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Kulajda is a creamy, herbed Czech soup. It is also known as dill soup because, like much of the cuisine from the region, it typically contains large amounts of the herb. Its other key ingredients include potatoes, mushrooms, cream, and a hard boiled egg garnish. Other possible ingredients include sour cream, caraway, and a wide array of other herbs and spices. Kulajda is typically served with dumplings or hearty bread.
The specific recipe for kulajda varies, usually depending on whatever version is passed down through different generations of a family. In addition to ingredients, methods of preparation can vary. For example, the potatoes can be cooked either in the soup, prepared separately and added right before serving, or served as a side dish.
For a typical version of kulajda, the potatoes are first peeled, cut into chunks, and boiled in vegetable broth. Then seasonings, such as caraway and mushrooms are added. Directly afterwards, the flour, milk, and cream are whisked and poured into the broth. This mixture is allowed to cook for several minutes.
After cooking, the soup is removed from the heat and the dill and salt are added. Vinegar may also be stirred in to enhance the flavor. The garnish of halved hard boiled eggs is added last. Some recipes also suggest adding a pat of butter to each bowl of soup.
There are other kulajda recipes that begin with the preparation of roux, a mixture of flour and water. Then the spices and cream are added. Some recipes also call for the eggs to be broken into and cooked in the soup.
Soup is a popular in the Czech Republic. It is usually served as the first course in a typical meal. Common ingredients in homemade Czech soups include lentils, beans, potatoes, and fish. Other popular kinds of soup include garlic, sauerkraut, champignon mushroom, and vegetable. Broth with noodles or dumplings is also commonly found in Czech restaurants.
Traditional Czech cuisine, including soups such as kulajda, is known for being rich and high fat. Even the typical toppings for soup, such as raw or hard boiled eggs, cheese, and sour cream, are indulgent. Many popular soups are substantive enough to be a main dish, though they are most often served before an even higher-calorie food such as a meat course. While the old recipes are still well-loved in the region, there has been a gradual trend towards healthier eating.