From the Motherland is a series in which I pay homage to my Ukrainian heritage and share my favorite childhood recipes. Garlicky dill potatoes are a Ukrainian staple – wildly delicious, easy to make, just 4 ingredients.
It’s not exactly breaking news that potatoes are the backbone of eastern European and Russian cooking. They’re cheap, filling, and easy to store through the winter, which is how they became the hallmark food of our people. And I am not mad about that.
Growing up, we ate them on a near-daily basis, no matter what the season or time of day – boiled, roasted, fried, stuffed into varenyky, you name it. To this day, whenever I go over my parents’ house for dinner, there’s almost always some version of potatoes on the table.
Boiled young potatoes with dill are one of the most beloved recipes in all of Ukrainian cooking. It’s funny – because the recipe title is the recipe (kind of like “avocado toast”), it almost seems too simplistic to write about… Almost.
The combination of these four humble ingredients is truly magical. With each bite of buttery potato, you get a grassy hit of fresh dill and a kick from raw garlic, all brought together by the nutty aroma of virgin sunflower oil. It’s heavenly.
About Ukrainian Sunflower Oil
What extra virgin olive oil is to Italian food, unrefined sunflower oil is to Ukrainian. Pressed from sunflower seeds, it has a delicious nutty flavor (similar to toasted sesame oil). Unrefined (a.k.a. virgin) sunflower oil is mostly used for finishing salads, potatoes, and other cooked vegetables (much like EVOO). Refined sunflower oil, on the other hand, has a neutral flavor and is more suited for cooking.
This special oil is a key component of this four-ingredient dish. You can find it in eastern European/Russian markets, online, or in the international aisle of some supermarkets (depending on where you live). If you can’t find sunflower oil, use a fruity, high-quality extra virgin olive oil instead.
My mom serves these dill potatoes with roasted chicken or pork chops for dinner, or with smoked fish and tomato-cucumber salad for breakfast. I like to eat them with baked beans or seared portobello mushrooms. But honestly, there’s honestly so wrong way to eat these!Print
Garlicky dill potatoes are a Ukrainian cuisine staple – wildly delicious, easy to make, just 4 ingredients.
- About 2 pounds small young potatoes, scrubbed
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 1/3 cup unrefined sunflower oil (See Note)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press or grated on a Microplane
- If your potatoes are about an inch in diameter, leave them whole. If they’re larger, cut them into 1-inch chunks, making sure all the potatoes are roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Season with about 2 teaspoons of salt, cover tightly with a lid, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid ajar until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes, being careful not to overcook them.
- Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the oil, dill, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Gently toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately.
You can find sunflower oil in eastern European/Russian markets, online, or in the international aisle of some supermarkets. If you can’t find it, use a fruity, high-quality extra virgin olive oil instead.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 210
Keywords: ukrainian, dill, potatoes, sunflower oil, vegan