April 20, 2011


In Polish, chrzan ("hh-shahn") means "horseradish." This word is a challenge to pronounce! Hear it spoken!

Chrzan is both a popular condiment and a cooking ingredient in Polish meals ("dania") throughout the year. At Easter, chrzan has an additional symbolic role ("symboliczna rola"). Because fresh horseradish can bring a tear to the eye, the use of chrzan at Easter is intended to remind people of the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. We also see this symbolic role of chrzan in święconka, the blessing of the Easter baskets.

In addition to keeping a small dish of chrzan on the table as an accent for meats and such, Poles often mix chrzan with other things to create a variety of different condiments. For example, chrzan can be mixed with eggs ("jajka"), with beets ("buraki") with cream ("śmietana") or other classic ingredients. In Polish cuisine, there is a range of chrzan tastes - from mild ("łagodny") to hot ("ostry") - to suit almost any palate.