Saturday, 6 September 2014

Lihapulla /Meatballs (sans the meat )Finnish way

For alphabet F I choose Finland!! Somehow it’s always fascinated me. Why because Santa lives here officially, yes really I am not kidding check it here. The land of midnight sun, northern lights, and saunas. I wish can live there…

I knew almost immediately I was making meatballs!!

Aw! Come-on you are on a vegetarian site and I have to live up to my reputation at home of being a mad scientist! The Mad Scientist is getting seriously eroded… so here is what happened.

For Egypt, yeah alphabet E I made stock for the Koshari  as the mixture was merrily boiling away my daughters came to the bedroom where I was busy on the laptop asking me what I was making? 

“It’s delicious Mamma, my mouth is watering. “ they had already investigated and Apeksha, my elder one was  asking, yes the elder one!! will wonders never cease, asked me to make something out of the boiled vegetable. It’s delicious and healthy!!!   Yeah unbelievable!! I know that’s why I said will wonder never cease!!! 

Now I have in the past made  spaghetti and vegetable balls and wanted to make these meatballs different! My reading on street food in Finland indicated that meatballs are street food!

I found this site here and  I made Finnish meatballs.

The complete meal “koko setti”  – the whole set you will eat meatballs with cooked or mashed potatoes  , gravy, homemade lingonberry jam, salad and sometimes cucumber pickles The ultimate Finnish comfort food!

Apparently Meatballs in Finland are very common, similar to the meatballs they make in Sweden but with less herbs and spices. It differs from the “Italian” meatballs too.
If you want to make the Finnish way then you will need basically minced meat, breadcrumbs, egg, spices and kermaviili.

 “Kermaviili” is a dairy product made by fermenting milk cream but can be used in cooking, baking and to make dips. “Viili” is more like a gooey yogurt and most likely to be eaten as breakfast or dessert.

Luckily there are substitutions that Karaimame ,the lady behind the blog says  and I quote her “Yes! I have suggestions if you can´t find the kermaviili! (*clap, clap* XD) Substitute it by equal amounts of cream, milk, plain yogurt+cream, crème fraiche or meat stock . I can´t guarantee it will be the same meatball as mine but I believe it is worth a try. ^_^”
By the way.. they are a terrific freezer stash.. I can use in soups, sauces and for my bentos.. my girls enjoy  them a lot, like most of the kids in Finland.”

Finnish Meatballs – Lihapullat

Recipe Source: Acquiring Taste

Makes 4 – 6 portions


  • 250 grms / about  2 ½ cups of  boiled vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, potato, mushrooms, French beans etc. you may add or remove any vegetable, crushed in a fine puree
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
  •  200 g/ 1 cup milk and cream( about)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1-2  chopped onions
  • ½  tsp salt
  • ½   tsp all spice ( I used pepper)
  • ¼   tsp white pepper
  • ½  tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 tblspn butter


  • In a large bowl soak the breadcrumbs in the cream and milk (use little you can add more later if needed as your mixture must be moist and not runny) leave for about 10 minutes.
  • As the breadcrumbs soak heat the butter and oil in a kadhai and fry the onions until soft, set aside to cool.
  • Add the egg if using, vegetable puree, onions and seasonings to the breadcrumb mix.
  • Knead the mixture thoroughly until well combined and firm. Use the milk and cream if needed.
  •  Shape into walnut sized balls with slightly oiled   hands .
  • Next you could bake them in a preheated oven at 225⁰C, for that  place the balls on a greased shallow baking tray Keep sapce between the balls. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. You can turn them to cook evenly.
  • Or like me get the gundpangal or paniyaram tava and fry the vegetable meatballs till golden on one side. Flip them over and bake on the other side.
  • While the meatballs are baking, you can make the gravy.

Gravy – Ruskea kastikke (“brown sauce”)


  • 1 -2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • about ½   litre /2 ½ cups  stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil the stock and keep it warm.
  • Mix the butter and flour in a big kadhai/wok and stir fry on low flame.
  • Stir constantly till the mixture turns golden brown and starts to release a nutty aroma.
  • Pour the hot stock in the kadhai all the while whisking the mixture .
  • Stir well, whisking until no lumps remain. 
  • Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens.
  • Season a little with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with potatoes, meatballs and lingonberry jam.
I served it with Mashed Potatoes   and sweet chilli !

  • Bread crumbs are  called “korppujauho” in Finland  and it differs from normal breadcrumbs (and Japanese “panko”) once it absorbs a lot of liquid when soaked (and looks like semolina flour when dry). Substitute by normal breadcrumbs or soak 2-3 slices of old dry bread.
  •  All spice “maustepippuri” substitute with pepper.
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  1. Nice write up about the meatballs. Vegetarian version of meatballs look delicious.

  2. I like this experiment a lot. Like how you modified it just enough to suit your taste. They look perfectly browned

  3. Sounds very interesting....Nice you have done without eggs..

  4. Lolz archana for one sec I was shocked wat meatballs ? wat am going to comment started thinking this way ? Then thought her's is veggie site how come meatballs, thought you converted to non veg recently :P now after reading its all clear .. thats an wonderful recipe again The ruskea sauce really sounds very interesting :)

  5. Omg, this meatless meatballs looks absolutely fabulous, i would love to finish that plate anytime.

  6. I would love to try these out too. Sounds very interesting!

  7. Meatless meatballs!! How interesting! Enjoyed your write up and the dish Archana...

  8. Meatballs without meat sounds my kind of dish, lovely choice!

  9. We can convert anything and everything:))..truly the meat balls look lovely and obviously they must have tasted great with all those spices. .I made sausages from boiled veggies..try them the girls will love them.

  10. We love meatless meatballs and this Finnish version sounds delicious.

  11. very interesting ones without meat,yummmmy :)

  12. These vegetarian meatballs look perfect. This is in my to do list for long...

  13. Love the substitutions and that story that went behind these meatless meat balls. The experiment seems to be a success. :)

  14. never had meatballs (veg too) - and loved ur write up on the street food delight...

  15. loved your write up about the eating culture of Finland and will have to look for some new ingredients there to try

  16. Yeah wonder never cease! !! Meatballs vegetarian version looks scrumptious archana! !

  17. Yummy meatballs. When I read the recipe & found they are meatless.. that made this recipe more interesting.

  18. Meatballs without meat sounds awesome and has made the dish more interesting. I am surely gonna prepare the dish as a sunday wala lunch....thank u


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