Are Finnish recipes a smart option to include on your menu? Many individuals will tell you that the lack of fresh vegetables and the bitterly cold environment make Finnish food inferior to that of its neighbors. I’ll present you with a different image though.
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Whatever freshness Finnish food may lack, they make up for with flavor and creativity. This essay will show you how to include such unusual dishes into your menu in a variety of ways.
Traditional Finnish Recipes and the Finnish food culture was mainly set on farming going all the way before recorded history. Still, agriculture showed to be insecure and non-effective due to the extremely cold temperatures. Having a safe way of life thus required adaptation of food from nature to survive the failure of crops. Since there was a shortage in milking, and the animals being slaughtered could not exhaust the population’s basic needs, fishing and hunting proved to be good sources of proteins.
Nevertheless, the Finns have assimilated into their dishes additional international influences like Spanish and Asian fusions that are taking place in some of their restaurants. Trends such as sustainability and organic foods have ever-increasing roles to play, including the demand for vegan and vegetarian diets. Tanttu says that even though most professional cooking has classic French cuisine as a basis, the modern Finnish recipe creators do not forget their history and infuse their twist into each dish.
Old Style Finnish Recipes and Food
All fish types are popular all over the Finnish recipes chart, with the specialty being smoked fish, even though it can appear steamed, grilled, pickled, or grilled. The salted fish was common throughout the country, mainly accompanied by potatoes and bread. The coastal areas mostly had the Baltic herring, which was grilled over a fire on a wooden skewer. Since fishes are seasonal, salmon and perch are common in spring and summer. At the same time, crayfish has always found its prominence between July and August, which mostly leads to the organization of large crayfish parties.
As far as meats go, Finnish food are no different from its northern Europe neighbors in being the carnivore’s paradise. Traditionally, they used meats of all animals as food, except the horseflesh. The crown jewel in the meats section of traditional Finnish recipes is the reindeer, in addition to which you will find excellent game birds. The Finns from the countryside slaughtered just once a year, where they kept the fat, entrails, and blood for processing to make a diverse number of dishes.
The Finns have not found it in their hearts to abandon wild berries in the main courses of their diets; they have also brought them into their desserts. The most common is the Arctic berry, also known as lingonberry, which is sour when eaten raw but makes excellent compote, jam, liqueur, and wine. It has been a part of authentic Finnish recipes since the early times. Then comes the yellow or bright orange cloudberry growing in the swampy terrain. It has a tart, earthy flavor that blends well with game meat. Some other berries include rowan berries, bilberries, and sea buckthorn berries.
As for their drinks, the Finns love their alcohol, with vodka being a favorite tipple that has brought names such Koskenkorva and Finlandia to world fame. What might not be known to outsiders as being part of traditional Finnish recipes are the fruit wines they make from raspberries, strawberries, white-, red- and blackcurrants. In the cold winter months, they warm themselves up with the delicious Gloggi, which is more like a mulled wine with spices and is at times topped up with rum or brandy. Those who are adventurous opt for the Salmiac or licorice vodka, an acquired taste.
Modern Finnish Recipes and Food
Traditional Finnish recipes are based on a culture of “eat-to-live,” whose sole design was giving people strength and enabling hard work. It has passed through vigorous evolutionary processes that have gradually transformed into a delicacy worth the dime.
The Finnish recipes might not yet be acclaimed worldwide for their culinary delights, but the last decade has been experiencing a quiet food revolution. There is a new generation of chefs who are not scared of mixing up things, opening new food joints, and excellently using the local products to work their magic. These chefs do not fear innovations, which has seen them bring fresh ingredients like lingonberries and arctic clouds to the table as accompaniments to reindeer, elk, bear, or even beaver.
Finland has an abundance of fields, forests, lakes, and a long coastline, bringing a veritable larder to their doorsteps. The modern chefs and restauranteurs have been swift in cottoning on this by using whatever is readily available to generate new delicacies. The heart of this new Finnish food is Helsinki, from where the leading chefs in 2000 developed the “Helsinki Initiative” to promote good Finnish recipe creation. Great emphasis is being placed not only on fresh local produce but is also being placed on good contact with that small-scale local producer.
Most of this new generation of Finnish chefs have traveled broadly or gotten their education from abroad, which they are now using to fuse and mix the traditional Finnish food with ingredients and flavors of international acclaim to make huge impacts.
25 Authentic Finnish Recipes and Foods
Reindeer Meat Stew is a traditional and hearty dish in Finnish cuisine. It features tender pieces of reindeer meat slow-cooked in a flavorful broth with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. The stew is seasoned with herbs and spices like juniper berries and thyme, which add a distinctive Nordic flavor. Reindeer Meat Stew is a popular winter dish that showcases the rich and gamey taste of reindeer meat, providing a comforting and satisfying meal that represents the culinary traditions of Finland.
