LITHUANIAN TRADITIONAL FOODS

 
 

GRAIN
Grûdai

Another basic Lithuanian food is grain. Lithuanian agrarian traditions are ancient, farmers have always planted a large variety of grain, such as rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, peas, beans and oil crops (hemp, poppies, flax seed). Rye was and still is the most important crop, used mainly for rye bread. Second place goes to barley which is used to make groats and flour. Wheat is in third place and oats in fourth place. Buckwheat was and is grown in the hilly regions of northern and southern Lithuania.Peas and beans are eaten raw, cooked and are also ground into flour. Dishes made with peas and pea flour are popular in Aukätaitija, the northeast region. Among oil crops, hemp and poppy seeds have always been used to make hemp and poppy milk, which replaces cow's milk during fast days and special holidays. Flax seed is fried with different seasonings and this mixture is used as a flavoring for many foods, especially potatoes. Hemp seed is also used for similar flavorings.Peoples' well being always depended on the grain harvest. To assure an abundant harvest, certain traditions were observed. The farmer never went to work in the fields on an empty stomach, for then the ears of grain will grow empty. Even better, when preparing to sow barley, it is best to have eaten a pig's tail. According to legend then the barley ears will grow long, like the pig's tail. Groats have been used in Lithuania since olden times. Farmers used wooden mortars and pestles and hand grinders to make groats. Today groats are available commercially. The biggest gruel eaters are the Samogitians, eemaičiai. Pancakes are also an ancient food and a popular breakfast food among the Highlanders, Aukätaičiai.Rye and wheat flours are most commonly used throughout the country.

HEMP PORRIDGE
Kanapiø koðë

1 cup hemp seed
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups water
pinch of pepper and salt

Saute hemp seed in skillet until crisp, then grind seed into fine powder. Bring water to a boil, add flour, onion, salt and pepper. Stirring continuously cook on low heat for about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat, add hemp powder and mix well.
Serve in individual bowls with hot potatoes cooked in their skins.
 

BARLEY PORRIDGE WITH POTATOES
Mieþinë koðë su bulvëmis

2 cups barley groats
8 cups water; 2 cups grated raw potato
200 g (6 oz) bacon
salt to taste

Soak barley groats in hot water for 2 hours. Cook in soaking water over low heat, until porridge thickens. Add grated potatoes and salt, cook stirring until potatoes are done, for about 10-15 minutes. 
Pour porridge into a bowl and cover with fried bacon.
 

RYE PORRIDGE
Ruginë koðë

1 cup rye flour
2 cups water
100 g (4 tablespoons) butter
salt to taste

Pour rye flour into salted, boiling water, cook on low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes.
Serve in individual bowls with milk or fried bacon.
 

SOUR PORRIDGE DUMPLINGS
Parûgëliai

2 cups rye flour; 1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
piece of bacon to grease skillet
SAUCE
200 g (3/4 cup) dry cottage cheese
200 g (3/4 cup) sour cream

Blend both ingredients well until a smooth sauce is obtained. 
The night before, take one third flour, mix with water, cover and let sit in a warm spot overnight. In the morning add remaining flour, salt and make a dough, thicker than for pancakes. Heat skillet, rub with bacon and drop by spoonful into hot skillet. Bake in preheated oven at 300F/150C, until dumplings puff out and turn golden brown. 
Serve hot with cottage cheese-sour cream sauce for breakfast like the Highlanders, Aukätaičiai do.
 

YEAST PANCAKES
Mieliniai blynai

2 cups flour; 50 g (2 oz) fresh yeast
2 eggs; 2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
salt to taste
oil for frying 
100 g (3 oz) sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar or fruit preserves

Heat milk to 95F/35-40C, add yeast mixed with sugar, 2 tablespoons flour. Mix all ingredients well. Sprinkle top with flour and let rise in warm spot for 30 minutes. Beat egg yolks with salt, blend into risen dough and add remaining flour, mix well. Let rest for another hour. Beat egg whites and fold gently into risen yeast dough. Drop dough by spoonful into hot oil, bake on low heat. 
Serve hot with sugar or fruit preserves.
These pancakes are traditional Shrove Tuesday food, served to visiting masqueraders.
 

