A Recipe for Koliva

1 C hulled wheat ( lb.)
4 C water
1/2 - 3/4 C chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.)
1/2 - 3/4 C raisins, golden or regular
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley or mint (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the topping:
1 C fine crumbs of zwieback or graham crackers
1 C sifted powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 lb. white Jordan Almonds (sugar-coated almonds)

The day before the Memorial Service:

  1. Rinse and drain the wheat. Cook it as you would rice, for about 1 to 1 hours. Do not overcook so that the grains explode. Since there is more water in the cooking than there would be for rice, check the wheat as it's cooking for doneness.
  2. Pour the hot wheat into a large or two smaller colanders.
  3. When drained, put the wheat into a large bowl. Cover the wheat with very cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Allow the wheat to drain overnight.

The morning of the Memorial Service:

  1. In a large bowl mix the wheat with the cinnamon, nuts, raisins, and parsley or mint.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl to be taken to Church. Place a piece of waxed paper on top of the mixture and flatten the top so that it is evenly distributed.
  3. Sprinkle the zwieback or graham cracker crumbs evenly over the wheat mixture. This keeps the moisture from the powdered sugar layer.
  4. Sift the powdered sugar atop the crumb layer.
  5. Use the Jordan almonds to form a cross atop the powdered sugar. The edge of the bowl can be lined with Jordan almonds if desired.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Plan to be at Church before Liturgy begins so that you can give the bowl and your list of names of your deceased family and friends to the priest. A candle is often placed in the bowl and lit during the memorial service.

© 1999 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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