Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley. Mulgikapsad

Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley. Mulgikapsad

Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley is called ” Mulgikapsad”. Kapsad- means Cabbage and
Mulgi- Mulgimaa is an area in South-Estonia, with own culture, traditions, food and dialect.

This area and culture is a perfect example of the globalisation already in 19th of the century. During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 was the lack of cotton and price was very high.
So, as demand for alternatives. South Estonia, Mulgimaa has perfect conditions for the cultivation of linen. Bondage was in Estonia abolished 1816, but still, farmers were very poor and the land was owned by landlords. But because of America and demand for linen, farmers get enough money to buy from landlords land and farms. And this area becomes rich and successful. This made others little bit jealous and they started to call people and this area Mulgimaa 🙂
In Latvia means word- Mulk- ” silly” and in Estonia it means “hole”- in meaning that all richness went into the one hole…:)

I am Mulk ( person, who is living and born in Mulgimaa), as well. My mother’s ancestry has been lived in Mulgimaa more than 400 years. Maybe more, but we have first written documents from 1630 of the year 🙂

Mulgikapsad can be served as a meal unto itself, usually with boiled potato and certainly with some fermented milk for a drink. You may cook this as a vegan, without meat.

Barley has been cultivated in Estonia longer than any other crops – for over 4,000 years. And pearl barley has been a staple food for Estonians through the ages; it has even been a food fit for celebrations. In the olden days, the tradition in Estonian villages was to make sauerkraut soup with pork and barley groats on Thursdays and Sundays.

Mulgikapsad takes and needs a lot of time. And Mulgikapsad is the best on the second day, as all Sauerkraut dishes.

Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley. Mulgikapsad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Traditional Estonian food


  • 1 kg Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, Hapukapsas
  • 0,5 glass of pearl barley
  • 0,5 kg of fat pork
  • (chopped onion, if you like), salt, pepper, sugar, caraway seeds for seasoning


  1. Put half the quantity of sauerkraut on to the bottom of a thick-bottomed pot and add washed grits and meat.
  2. Put remaining sauerkraut on top.
  3. Add water to cover ingredients and salt
  4. Simmer on low heat. Check from time to time about water. Be sure that the bottom of the pot would have more than a few centimetres of water. If needed, add more water.
  5. 5.  When cabbage is a soft, season and adds some onion. Let set
  6. Serve with boiled potatoes
  7. Head isu!

Soundtrack Parvepoisid ” Mulgimaa”




7 thoughts on “Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley. Mulgikapsad

    1. I believe that many foods have evolved due to climate and need and are therefore similar in the regions.
      Sauerkraut was the only way to get vitamins in the winter, and barley grows very well in our latitudes. So the two were added together, and in the fall, when the pig was slaughtered, a little fatty meat could be added to taste 🙂 🙂


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