Lihapullat ja muusi, or Finnish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes, is a classic and beloved dish in Finnish cuisine. The meatballs are made from a mixture of ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, and spices like allspice and black pepper. They are then pan-fried until golden and cooked through. The meatballs are typically served with creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, which adds a sweet and tart element to the dish. Lihapullat ja muusi is a comforting and satisfying meal that represents the flavors and traditions of Finland.
Riisipuuro, or Finnish Rice Porridge, is a traditional and comforting dish enjoyed in Finland, especially during the Christmas season. It is made by simmering short-grain rice in water or milk until it becomes thick and creamy. The porridge is often flavored with a touch of salt and sweetened with sugar or a hint of cinnamon. Riisipuuro is typically served with a dollop of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. It is a warming and delicious treat that brings warmth and joy to Finnish households during the winter months.
Karelian Stew, or Karjalanpaisti, is a traditional Finnish stew that originates from the region of Karelia. It features tender chunks of beef or pork slowly cooked with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. The stew is seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices like black peppercorns and bay leaves. Karelian Stew is known for its rich and hearty flavors, making it a beloved dish in Finnish cuisine. It is often served with mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, providing a comforting and satisfying meal that represents the culinary heritage of Finland.
Finnish Salmon Soup, or Lohikeitto, is a simple Nordic salmon chowder and a comforting 30 minute Finnish recipe. This meal, made with a light cream broth, melt-in-your-mouth chunks of salmon, and tons of fresh dill!
The flavors are unpretentious and clean, with a traditional dill infused broth touched with allspice. I make it in the spring, of course, when wild salmon is in season, but it’s become one of my favorite winter meals, too.
Fried Muikuks, or Fried White Fish, is a popular dish in Finnish cuisine, especially in the lakeside regions. The small white fish, called muikku, are traditionally coated in flour and fried until crispy and golden. The fish is typically served whole, with the crispy skin intact. Fried Muikuks are often enjoyed as a snack or appetizer, accompanied by a squeeze of lemon and a side of fresh dill. This simple yet delicious dish highlights the flavors of fresh Finnish white fish and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Fried Vendace is a beloved dish in Finnish cuisine, particularly in the lakeside regions. Vendace, a small freshwater fish, is coated in flour and fried until crispy and golden. The fish is often enjoyed whole, with its delicate bones and tender flesh. Fried Vendace is typically served as a main course or as a side dish, accompanied by boiled potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and a wedge of lemon. This flavorful and crispy dish showcases the natural flavors of Finnish vendace and is a favorite during the fishing season.
Siskonmakkarakeitto, or Finnish Sausage Soup, is a comforting and hearty dish in Finnish cuisine. It features Siskonmakkara, a traditional Finnish sausage made with a blend of beef and pork, along with potatoes, carrots, onions, and other vegetables. The soup is seasoned with herbs and spices, creating a flavorful and nourishing broth. Siskonmakkarakeitto is often served with a side of rye bread, and it’s a popular choice during the colder months, providing warmth and satisfaction with every spoonful.
10. Honey Baked Ham
Honey Baked Ham is a delicious and festive dish enjoyed in Finland, particularly during holidays and special occasions. The dish features a ham that is glazed with a mixture of honey, mustard, and spices, then baked to perfection. The glaze caramelizes, creating a sweet and savory coating on the ham. The result is a tender and flavorful centerpiece that is often served alongside traditional Finnish sides like mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and various vegetable dishes. Honey Baked Ham is a cherished part of Finnish culinary traditions, bringing joy and warmth to gatherings and celebrations.
10 Side Dish Finnish Recipes
Cabbage casserole is to Finns like spaghetti is to Italians, one of their favorite Finnish food items, tamales to Mexicans, and curry is to Eastern Indians. It’s almost as old as Finland itself and is an essential part of the Finnish culinary tradition. I would bet that one forkful of cabbage casserole for most Finns evokes memories of family meals and the scent of baked cabbage, probably made by grandma.
Rosolli, also known as Beetroot Salad, is a traditional Finnish dish that is often served during holidays and special occasions. The salad features a combination of boiled beetroots, potatoes, carrots, pickles, and apples, all finely diced and mixed together. The salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette made from vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Rosolli offers a delightful blend of sweet, tangy, and earthy flavors, making it a refreshing and colorful addition to the Finnish table. It is a beloved salad that represents the flavors and traditions of Finland.
Makaronilaatikko, or Finnish Macaroni Casserole, is a classic and comforting dish in Finnish cuisine. It consists of macaroni pasta combined with ground beef or pork, onions, and spices, such as allspice and black pepper. The mixture is then baked in a creamy egg and milk mixture until it forms a golden crust on top. Makaronilaatikko is a beloved family dish, often served with a side of lingonberry jam or a fresh salad, providing a satisfying and flavorful meal that represents the traditional flavors of Finland.
Karelian Pie with Egg Butter is a traditional Finnish pastry enjoyed as a snack or breakfast. The pie features a thin rye crust filled with a creamy rice or barley filling. It is typically served with a generous dollop of egg butter, which is a mixture of hard-boiled eggs, butter, and salt. The combination of the savory rye crust, creamy filling, and rich egg butter creates a delightful and flavorful treat that represents the culinary heritage of Finland.
