Local curiosities

Scroll down for all things Finnish!


Here is a blog post about Finnish food culture by our student helper Antonia Stavridou: https://blogs.uef.fi/on-the-move/2019/01/16/finnish-food-culture/

Salmon soup

The traditional Finnish salmon soup is an example of easy and quick home cooking.


500 g/1,1 lb salmon, skinned and cut into large chunks

10 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 carrots, sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 l water



1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp allspice

1 bay leaf

2 dl cream (0,8 US cup)

Plenty of fresh dill, finely chopped


Cooking instructions

  1. Melt a chunk of butter in a small kettle and sauté the thinly sliced leek and onion. They need to become a bit translucent but by no means brown!
  2. Take the soup kettle and boil the water. Add potato and carrot chunks, sautéed leek, onion and spices. Boil for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the salmon on top of the boiling vegetables. Sprinkle salt on top. Gently boil the fish ready.
  4. Preheat cream in the small kettle and add it to the soup. Check flavor and add salt if needed. Last, add dill.

(Source: HerFinland https://herfinland.com/finnish-salmon-soup/)


Sautéed reindeer

This dish originates from the North of Finland. It is simple but tasty.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
600g frozen reindeer meat
1 onion
1 (small) bottle of dark beer
Freshly ground black pepper


Cooking instructions:

  1. Chop the onion finely. Heat the butter and oil mixture in a frying pan, then add the frozen
  2. While the meat is being defrosted in the hot pan, separate the different layers with a spatula (or alternatively, slice the meat thinly when it is still frozen).
  3. Add the onion to the pan and fry with the meat till When the meat has browned, add the beer and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Leave to simmer in medium heat till the meat softens. If needed, add some
  5. Check the the taste and texture of the meat. Serve with mashed potatoes and with lingonberry chutney that has been seasoned with honey or brown sugar.

(Source: Helsinki Times https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/eat-and-drink/5374-eating-rudolph.html)


Creamy chanterelle sauce with fish and spring potatoes

This is the classic granny’s recipe. We eat this often in the late summer/early autumn during the chanterelle season, served with new harvest potatoes and fish (preferably fresh water fish, such as pike-perch).


1/2–1 litre of chanterelles

1 onion, finely chopped


2-3 dl cream

Salt and pepper

Cooking instructions:

Clean the mushrooms well. Put the roughly chopped mushrooms on a dry frying pan and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add a lump of butter and the chopped onion. Stir them in the pan to brown before adding the cream. Let simmer until it thickens to a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh lake fish or salmon and spring potatoes

(Adapted from https://handmadebyliisa.com/2016/07/23/kantarellikastike-creamy-chanterelle-sauce/)



Sirloin of reindeer with lingonberry and red wine sauce

This is a fine-dining version of a wild game dish. The red wine sauce is not originally Finnish, but it makes the perfect accompaniment to any game that we typically eat, such as reindeer or elk.


6 sirloin fillets (approx. 600 g) of reindeer


Freshly ground white pepper


Remove the gristle from the fillets and season them with salt and pepper. Let them rest and prepare the sauce (see below).

Sauté the fillets quickly in butter. Continue frying until they turn pink in the middle or roast them for 4−5 minutes in the oven at 200°C. Allow them to rest under foil for 2−3 minutes. Slice them across the grain and set them on the plate.

Serve with lingonberry and red wine sauce and, for example, over roasted root vegetables.


Lingonberry and red wine sauce

3 dl red wine

3 dl (beef or game) broth

3 shallots

1 carrot

100 g celery root

2 sprigs of thyme

1 tsp brown sugar

1-2 gloves of garlic

1-2 tbs of butter

1 bay leaf

2-3 tbs lingonberry jam

Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté the chopped root vegetables in a frying pan or saucepan. Add the wine, broth, lingonberry jam and spices. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Strain the sauce though a mesh sieve. Add seasoning and thicken with corn flour if necessary.

