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Fishermans in the Curonian Bay. Old postcard. R.Paičius personal archive.




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Fish market in Šilutė. Old postcard. R.Paičius personal archive.




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Fish market in Šilutė. Old postcard. R.Paičius personal archive.




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Fish-nets. The Curonian Bay shore. Photo by B.Aleknavičius



In Lithuania most fish eaters live along lakes or the sea coast. Along with fresh water fish, salt water fish are also popular.

Fish are much used for food reserves, small fish are dried, while larger ones are salted. Some salted fish are hot smoked for immediate use. Fish for salting are seasoned with black pepper, powdered bay leaf, crushed juniper berries and ground cardamom.

Herring are popular throughout Lithuania.



Žarijose kepta žuvis

1 fresh fish

100 g (3 oz) bacon,

cut into thin strips

1 onion, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare fish for baking. Stuff fish with bacon, onion and pepper. Sprinkle salt on the outside. Wrap stuffed fish in brown paper and place into hot coals and bake for about 30 minutes.

Eat with black bread or with hot potatoes baked in same coals.

This fish is a favorite among fishermen, hunters and campers.



Kepta įdaryta lydeka

1 fish, pike, about 1 k (2 lbs)

1 onion, diced

50 g (2 oz) bacon, finely cut

1 carrot, coarsely grated

1 hard boiled egg, chopped

100 g (6 tablespoons) butter

1 raw egg

chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Clean fish, remove gills but do not cut off the head. Make filling by mixing bacon, onion, chopped egg, grated carrot, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stuff fish and sew up to keep stuffing from falling out. Melt butter in baking dish, place fish in baking dish and bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 30-45 minutes. Baste fish with butter, several times during baking. When fish is done, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with hot cooked potatoes or with mashed potatoes.



Kepta lydeka baltame padaže

1 k (2 lbs) fish, pike

100 g (6 tablespoons) butter

1 tablespoon flour; 1/2 cup sour cream

juice of 1 lemon; salt and pepper to taste

The fish is baked whole. After cleaning and gutting, blot dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt butter in oblong baking dish, place whole fish and cover with a mixture of sour cream, lemon juice and flour. Bake fish in a preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 25-30 minutes, basting several times.

The fish may be served whole or cut into pieces, covered with baking juices.

Cooked whole or mashed potatoes and sauerkraut are eaten as an accompaniment.



Kepta lydeka su krienų padažu

1 k (2 lbs) fish, pike; 1 egg

50 g (4 tablespoons) bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste; oil for frying

100 g (6 tablespoons) freshly grated horseradish root; 1 dill pickle

1/2 cup sour cream; 2 teaspoons sugar

Cut cleaned and gutted fish into medium pieces. Dip fish pieces in beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs. Heat oil in deep frying pan and fry breaded fish, turning fish pieces so that all sides are nicely browned. When all the pieces are done, place them in a serving dish and garnish with dill pickle slices.

To make horseradish sauce mix freshly grated horseradish with sour cream, sugar and salt.

Serve fried fish with horseradish sauce and fried or cooked potatoes.



Burokėlių rasale troškinta lydeka

1 k (2 lbs) fish, pike

1/2 l(2 cups) fermented beet juice

2 onions, quartered;1 carrot, diced

1 parsnip, diced; 1 cooked beet, finely grated

1/2 cup sour cream; 1 tablespoon flour

30 g (2 tablespoons) butter

1 teaspoon caraway seed; 1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

To make fermented beet juice take several raw beets, peel, cut into small pieces, cover with cold water, set in a cool place and allow to ferment. When fermentation has reached required sourness, strain and use liquid in recipe.

Take 2 cups of fermented beet juice add carrot, parsnip, onions and salt. Bring to a boil, cook until vegetables are soft. Strain. Cleaned, whole fish is salted and covered with caraway seed and placed in an oblong cooking container. Cover with strained fermented beet juice and simmer on low heat for about 25-30 minutes. While fish is simmering, fry flour in butter, add sour cream and heat gently. Just before fish is done pour sour cream sauce over the fish.

