LifestyleSwitch the traditional cabbage with mushrooms for a beloved Czech dish this Christmas Eve

Switch the traditional cabbage with mushrooms for a beloved Czech dish this Christmas Eve

Christmas groats with mushrooms, also known as the Czech delicacy called kuba.
Christmas groats with mushrooms, also known as the Czech delicacy called kuba.
Images source: © Canva | nata_vkusidey
10:34 PM EST, December 5, 2023

Today, let's discuss kuba. When the name of this Czech Christmas Eve dish is spelled with a lowercase 'k', it's no accident. It isn't a proper name, nor an island country in the Caribbean, but a simple, hearty meal that's a real crowd-pleaser for those who enjoy typical holiday items like groats and mushrooms. Count me in!

Traveling internationally during the Christmas season can reveal just how accurate the saying "each country has its customs" really is. Christmas Eve traditions vary greatly among cultures. While Spaniards enjoy mussels and turron at dinner and share halva around the table, the English don't begin celebrating Christmas until December 25. That's when they serve a pudding that might seem peculiar to other palates. Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, there's kuba.

Kuba, also known as black kuba (due to its color), houbance, or hubnik, is a perfectly seasoned meal of groats with mushrooms. This dish has a long history, dating back to times when access to certain food products was significantly limited. Simply put, it's similar to borderland's kutia.

This Czech Christmas Eve specialty of groats with mushrooms will surely appeal to those who adore meatless holiday meals. It can stand in for the traditional cabbage with mushrooms, or complement it quite nicely. As a two-time tester, I assure you, it works splendidly. Below is a simple recipe that you'll find quite easy to follow!

Recipe for Kuba - Traditional Czech groats with mushrooms


  • 3 handfuls of dried, pre-soaked mushrooms,
  • About 11 ounces of hulled barley,
  • 4 tablespoons of lard,
  • 2 onions,
  • 2 cloves of garlic,
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground caraway,
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram,
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method of preparation:

  1. Cook the hulled barley as per the instructions on the package.
  2. In a pan, heat 3 tablespoons of lard. Add the chopped onions and sauté until transparent, then add the pre-soaked mushrooms. Season it with crushed garlic, caraway, marjoram, salt and pepper.
  3. Blend these sautéd ingredients with the cooked groats. Transfer the mixture to a lard-greased dish and bake for 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 356 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy your meal!
Buckwheat with mushrooms is a specialty from the Czech Republic.
Buckwheat with mushrooms is a specialty from the Czech Republic.© Canva | Crisferra
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