(Adapted from https://finland.fi/life-society/finnish-cuisine-recipes/ and https://www.viinilinna.fi/resepti-maailman-parhaalle-punaviinikastikkeelle/ )


Karelian pies

This is the traditional salty pastry originating from the eastern parts of Finland. Karelian pies are commonly eaten as a snack and you can find them in nearly every supermarket or café, but if you’re willing to go through some trouble and makes ones yourself, here’s the recipe.


1 decilitre water

½ – 1 tsp salt

2½ decilitre rye flour


Rice filling:

2,5 decilitre water

1 litre milk

2,5 decilitre rice

1 tsp salt



  1. Rinse the rice and place it in boiling water. Simmer until most of the water is absorbed.Add the milk, lower the heat to a minimum, and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the milk has been absorbed and the rice has turned into a thick porridge. Season with salt and leave to cool.
  2. Add the flour and salt to the water and mix into a solid, compact dough.
  3. Form the dough into a strip and divide into 12 pieces.
  4. Roll the pieces into flat thin ovals.
  5. Spread some filling on each oval. Then fold the sides towards the center, pinching and making neat pleats along the edge.
  6. Bake at 300 ºC for about 10 minutes.
  7. Brush them well with melted butter or a butter and water mixture.
  8. Place the pasties, separated with baking paper, in a bowl and cover with a towel to soften the crusts.
  9. Serve warm with butter or egg butter which is made by mixing equal parts of butter, (cottage cheese) and chopped hard-boiled egg.

(Source: thisisFINLAND https://finland.fi/life-society/finnish-recipes/)


Cinnamon rolls

This is the most common sweet pastry that is served pretty much everywhere (with coffee, of course).


2,5 dl milk

25 g fresh yeast*

1 dl sugar

2 tsp vanilla sugar

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tsp salt

75 g butter

  1. 7 dl flour



75 g butter

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar


On top

1 egg, whisked

pearl sugar


Baking instructions

  1. Add yeast to warm milk and mix well.
  2. Whisk in sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, and cardamom. Stir in flour one cup at a time and a dough begins to form.
  3. Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. It should become elastic. Add butter and continue to knead the butter in.
  4. In total, around five minutes of kneading should be fine. Now you have a smooth dough ball in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place.
  5. Wait for at least 30 minutes so that the dough rises. The dough should double in size. Put the dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 15×15 inch (40×40 cm) square.
  6. Spread softened butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Roll up the dough. Cut into 1/2 inch or 1,5 cm sections with a knife.
  7. Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Cover them with a towel and let rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 390°F / 200°C.
  8. Whisk one egg and brush it to the tops of the cinnamon rolls to help them brown. Sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Then bake the rolls for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Allow the buns to cool a bit under a towel and eat immediately!


(Source: HerFinland https://herfinland.com/pulla-recipe/)


Blueberry pie

This is a classic sweet dessert and easy to make. It is especially delicious if made from freshly picked blueberries, but frozen ones will do as well.


125 g softened butter

1 dl granulated sugar

1 egg

0,5 dl rolled oats

3 dl all-purpose baking flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

100 g sour cream


On top

2-3 dl blueberries

1 tbsp potato starch, especially if the blueberries are frozen

2 tbsp granulated sugar

Vanilla ice-cream or vanilla sauce



  1. Preheat oven to 440°F/225°C. Butter a pie plate (around 10 inches / 26 cm).
  2. The dough takes only 10 minutes to make! Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg in and mix again.
  3. Put flour, flaked oats, baking powder and salt in a separate cup and mix. Then add them in the bowl and mix quickly so that all is even. Last, whisk in the sour cream.
  4. Scrape the dough onto to pie plate.
  5. Mix blueberries with starch and sugar. Put on top of the dough. If you are using fresh blueberries, you don’t need potato starch at all. You really need starch, when you use frozen blueberries. No matter if the berries are defrosted or still ice cold, they have a lot of water inside them.
  6. Bake the pie for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream! Blueberry pie is definitely most delicious when it’s still warm from the oven!


(Source: HerFinland https://herfinland.com/finnish-blueberry-pie/)