Serve the fish cut into pieces, covered with pan juices. Surround the fish with grated cooked and salted beets and hot cooked potatoes.



Virti lynai arba karšiai

Tench is a lake bottom fish. Bream is a fish found in the Curonian lagoon. It resembles carp.

1 k (2 lbs) fish

juice of 1/2 lemon; 1 hard boiled egg

aromatic vegetables - onion, carrot, parsnip and celery

salt and pepper to taste


2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish root

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup vegetable broth; 1/2 cup sour cream

juice of 1/2 lemon

sugar and salt to taste

Clean fish and blot dry. Salt inside of fish and sprinkle with lemon juice. Cut fish into medium pieces and place into cooking pot. Cover with seasonings and chopped aromatic vegetables. Add enough water to cover fish and vegetables, cook on gentle heat for about 20 minutes, uncovered.

To make sauce melt butter and fry flour until lightly browned, add grated horseradish, vegetable broth, lemon juice, pinch of salt and bring to a boil stirring gently. Add sour cream and mix well.

This fish is eaten for dinner with hot potatoes and hot horseradish sauce.



Virtas karšis su krienais

1 k (2 lbs) fish, bream

1/2 cup freshly ground horseradish root

3 sour apples, peeled, coarsely ground

1 tablespoon sugar, salt to taste

aromatic vegetables; seasonings

Make both with aromatic vegetables and seasonings. Cook whole fish in strained broth. When fish is done, carefully transfer fish to a platter and cover with the following mixture: equal parts of grated horseradish, apples, 1 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill.



Žuvies kukuliai

1 k (2 lbs) fish, cod, pike, flounder or other

2 slices white bread, soaked in milk

3 onions, finely chopped

1/2 cup milk; 30 g (2 tablespoons) butter

2 eggs; 1/2 cup sour cream

salt, pepper and marjoram to taste

100 g (6 tablespoons) bread crumbs

oil for frying

Clean fish, bone, filet and grind. Fry onion in butter, add to ground fish. Soak bread in milk, squeeze dry and add to ground fish. Beat eggs, mix with sour cream, seasonings and add to fish mixture. Make medium sized fish dumplings, roll in bread crumbs and fry in hot oil until crisp and browned.

The fish dumplings can also be cooked, about 15 minutes, in salted water.

Hot fish dumplings are eaten with cooked potatoes and dill pickles.

Fish dumplings are also eaten cold. They are then served with horseradish mixed with sour cream or finely chopped dill pickles in sour cream.



Keptas ungurys

800 g (1 1/2 lbs) fish, eel; 1 lemon

seasonings (pepper, powdered bay leaf,

marjoram, cloves and salt); chopped parsley

Skin fish and rub with ground seasonings. Place whole fish in baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 30 minutes. Baste with pan juices during baking.

To serve baked fish, cut into medium pieces and garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

This is eaten as a snack with black or white fried bread.



Rūkytas ungurys

1 fresh eel; 1/4 teaspoon pepper

powdered bay leaves; cloves

5 juniper berries

Clean fish and blot dry. Rub with mixed, powdered seasonings, then weigh down fish and keep 3 days so that it is well seasoned. Then blot dry, insert thin pieces of wood to keep sides of fish open and hang to cold smoke for 5-6 days. Hot smoking takes a shorter time, 2-3 days. End smoking with juniper twigs, to obtain juniper flavored smoke. Cold smoked eel can be kept longer, while hot smoked eel should be eaten within a few days.

Serve smoked eel, cut into medium slices with lemon. It is eaten as a special treat on holidays and to entertain guests.



Virti vėžiai

1 k (2 lbs) crawfish; 50 g (4 tablespoons) butter

1/2 l (2 cups) beer; 5 bay leaves

10 black peppercorns

medium piece of horseradish root

parsley and dill; 3 l (3 qts) water; salt to taste

Soak crawfish in cold water for about 10-15 minutes to remove sand. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add beer, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, dill and horseradish root. Bring to a boil and add crawfish, cover pot and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove pot with crawfish from heat and let sit covered, so that crawfish is well seasoned. After 1 hour, remove crawfish from cooking water, paint crawfish with melted butter to give them a shine and sprinkle with finely chopped dill and parsley.