PEA FLOUR SCONES
Þirniø paploèiai

3 cups coarse pea meal, flour; water
salt to taste
SAUCE
2 cooked potatoes
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely chopped
1 egg beaten with salt
1/2 cup warm milk
1 onion, finely chopped

To make sauce rice potatoes, add egg and blend well. Fry bacon and onion and add to potatoes, mix well. Add warm milk and heat on low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes.
Prepare scone batter to be thicker than for pancakes. Beat batter until almost white, spongy and almost doubled. A food processor is very helpful. Drop by spoonful on a greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 375F/190C, until golden. 
Such scones are served for breakfast in the Highlands, Aukätaitija, with sour milk or bacon sauce.
 

DUMPLINGS
Virtiniai

3 cups wheat flour
1 egg; 1 cup water; salt 
FILLING
300 g (9 oz) ground pork
1 onion, finely chopped; 1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon pepper; salt to taste

To make filling blend all ingredients well.

SAUCE
200 g (6 oz) bacon, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream

Fry bacon and onions, then add sour cream, heat but do not boil.
Make a stiff dough for dumplings, roll out thinly, cut out rounds 5 cm/2 inches in diameter. Place 1 teaspoon filling in center of dough, fold over and seal edges well. Drop dumplings into boiling, salted water and cook for 10-15 minutes. When dumplings are done, remove with slotted spoon into a bowl and cover with sauce. Serve hot.
 

FILLINGS FOR DUMPLINGS:
Ádarai

Dumplings are made with a variety of fillings, meat, mushrooms, bacon, cottage cheese, potato, poppy and hemp seed, and fruit.

COTTAGE CHEESE
Varðkës

300 g (10 oz) dry cottage cheese
1 egg beaten with salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

Blend cottage cheese with egg and mint. Mix well. 
Cottage cheese dumplings are eaten with melted butter and sour cream sauce.

COTTAGE CHEESE AND BACON
Varðkës ir laðiniukø

200 g (6 oz) dry cottage cheese
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 cup sour cream

Mix bacon, cottage cheese, egg and mint. Blend well.
Dumplings made with this filling are eaten with sour cream.

BACON FILLING
Laðiniukø

200 g (6 oz) bacon, finely cut
1 egg; 1 onion, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients and blend well.
Serve melted butter with dumplings with this filling.

COOKED POTATO
Virtø bulviø

300 g (10 oz) cooked potatoes, riced
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg beaten with salt

Fry bacon and onion, mix with riced potatoes, add egg. Blend all ingredients well and fill dumplings.

MUSHROOM
Grybø

100 g (3 oz) dried mushrooms
2 onions, finely chopped
50 g (2 oz) butter; 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste

Cook soaked mushrooms in salted water, drain and blot dry. Chop finely. Fry onions in butter, add mushrooms, pepper, salt, bread crumbs and heat for another 5 minutes. 
Fill dumplings.

HEMP SEED
Kanapiø

1 cup hemp seed; 20 g (4 teaspoons) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg; 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
salt

Soak hemp seed and cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain seed, blot dry and grind or process in food processor. Fry onion in butter and add to powdered hemp seed. Blend in egg, bread crumbs, salt and mix well. Fill dumplings.

POPPY SEED
Aguonø

1 cup poppy seed; 100 g (3 oz) sugar
salt

Grind poppy seed in herb mill or process in food processor. Add sugar and blend well. Use 1 teaspoon of poppy mass for one dumpling.
Poppy seed dumplings are eaten hot or cold with sour cream or sprinkled with sugar.

