ukraine. The restaurant has a nice European design with a good mix of Ukrainian elements.This is a great place to try Chicken Kyib, freshly baked Ukrainian bread and many other dishes prepared according to the best Ukrainian recipes. It is worth mentioning that restaurant has a bar with a huge collection of excellent Ukrainian wine and other spirits. This is a perfect location for meeting with partners for lunch or with friends for dinner. Do not forget to book a table as the place is always full.

Address: 1 Maidan Nezavisimosti street

Barvy restaurant & bar

If you want to try unconventional Ukrainian cuisine, welcome to Barvy restaurant & bar. It is modern Ukrainian cuisine that combines traditions and recipes from all regions of Ukraine. The restaurant has received several awards including “The best bar in restaurant”. Barvy is one of the best places to eat and relax. The area of Barvy restaurant has been used as a venue for regular exhibitions of talented Ukrainian artists, sculptors, as well as musical, literary and fashion performances.

Regular guests of the restaurant say that the meat is delicious here. Traditional Chicken Kyiv is a popular choice of many guests, including tourists. Once a week the restaurant arrange an exclusive dinner for 12 people under the rules of foodpairing – a science of combining flavours of various dishes based on common ingredients. It is an incredible experience!

Address: 3 Mechnikova street

These are just a few of the best traditional Ukrainian restaurants where you can order the delicious Chicken Kyiv dish , and new restaurants with new concepts are opening all the time.