Rūkyta menkė su troškintomis morkomis

1/2 k (1 lb) smoked cod

3 carrots, coarsely grated

2 onions, chopped

3 apples, peeled and sliced

1 cup vegetable oil

salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet, add carrots, onion, apples and simmer until carrots are soft. Remove bones from fish, cut into small pieces and arrange on a platter. Cover with simmered, cooled vegetables.

Serve with black rye bread.



Džiovintos stintos ir kitos smulkios žuvytės

Fish are cleaned and blotted dry. A dry marinade is prepared with black pepper, bay leaves and much salt. Rub fish with dry marinade and keep fish in marinade for 48 hours. Then scrape off marinade. Blot fish and thread fish through eyes on wire or string and hang in the sun, in a windy spot. The fish can also be dried in an oven on low heat.

Such dried fish are eaten cold. They are also used to make fish chowders.


SALTED VIMBA (A fresh water fish)

Sūdyti žiobriai

These fish are not scaled, just cleaned and washed. Place fish in a non-metallic container and cover with a dry marinade made with salt, pepper, ground bay leaves, crushed juniper berries and crushed cardamom seeds. Next day, scrape off the dried marinade, place fish in same container, weigh down and set in cool place. Before eating the fish is soaked in cold water. Salted vimba is used for fish chowders and is simmered in fat with carrots and fresh dill.


SALTED BLEAKS WITH BLEVITS (Bleaks are small fresh water fish)

Sūdytos aukšlės su žaliuokėmis

Cleaned bleaks are salted and weighed down for 48 hours. Blevits are cleaned and cooked for 10 minutes, then salted. After 48 hours, fish are removed from brine, blotted dry and are layered with peppers, bay leaves and mushrooms in a glass or wooden container. When all is layered, contents are weighed down and covered with 3-4 inches of vegetable oil. Container is covered and kept in a cold room.

Such salted fish may be served with mushrooms, chopped onions and potatoes or black bread. Sometimes sour cream is poured on top of the fish.


Silkė grietinės padaže

3 whole herring or 6 herring fillets

1 cup sour cream; 1 onion, finely chopped

scallions or chives, finely chopped

parsley sprigs

1 hard boiled egg, finely chopped

If using whole, salted herring, soak in cold water, skin and bone. Cut herring into bite size pieces and cover with sour cream. Sprinkle with onion, scallions or chives. Garnish with parsley and chopped egg.

This is eaten as a snack or a light meal with hot, cooked potatoes in their skins/jackets.


Silkė su spirgyne

8 herring fillets; 3 onions, sliced

1 cup hemp seed; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt to taste

Cut herring fillets into small pieces and place on a serving platter. Fry 2 sliced onions in hot oil, add pepper. Cool and pour over herring pieces. Fry hemp seed together with 1 finely chopped onion and salt until hemp seed are crisp. Then pour hemp seed mixture into mortar and grind to a fine powder, and pour over herring.

This herring is eaten as a snack or light meal with bread or with hot potatoes, cooked in their jackets.


Silkė burokėlių rūgštyje

12 herring fillets; 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup fermented beet juice

2 tablespoons flour

scallion greens, dill and parsley

Fry herrings in hot oil and arrange on serving platter. Bring fermented beet juice to a boil. Take flour and dissolve in 1/4 cup of beet juice. Add flour mixture to boiling beet juice, stir while gently boiling for 2-3 minutes. When sauce is clear and slightly thickened, pour over herring fillets. Garnish with scallion greens, dill and parsley branches.

Serve with hot potatoes.