FRUIT OR BERRY
Uogø arba vaisiø

300 g (10 oz) fruit, cherries, apples or blueberries; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Berries are mixed with sugar.
Apples are finely chopped and simmered with sugar and cinnamon for about 5 minutes.
Use 1 teaspoon of fruit for one dumpling.
 

BREAD DUMPLINGS
Duonkukuliai

1/2 l (2 cups) coarsely milled rye flour
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely chopped
1 cup sour cream; 1 onion, finely diced
salt

Make a stiff dough with rye flour and a small quantity of water. Form walnut sized dumplings and drop into boiling, salted water. Cook for about 10-15 minutes.
To make sauce fry bacon and onion, add sour cream, mix well and bring to a gentle boil. When dumplings are done, remove with slotted spoon into a bowl and cover with sauce.
Serve hot for breakfast.
 

BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES
Grikainiai

2 cups buckwheat flour; 2 cups sour cream
1 egg; 2 tablespoons milk; salt; oil for frying

Sift flour into sour cream, mix well. Add egg, milk and salt. Blend all ingredients well. Batter should be of sour cream consistency. Drop by spoonful into hot oil, fry on both sides until golden brown.
Serve with sugar, sour cream or fruit preserves.
 

BAKED BUCKWHEAT PUDDING
Grikiø apkepas

2 cups buckwheat flour; 2 eggs beaten with salt
2 cups sour milk, yogurt or butter milk
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely cut
1 onion, finely chopped; 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Sift flour with soda. Fry bacon and onion, add to flour. Add milk, eggs and blend well into a thick batter. Grease and flour a square baking dish and pour batter. Bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, until top is nicely browned, about 30-45 minutes.
When pudding is done, cut into square pieces, cover with sour cream or melted butter when serving for breakfast or lunch as is done in Dzökija, the southeastern region. 
 

BUCKWHEAT BUNS WITH MUSHROOM FILLING
Grikiø pyragëliai su grybais

1 1/2 cups buckwheat groats
2 cups milk; 2 cups water
2 eggs beaten with salt
4 tablespoons wheat flour
20 g (4 teaspoons) butter
oil for frying
FILLING
30 g (1 oz) dried mushrooms
30 g (2 tablespoons) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
salt

Cook soaked mushrooms, drain and chop finely, fry in butter together with onion, add sour cream, bread crumbs, salt and blend well. Use 1 teaspoonful for one bun.

SAUCE
3 onions, sliced
30 g (2 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
mushroom cooking liquid
salt

Fry onions in butter, add flour and fry 2-3 minutes more. Pour in mushroom liquid and cook until sauce thickens, add sour cream, continue to heat until sour cream is well blended, but do not boil.
To make dough begin by cooking buckwheat in boiling water, on low heat until the groats thicken, about 15-20 minutes. Add milk, butter, salt and continue to cook until all liquid is absorbed. Cool cooked groats then add flour, beaten eggs. Mix a medium hard dough. Take walnut sized pieces of dough, flatten and place mushroom filling, fold over and form small buns. Fry buns in hot oil until golden brown. 
Serve covered with onion sauce.
 

BLOOD SAUSAGE WITH BARLEY GROATS
Kruopiniai vëdarai su krauju

3 cups barley groats
2 cups blood
200 g (6 oz) bacon
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
large pork casings
SAUCE
200 g (6 oz) bacon, finely cut
200 g (6 oz) sour cream

Fry bacon, add sour cream, heat gently.
Scald groats with boiling water and let soak for 2 hours. Drain water and add blood to groats. Mix well. Add fried bacon with onions, pepper and salt. Blend all ingredients. 
Wash casings and stuff with barley groat mixture. Tie sausage ends and place in greased baking dish. Prick sausages with needle to prevent sausages from bursting open. Bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 2 hours, until sausages are well browned.
When sausages are done, cut into serving pieces, place on serving platter and cover with sauce and serve for lunch. 

 

 
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