The Baltic herring is one of the most important fish in the whole of the Baltic Sea and the Estonians’ feeder for centuries.
In 2007 the Baltic herring was announced the national Estonian Fish. The Baltic herring is such an everyday fish for us and believe me, we have a lot of recipe books like ” 100 dishes from Baltic herring”.
Since Baltic Herring are cheap fish, she had a reputation for many years as a poor human food. But because of delicious taste this reputation is gone. And from early spring to late autumn, Baltic Herring is mandatory part of Estonian cuisine.
Especially in spring, because the spring Baltic herring is big, fat and delicious.
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.
You can cook this soup on the traditional way: swell beans and barley overnight. Prepare beautiful and delicious broth, and cook up to 2 hours.
But I recommend the easier and faster ”everyday version”:
This soup has enough flavours, so you can cook this without meat. If needed add some meat leftovers or strengthen flavour with ready broth.
And Use prepared/canned beans and barley groats.
Mulgi-Mulgimaa is a district in South-Estonia with its own culture, food and dialect.
My mother is Mulk and so am I. Mulgipuder means Mulgi’s porridge. This dish is very old though. In former times when people had wood burning stoves the porridge was placed on a stove in the morning where it had time to cook and get simmer and better. People just had more time.
Mulgid (the people who lived in Mulgimaa) were wealthy. But because in early times animals were more important than people, they were usually to ones who got to eat the porridge first. And if there was anything left from the dish it was passed on to the rest of the family. Like my mother used to say – the Mulgi’s porridge was a pig food (Bon appétit! Sorry!)
Despite all, me and Estonians love this dish. It’s very, very nourishing and filling with an option to cook it completely vegan-friendly!
Potato and pearl barley porridge, i.e. potato-barley mash, originates from Southern Estonia. People in Southern Estonia (the Mulgi people) started boiling potatoes and pearl barley together in the second half of the 19th century as the combination was very filling. By the last quarter of the 19th century, this porridge was known all over Estonia. In the second half of the 20th century, this dish reached cafeterias as well and it has by now become a national dish that is served at various official events.
This January, I would like to introduce you to a foreign dish that throughout the years has become more and more popular in Estonia to the point where me and my fellow estonians consider it being part of our national cuisine.
Rassolnik is light vegetable soup. As name says “rassolnik “-“rassol” means in Russian cucumber brine. So, this soup contains and has specific salted cucumbers taste.
If you follow my blog, You know, that I prefer dishes that do not take much time to prepare. Yes, you can cook proper broth. But in weekdays I have not time for this.
I make this soup using meat leftovers and/or season this soup with stock fond.
Long long time ago. Poor Soldier came from War.
He was tired and hungry.
Knocked on the door and asked for food. The hostess was stingy and said that she is poor herself and have not any food.
Ok, said Soldier. But do you have an axe? Lets cook an ax soup, then.
This sounded interesting, the hostess heard for the first time about ax soup and agreed.
Soldier put cattle on the stove and added water and an ax. Let it simmer, tasted and said: it is too strong. To make this lighter, we have to add something. Do you have some meat?
Yes, agreed hostess and went to the pantry for meat. During this time soldier hid an ax and changed water.
Hostess brought meat, soldier added this in to the cattle. Let simmer, tasted and asked. This is still too strong. You have very strong ax,.. To make this lighter, please bring some barley…
then they added some vegetable to make soup ” lighter”.
Finally was soup ready. Look, said Soldier: we cooked this so long, that ax is just dissolved!
Hostess tasted soup and was amazed: so delicious, who might have known that ax is so delicious!
This is story about envy, greed and deceit. And how to cook something about nothing 🙂
Now you probably already know, that I prefer dishes which take time max 30 minutes. And this soup is the same. You can cook it in a decent manner: prepare stock and use meat and spend hours to have perfect dish.
But at the afternoon, you have not time. And this is the simplest version to prepare soup. In my opinion cabbage suits with sausages. But you can cook vegan version, or use minced meat or bacon or…. whatever you like.
The first written notices approve that buckwheat was in Estonia already in 14 th of century. Later, in 19 th century became potato more popular, but still buckwheat is very common and popular in Estonian cuisine.
This is my favourite. Easy to cook and healthy to eat.
By book you should buckwheat before cooking, simmer in hot butter. But at least in Estonia buckwheat is too “dirty” and I start buckwheat cooking from washing.
I wash buckweat, pour it in to the boiling water, add some salt and after 15 minutes, strain. Then I heat buckweat in a pot until water has evaporated and add some butter.
Perfect dinner, if you cooked yesterday too much buckwheat:)
Estonian peasants regarded mushrooms primarily as a food consumed during famine or war periods. Mushroom foraging and cooking with mushrooms was more wide-spread in Eastern and South-Eastern parts of Estonia, which had received more Slavic influences. Mushrooms as food gained wider popularity in the 20th century, when they were introduced in magazines and various workshops as tasty and healthy vegetarian food.
In 1988-1992 I have been studied in university (this time university last 5 years). This was very complicated and messy time.
Of course, students are always poor and has complicated life 🙂 But this time in Estonia took place changes.
We have been more than 40 years occupied by soviet union, all this period were lack of food products, deficit. Most of milk and meat and butter, produced in Estonia, were sent to the Russia.
But in the beginning of 90-s, was situation very bad. This was not only deficit, but to get any milk, butter, flour, sugar, semolina…. and so one, you must have a special coupon.
Sunday morning. 7 o clock.
The Cat jumped on the bed ” Krrr…. lazy bums, the sun is shining, wakeup…”
I pulled blanket over the head. I had the intention to sleep at least 4 more hours…
But.. for my amazement, my husband woke up and left from bed room…
Some time later, I realized, that I have to go.
On the couch sat next to each other, Man and Cat. Eyes are glued to the TV screen. Watching racing cars..