Keptos silkės su grietine

6 whole herring; 4 onions, sliced

100 g (6 tablespoons) butter

2 tablespoons flour; 1 cup sour cream

pinch of pepper

Soak herring and bone, keeping fish whole. Make a small slit in back of herring, so that when baking fish does not curl. Sprinkle fish with flour and bake in hot butter. Fry onion in butter, add sour cream, blend well and continue to cook on low heat for 3-5 minutes. Place baked fish on serving platter, cover with onion-sour cream sauce.

Serve with hot potatoes.


Silkės tešloje

6 whole herring

100 g (6 tablespoons) butter; 2 eggs

2 tablespoons flour; 1 tablespoon sour cream

Soak herring, skin, bone and fillet. Beat egg yolks with sour cream, add to flour and mix well. Beat egg whites and fold into dough. Dip herring fillets in dough and fry in hot butter, on both sides.

Serve hot with baked potatoes.


Silkės su grybais

12 herring fillets; 3 onions, finely chopped

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons sour cream; 6 dried mushrooms

sugar and pepper to taste

Soak dried mushrooms in hot water for 3 hours, cook and cut into thin strips. Fry onions add mushrooms, pinch of pepper and sugar and cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Spoon mushroom-onion mixture over each fillet, roll fillets and place side by side on serving platter. Cover herring rolls with sour cream.

This is eaten as a snack or a light meal with bread or hot potatoes.


Silkės krienų padaže

12 herring fillets

100 g (6 tablespoons) vegetable oil

100 g (6 tablespoons) flour

100 g (6 tablespoons) freshly grated
horseradish root; 1 teaspoon sugar

pinch of salt; 3 egg yolks

1 cup sour cream; dash of vinegar

Roll herring fillets in flour and bake in oil. Place baked fillets in serving platter and cover with horseradish sauce.

To make sauce: brown flour in hot oil, add horseradish and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add sour cream, heat on low heat, add dash of vinegar and pinch of salt. Beat egg yolks, add to sauce, stirring constantly bring to a gentle boil. Cool sauce and pour over herring fillets.

Serve with bread.


Silkių maltinukai su burokėliais

5 herring; 4 cooked potatoes, riced; 3 eggs

1/2 cup milk; 3 tablespoons sour cream

2 onions, finely chopped; 200 g (3/4 cup) butter

bread crumbs; pinch of pepper


1 k (2 lbs) beets; 1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon flour; 1/2 cup sour cream

50 g (4 tablespoons) butter

salt and pepper to taste; dash of vinegar

To prepare croquettes: to soak herring, skin and bone. Chop or grind herring, add fried onions, riced potatoes, 2 beaten eggs with sour cream and pepper. Blend all ingredients, form medium croquettes. Dip croquettes in beaten egg, roll in bread crumbs and fry in butter on both sides until crisp and nicely browned.

To prepare beet garnish: cook beets, peel and grate. Fry onion in butter, add flour and mix well. Add onion mixture to beets in a deep, heavy bottomed frying pan, mix. Add sour cream, dash of vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend all ingredients and heat on low flame until flavors have blended.

Serve with herring croquettes.


Grietinėje virta silkė

4 herring filets; 1/2 l (2 cups) sour cream

1 onion, thinly sliced; fresh dill, finely chopped

pinch of pepper

Cut herring into bite sized pieces. Pour sour cream into heavy bottomed frying pan, add herring and a pinch of pepper. Cook on low heat until sour cream thickens and turns yellow. Place herring into serving dish, cover with cooked sour cream, sliced onion and sprinkle with dill.

Serve with bread or hot potatoes as a snack or light lunch.


Silkių bulvytės

10 potatoes, cooked in their skins

4 herring fillets; 2 cooked carrots,

coarsely grated

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped;

1 sour apple, peeled and coarsely grated

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon caraway seed

salt and pepper to taste

Fry herring fillets in hot oil. Cut fried fillets into very small pieces and mix with 2 coarsely grated, cooked potatoes, carrots, apples and onion. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Scoop out centers of 8 remaining cooked potatoes and fill with herring-potato mixture. Pour sour cream over tops of filled potatoes and sprinkle with caraway seed.

Serve as a snack or light lunch.