Estonian Pea Soup. Hernesupp

Traditional Pea Soup. Hernesupp

Vastlapäev, known as Shrove Tuesday in much of the English-speaking world, the Estonians celebrate this day a little differently.

Instead of pancakes, we eat split pea soup and the delicious Vastlakukkel cream cake.
Traditionally children will sled down any available hill of snow, to get “long linens”.  And not only children. Tomorrow, after meeting I am going with my colleges  to sled, as well.
And later we have pea soup and Vastlakukkel!
Today, of course nobody care about linen, this is just for fun:)

The name Vastlapaev is taken from the German word “fasten” (to fast). And after Vastlapäev started fast, because meat was ran out.

Traditional pea soup takes time, so this is reasonable to cook more soup and leftovers freeze or store in clean airtight jar.

Traditional Estonian Pea Soup. Hernesupp

  • Servings: 4-6
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Traditional Estonian Pea Soup takes time, but it is worth it


  • 500 g pork, best is (smoked) leg or ribs or pork belly
  • 0,5 glass of pearl barley
  • 400 g dried yellow peas
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • for seasoning salt, mustard, pepper, garlic


  1. One day before, put peas and barley to soak in to cold water
  2. Put all ingredients in to pot and add 3-3,5 litre of water
  3. Bring to boil and remove the foam
  4. Decrease heat and let soup to simmer at a low heat min 2 hours
  5. Season and serve
  6. Head isu! Ilusat vastlapäeva!

Soundtrack Vägilased ” Kulla kutse”



9 thoughts on “Estonian Pea Soup. Hernesupp

  1. We make pea soup here from Newfoundland as my wife is from Newfoundland. It doesn’t have barley but we add carrots and turnip (rutabaga). Typically it’s make with left over ham bone or pork hocks.

    In addition to this they make ‘dough boys’ or flour dumplings. I love barley so I will have to try this.

    Liked by 1 person

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