Gravlax is a popular traditional dish in Finnish cuisine. It consists of fresh salmon fillets that are cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill. The salmon is coated with the curing mixture and refrigerated for a few days to develop its flavor and texture. The result is a delicate and flavorful cured salmon with a slightly salty and sweet taste. Gravlax is typically thinly sliced and served as an appetizer or on rye bread with mustard sauce, showcasing the rich flavors of Finnish cuisine.
Kalakukko is a traditional Finnish fish dish originating from the region of Savonia. It consists of a hearty rye bread dough filled with a combination of fish, typically perch or vendace, and pork fat. The filled dough is then baked until golden and the flavors meld together. Kalakukko is traditionally cooked in a sauna oven, giving it a unique smoky aroma. Sliced and served warm, it showcases the rustic flavors and cultural heritage of Finland.
Mykyrokka is a traditional Finnish soup known for its hearty and comforting flavors. The soup features meatballs made from a mixture of ground beef, breadcrumbs, onions, and spices, cooked in a creamy broth with root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips. Mykyrokka is often thickened with a combination of flour and cream, giving it a rich and velvety texture. This traditional Finnish soup is loved for its warm and satisfying qualities, making it a favorite during colder months.
Lohikeitto, or Finnish Salmon Soup, is a beloved dish in Finnish cuisine. The soup is made with fresh salmon, potatoes, onions, and dill, all cooked in a creamy broth flavored with fish stock and a touch of cream. The salmon is typically added towards the end of the cooking process to retain its delicate texture. Lohikeitto is a comforting and flavorful soup that showcases the natural flavors of Finnish salmon and the aromatic herbaceousness of dill, representing the culinary traditions of Finland.
Ruisleipä, or Finnish Rye Bread, is a staple in Finnish cuisine. This dense and hearty bread is made primarily from rye flour, providing a rich and distinct flavor. The dough is typically fermented using a sourdough starter or buttermilk, which adds depth to the taste. Ruisleipä is often baked in a special wooden mold to create its characteristic shape and dark crust. It is enjoyed sliced and topped with butter, cheese, or traditional Finnish toppings like smoked salmon or pickled herring, representing the long-standing breadmaking traditions of Finland.
Pytt i panna, also known as Swedish Hash, is a classic dish that has found popularity in Finland as well. It is made by sautéing diced potatoes, onions, and leftover meats like beef, ham, or sausage together in a pan. The ingredients are seasoned with salt and pepper, and sometimes topped with a fried egg. Pytt i panna is a versatile and comforting dish that is often enjoyed for breakfast or as a quick and satisfying meal throughout the day.
5 Dessert Finnish Recipes
Piparkakut, or Finnish Gingerbread Cookies, are a delightful treat enjoyed especially during the holiday season in Finland. The cookies are made with a blend of warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, giving them their distinct flavor. The dough is rolled out, cut into various shapes, and then baked until golden brown. Piparkakut are often decorated with icing or sprinkles for added festive charm. These crispy and fragrant cookies are a beloved part of Finnish holiday traditions, bringing joy and a touch of sweetness to gatherings and celebrations.
Bread Cheese, or Leipäjuusto, is a traditional Finnish cheese that is known for its unique texture and flavor. Made from cow’s milk, the cheese is typically baked or grilled, resulting in a distinctive browned crust on the outside and a soft, squeaky interior. Leipäjuusto has a slightly sweet and nutty taste, and it is often served warm with a drizzle of cloudberry jam. This Finnish delicacy is a delicious and satisfying treat that represents the rich dairy traditions of Finland.
Salty Licorice, known as Salmiakki in Finland, is a unique and distinctively Finnish treat. It is made by combining licorice extract with ammonium chloride, which gives it its characteristic salty and tangy flavor. The licorice mixture is then molded into various shapes like coins, drops, or ropes. Salmiakki is a popular candy enjoyed by many Finns and is often consumed as a palate cleanser or as a special treat. Its bold and distinctive taste reflects the love for licorice and unique flavors in Finnish culture.
Creamy Finnish Blueberry Pie, also known as Mustikkapiirakka, is a delightful dessert in Finnish cuisine. The pie features a buttery crust filled with a creamy custard and a generous amount of fresh blueberries. The custard is made with a combination of eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla, creating a luscious and velvety texture. Once baked, the pie is typically served at room temperature or chilled, allowing the flavors to meld together. Mustikkapiirakka is a popular summer treat, showcasing the sweet and tangy flavors of Finnish blueberries in a delightful pie form.
Quick Laskiaispulla is a classic Finnish pastry enjoyed during the winter season, especially on the Laskiainen festival. This recipe provides a convenient and time-saving method to make these delightful buns. The buns are made with a sweet cardamom-infused dough, filled with a dollop of strawberry or raspberry jam, and topped with a generous amount of whipped cream. The buns are then dusted with powdered sugar, resulting in a delicious treat that captures the essence of Finnish pastry traditions.