Words [Potato and Aged Cheddar Perogies]


I don’t actually use the word “perogie”. That’s an anglicized Polish word. I guess the Polish were the first to mass market the dumplings of Eastern Europe.

Ukrainians call their dumplings “varenyky”. But, it my family, we have still a different word. We call our dumplings “pedaheh”.

The weird stares we get when we say this have pushed us to search high and low for some origins of the word. All roads go back to my grandpa, who swears this is what his parents always called them.

I think our word is from an old regional dialect of rural northwestern Ukraine. What do you think?


At Christmas time I touched on the stiffness of Eastern European doughs. I’ll go back to that today because pedaheh dough is as stiff as they come.

I have two tips for dealing with them. First, pin the dough to the edge of the counter with your hip as you roll forward. This will help stretch the dough. Second, once you get your dough to 1/4-inch thick, stop flipping it. The dough will gain some traction on the countertop, making it easier to roll super thin.



For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream

Combine flour and salt. Mix together melted butter, egg and sour cream. Create a small well in the middle of the flour and stir in the wet mixture using your fingers. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or overnight. Bring to room temperature before rolling.

For the filling and assembly:
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tbsp. butter
5 1/2 tbsp. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 tsp. black pepper, ground
2/3 cup aged cheddar, shredded
glass of water
butter for frying
pot of salted, boiling water

Boil the potatoes with their skins on in salted water until soft. When cool enough to handle, skin the potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mash until smooth. Allow to cool completely before assembling the dumplings.
Roll dough 1/8-inch-thick. Cut into circles 5 inches in diameter. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the centre of each circle. Do not overfill. Dip your finger in the water. Run it along the outer edge of half of the circle. Pick up the circle. Pinch together the edges of dough at the centre of the dumpling. Keep pinching down to each end to close the dumpling completely. Place under a clean towel while you complete the rest of the dumplings.
Boil the dumplings in batches until they float to the surface. Make sure to push them around the pot every now and then to ensure they don’t stick to each other or to the pot. Gently remove with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium-low heat. Melt butter in it. Fry dumplings until they reach your desired golden brown on each side. You will notice that if you like your dumplings very brown, they may start to split along the pinched seam. Not to worry about this.
Serve with caramelized onions, fried sauerkraut, minced chives and sour cream.

30 thoughts on “Words [Potato and Aged Cheddar Perogies]

  1. I make something very similar. I also serve them fresh from the boiling water with chopped fried bacon sprinkled on top with sour cream to the side. The leftovers are fried in butter the next day and look like yours. My parents called them perehe. They both came from the western area of Ukraine near Lviv.

  2. Perogie is the anglicized form of the word and is spoken incorrectly. Deconstruct the word
    pe-ro-he and you get basically what you call yours, except someone in your family past added the “d”. In central Alberta we call them perohe and my Russian grandfather said in Russia called them vareneky. It depends on what part of Central Europe families came from. Polish and Ukranian here both use the same word but with slightly different pronunciation. Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

  3. Pingback: Poland: Pierogi | Breakfast in Bed(Stuy)

  4. My dad says his mother and grandmother also called perogies “pedeheh”. My family is also from Ukraine, not sure what part. I’m going to use this recipe for my Canadian Thanksgiving meal!

  5. My family also calls them pedaheh! We make them for Christmas Eve and Easter. We are Ukranian, but I am not sure where from in the Ukraine.

  6. My mom just told me that is the same area that her grandparents are from. Must be a dialect of the region. She said my grandmother used to say they spoke “peasant Ukrainain.”

    • Well now we know. I think it’s so awesome the response I’ve gotten from people here telling me that they too use that word. Hope you and your mum have a chance to try my version of pedaheh 🙂

  7. I just stumbled upon this and though I should say that my family is Ukrainian and we call them pedaheh! Pedaheh is my comfort food. I love them so much!
    I’ve never had them with cheese inside, but this recipe sounds delicious! I’m definitely going to give it a try very soon. 🙂

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  9. My family also calls them “pedaheh” my grandfathers family is from Ukraine. These are a family dish when I visit them during the summer. I love them!

  10. Pingback: Homemade Polish Pierogi - Breakfast in Bed(Stuy)

  11. Wow, this is an older post, but I just wanted to say it makes me happy to see so many others commenting on the use of “pedaheh”! My mother-in-law taught me how to make them, and this is what they call them…of course, searching on the interwebz high and low turns up nothing! Her family was from Ukraine – her mother was actually from Romania, and her father was from Ukraine (I believe), so they would have lived in Western Ukraine. Your photos look lovely, by the way.
    The filling we use is cream cheese and potato, and then we boil them…then we serve with sauteed onions/butter. I’d like to try some different toppings, though!

  12. My greatgrandmother came from the ukraine to toronto in 1898 and she called them pedehe, i didnt hear the word perogy til 1980.

  13. Sorry i guess i miss spelled pedaheh, the only time i ever seen the word in print b4! I too have been told pedaheh is wrong, but i always felt my source is quite old, all my great grand parents came to toronto b4 both wars & they all called them pedaheh.

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  15. My boyfriend’s family is Ukranian and calls them pedeheh. His mother speaks Ukranian and has taught me how to make this. Varenyky refers to the dough only. Pedeheh means “pigeon wing” and refers to the shape of the dumpling when folded and pinched correctly. (According to her, it must be perfect so they don’t split when boiled). We boil ours and serve it with caramelized onions and butter as some of the other comments have mentioned. This recipe is the closest I’ve seen to hers although we use milk in our varenyky.

  16. Yes. Our Ukrainian family too has always called this delicious treat pedeheh.
    In fact, the reason I even ran across this, is because several family members have been asking me for Nanna’s and Mom’s “PYDOHA” recipe.
    In our efforts to spell it phonetically using the English alphabet, we spelled it Pydoha. Your spelling of Pedeheh, however, sounds much more phonetically correct.
    Thank you.

  17. Pedaheh is what my mom called them too.Not sure where in the Ukraine her mom was from. I wondered if this was Jewish slang word for pierogi??

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