Finland...a land of many amazing things...music, nature, people. The dishes however (at least the ones called "Traditional") are a bit excentric.
Especially M?mmi which looks like s**t but trust me...put some sugar and cream and it's a little slice of heaven ;)
M?mmi is a Finnish traditional Easter dessert, a malt porridge which is baked in an oven. It is made of water, malt and rye flour and is dark brown in appearance. The Swedish name for it is memma.
Spices such as Bitter orange peel, syrup or molasses and orange rind are often added. After the exposure to heat and several days of storage in the refrigerator, small quantities of generated alcohol often result within the puddinglike condiment. This is not considered a fault.
M?mmi is consumed cold, either bare or with added sugar and/or milk or cream.
The usefulness of the dish stems from it keeping well for days, and thus serving as a substitute for porridge which does not require firing up a stove, when religious observances prohibit fire. Its precursors can be traced all the way to medieval Germany. But as its use spread with Catholicism to the far northern reaches, the food fell gradually into disuse there, so that it remains as a relic chiefly in Finland.
M?mmi was mentioned the first time during the 17th century, in a dissertation (in Latin). As the result of domestic product development m?mmi has graced the Finnish dinner table for at least 300 years. Originally m?mmi was consumed during the whole lent period. Its laxative properties doubtless helped the purging of "poisons". Later it was a convenient food for Good Friday, when firing up the stove was against custom. In modern times it is purely a traditional seasonal delicacy.
Interest in it has risen even in non-Scandinavian settings, due to Finns' eager attempts to offer the idiosyncratic foodstuff to foreigners. Some have served it as an exotic specialty; others, a joky test (due to its superficially unappetizing appearance). The growing interest in reviving old recipes and the general enthusiasm for past ages may also play a part in this.
M?mmi is traditionally eaten in Easter time. There is a recipe given below, but most Finns in the modern world buy their m?mmi ready-made from the store, where it is available as a seasonal product during that time. (Wikipedia)
Links to M?mmi
Saut?ed reindeer (poronk?ristys in Finnish) is the perhaps best known traditional meal from Lapland, especially in Finland. Usually steak or back of reindeer is used. It is sliced thinly (easier if frozen and then only partially thawed), fried in fat (traditionally in reindeer fat, but butter and oil are more common nowadays), spiced with black pepper and salt, and finally some water or beer is added. Served with mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers, and cowberry preserve or, more traditionally, with raw cowberries mashed with sugar. (Wikipedia)
Links to Saut?ed Raindeer
Kalakukko is a traditional Savonian food made from fish baked inside a loaf of bread. The Cornish pasty from Cornwall has the same basic idea of complete packed lunch.
Traditionally, kalakukko is prepared with rye flour, although wheat is often added to make the dough more pliable. The filling consists of fish, pork and bacon, and is seasoned with salt (unless the pork is already salted). After being baked for several hours, kalakukko looks much like a large loaf of rye bread. If prepared correctly, all the bones of the fishes inside it have softened and the filling is moist as all the meat and fish juices have been cooked inside the bread.
Traditionally, the fish used in kalakukko is either the vendace (Finnish muikku), or European perch (Finnish Ahven), but salmon is also sometimes used. In southern Savonia the vendace is advocated as the only fish for the true kalakukko whereas in the northern parts of the province the same is said about the perch. Instead of fish, also combinations of potato and pork or rutabaga/sweet and pork are possible. The appropriate drink to accompany kalakukko is buttermilk or piim?.
You can heat kalakukko in an oven. It takes about one hour in 130 degrees Celsius if the size of the kalakukko is about 1 kg. You can also eat it cold. One way (and many say the only right way) to eat kalakukko is to open the top with a sharp knife, eat the top with butter, and then slice some of the bread making the hole on the top larger and eat it with the the filling. Traditionally you only need a knife and your fingers for eating kalakukko.
Kalakukko will keep for a long time when unopened. It used to be a practical lunch for workers away from home.
An average Finnish speaking person today finds the name somewhat amusing, as kala is Finnish for "fish" and kukko is Finnish for "rooster". However, the archaic form of kukko is derived from the same root as kukkaro (purse).
It is said that Kuopio marketplace is the original and best place to buy kalakukko. There you can also buy very small kalakukkos to try it. (Wikipedia)
Karelian pasties (Karjalanpiirakat in South Karelian dialect of Finnish and Karjalanpiiraat in North Karelian dialect. Also commonly known as Karelian Pie or karjalanpiirakka) are traditional pasties from the region of Karelia. Today they are eaten throughout Finland.
The oldest traditional pasties usually had a rye crust, but the North Karelian and Ladoga Karelian variants also had wheat alongside of rye to improve the baking characteristics of the available rye breads. The common fillings of this era were barley and talkkuna. The 19th century first introduced potato and buckwheat as new fillings, and later due to trade, also rice and millet.
Nowadays in the most familiar and common recipe the pasties are made from a thin rye crust with a filling of rice. Butter, often mixed with boiled egg (eggbutter or munavoi), is spread over the hot pasties before eating. (Wikipedia)