Oops, I managed to miss posting yesterday. But it's halfway already and 14/15 is still something I can feel satisfied with. Perhaps from now on I should still prepare couple of "just in case" -recipes beforehand.

I did cook though. Actually getting to eat just went a bit late. Madeleine.teacup has been doing a really educational series about pre-colonial dishes of the Americas. One of them was called Inca chilcano de pirana, which basically means piranha soup. This kind of reminded me for a totally different Finnish dish also spelled pirana, a traditional South Karelian dish. (There's two of them to be precise. Another one is a lingonberry rye porridge, but I'll get back to that another time.) It's been hanging on my to-do list for years so now I finally got myself to try it.

There are quite many originally vegetarian dishes from Karelia. Of course meat used to be consumed a lot less during the time when it meant slaughtering your perhaps only cow, but this is also due to the orthodox fate where meat isn't even allowed during the fasting. For a modern Finn they may seem a bit anemic since usually the only spice the recipes mention is salt, but I think this aspect can be tweaked if done with respect. So for example here I used some stock base and bear's garlic for more taste.

Pirana is basically a stew consisting of rutabaga, potatoes and dried fava beans or (today more often) peas, which are all used in equal amounts. I thought I'd try this with fresh fava beans now that I have some, as well as those purple potatoes we've gardened, so the stew would get some pretty colours. Potato didn't become common before 19th century, so one modernized version I found even replaced them with sweet potatoes which feels as exotic to us now as potato must've been back then.

In older versions barley, sometimes also rye flour or even talkkuna is used for thickening but modern versions usually shy away from the porridge-like consistency. I kept the flour since I think it's one of the key elements of the dish but scaled the amount down significantly. Only one version I found added cream to the result but I took that too since it seemed like a reasonable way to bring a little some fat into the dish. In another modern version I saw this problem was solved by first sauteing the veggies in a little oil.

- 5 dl fava beans (or peas)
- 500 g rutabaga
- 500 g potato
- 2 dl oat cream
- 1 dl oat flour
- 1 portion of stock
- 1 tbsp dry bear's garlic
- salt
- water (about 1 l)

(I you're using dry beans or peas, first soak them overnight.) Peel and cube the rutabaga. Cover it with water and add some stock base and salt. Set the pot to simmer. When the rutabaga is starting to soften up a bit, also cube and add the potatoes, as well as the beans. Add water if needed.

When things are starting to seem edible enough, add the cream and thicken with flour. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, while stirring since the stew can burn easily at this point.

Like this recipe instructs, the ready pirana is to be eaten as the main course just like porridge. Margarine "eye" and milk can be added on the plate. The recipe also reminds this can be eaten cold as well!

Nutritional values / 2765 g:
energy 1413 kcal
fat 23 g
protein 60 g
carbohydrates 242 g
fiber 48 g


  1. O, I'm so glad you did decide to make this. I love that you replaced the potato with sweet potato for a similar evocative feeling - it's a bit like you're translating poetry.

  2. Neat -- I love learning about new-to-me traditional foods!!!!


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