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.
1 cup hemp seed
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.
BARLEY PORRIDGE WITH POTATOES
2 cups barley groats
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.
1 cup rye flour
Pour rye flour into salted, boiling water, cook on low heat, stirring
constantly, for about 10 minutes.
SOUR PORRIDGE DUMPLINGS
2 cups rye flour; 1 1/2 cups water
Blend both ingredients well until a smooth sauce is obtained.
2 cups flour; 50 g (2 oz) fresh yeast
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.
PEA FLOUR SCONES
3 cups coarse pea meal, flour; water
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.
3 cups wheat flour
To make filling blend all ingredients well.
Fry bacon and onions, then add sour cream, heat but do not boil.
FILLINGS FOR DUMPLINGS:
Dumplings are made with a variety of fillings, meat, mushrooms, bacon, cottage cheese, potato, poppy and hemp seed, and fruit.
300 g (10 oz) dry cottage cheese
Blend cottage cheese with egg and mint. Mix well.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND BACON
200 g (6 oz) dry cottage cheese
Mix bacon, cottage cheese, egg and mint. Blend well.
200 g (6 oz) bacon, finely cut
Mix all ingredients and blend well.
300 g (10 oz) cooked potatoes, riced
Fry bacon and onion, mix with riced potatoes, add egg. Blend all ingredients well and fill dumplings.
100 g (3 oz) dried mushrooms
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.
1 cup hemp seed; 20 g (4 teaspoons) butter
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.
1 cup poppy seed; 100 g (3 oz) sugar
Grind poppy seed in herb mill or process in food
processor. Add sugar and blend well. Use 1 teaspoon of poppy mass for one
FRUIT OR BERRY
300 g (10 oz) fruit, cherries, apples or blueberries;
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Berries are mixed with sugar.
1/2 l (2 cups) coarsely milled rye flour
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.
2 cups buckwheat flour; 2 cups sour cream
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.
BAKED BUCKWHEAT PUDDING
2 cups buckwheat flour; 2 eggs beaten with salt
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.
BUCKWHEAT BUNS WITH MUSHROOM FILLING
1 1/2 cups buckwheat groats
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.
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.
BLOOD SAUSAGE WITH BARLEY GROATS
3 cups barley groats
Fry bacon, add sour cream, heat gently.