Introduction to heavy Latvian cooking

photo by kruder396. @Flickr.com

Ok, so here is the deal – if I ever want to explain Latvian cuisine, I think I would say that just imagine German cooking (schnitzel, saurkraut, various sausages), Russian (soljanka, pemeni, bliny) and Swedish (meatballs, herring in different preparation) cooking,  mix them all together and the result will be close to what I remember eating in my childhood. If you look at it, it is all food that was needed for people centuries ago when they were working on field. Something that is not needed for a modern man (with all the sitting we do during the day). And living abroad all this food is left in the past. Unless there is a gathering of girls where we decide to cook Latvian food.

This year we decided to greet spring in a weird way – instead of having a light salad or soup, we decided to praise food of our ancestors and make “kāpostu tīteņi” which could be translated as cabbage wrap and potato pancakes. And for starter we had “Siļķe kažokā” or translated it would be herring in coat 🙂

I thought it  is worth sharing the recipes for these dishes. In case you want to try something that you have never tried in your life 🙂

Kāpostu tīteņi or Cabbage wrap

What you need:

  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 glass of white rice
  • 500g of minced meat
  • salt, pepper
  • spices that you enjoy
  • sour cream

Preparation:

  1. Separate the cabbage leaves, boil them until they are soft. Boil the rice, fry the meat and when it is done, mix them together with spices that you like
  2. Put the rice/meat mixture in cabbage leaves, fold them, if necessary, tie them with thread and put in the oven proof dish (or pan).
  3. Pour hot water over, add additional spices and put them in the oven for 40min (200 degrees C) or cover the pan with lid and have them boil on the stove (use very small flame)
  4. Serve with sour cream

Potato pancakes

What you need

  • 1,2 kg potatoes

    Photo by free range jace @Flickr

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 glass flour
  • salt, pepper
  • olive oil for frying

Preparation:

  1. Peel the potatoes and grate them.
  2. Mix the potatoes together with eggs, flour and spices
  3. Heat the olive oil, put a tablespoon of mixture on the pan (for 1 pancake) and fry it brown from both sides
  4. Serve it with sour cream or red bilberry sauce

Siļķe kažokā or herring in coat

you will need:

  • marinated herring

    photo from mammam.lv

  • potatoes
  • beets
  • carrots
  • onion (optional)
  • pickles
  • eggs
  • mayonaise

How to prepare:

  1. Boil the carrots, potatoes and eggs
  2. Peel them and cat into small pieces
  3. Cut into small pieces onion and herring. Grate the beets.
  4. Take a deep dish and put the first layer of potatoes. On top of them put a small layer of mayonnaise.
  5. Next layer is herring and onions if you are using them
  6. Then put a small layer of mayonnaise on top and then put carrots
  7. On top of that put beets that are mixed with mayonnaise (again just a little bit) and spices
  8. Decorate it with crushed or cut eggs, cool it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

As you can imagine, all this stuff is really heavy…. So today I am back to old habits – eating rice galettes with avocado, shrimp and tomatoes. Healthy stuff, you know.

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