Soy Lihapiirakka ‒ Soijalihis

This is a bit of a deviation from the "seasonal" theme since lihapiirakkas are sold rather evenly around the year. The name literally means "meat pie" which gave me some trouble naming the soy version since I don't think anyone would understand if I just called them soy pies. You do see a lot of naming variance like "meatless pie" or "soy meat pie", but I decided to go with a shortening in Finnish and keep the English name intact since it's already detached from the original meaning. Anyway, they're deep-fried pastries made from a doughnut type of dough and filled with rice and minced meat. Or, in the vegan version, usually rice and TVP.

Lihapiirakkas are an extremely popular fast food in Finland. You can find them cheap from practically every food store's convenience food section. Non-chain-owned street kiosks sell them even in the smallest villages with one shop and no restaurants, along with french fries and hamburgers. In bigger cities you have a chance of finding them all self-made and vegan. Quite often they're cut in half and filled with things.

When I was a teenager, a friend of mine ate at least one of them every day after school, filling them with ketchup and liver sausage, along with a glass of cold cocoa as the drink option. To her and her parents' defence I have to say my diet at the time wasn't exactly from the healthiest end either.

The regular kiosk filling includes what I like to call "the grill spices", the holy trinity of ketchup, mustard and cucumber relish. In case of cheap cucumber relish raw onion is also often added for crunchiness. With a little extra fee the fillings may include different meat products, but nothing stops from using the same forms made from plant-based ingredients, like bean patties, chickpea omelettes or soy weeners. The kiosks often serve their own specialities and understanding the subtle differences takes a real connoisseur. For a little vocabulary, these have become regional dishes known nation-wide:

Atomi and vety (Lappeenranta): "Atom and hydrogen". Vety includes a boiled egg and ham, atomi either one of these.
Hotsi (Hämeenlinna): It's role model probably being hot dog, hotsi is filled with half cut lauantaimakkara or "Saturday sausage", a certain thick and floury sausage type. In Forssa two wieners are used instead.
Möttönen (Helsinki): An especially big and thick lihapiirakka which were originally sold at the main train railway station.
Riihimäkeläinen (Riihimäki): Includes a fried egg and a minced meat patty. In Rovaniemi the same version is called ropsilainen after the local football team.
Lörtsy (Savonlinna): The good people of Savonlinna are probably going to hang me from balls for implying these are the same thing, and I do need to write a separate post about them sometime later. I haven't been able to find a recipe for lörtsy or any "official" difference in their dough, but lörtsys are about twice as large and always flat. They're one of the oldest variants and have been around since the fifties. Originally they had an apple jam filling instead of meat but nowadays you can find them in all possible sweet and savory flavours.

The dough
- 14 dl wheat flour (many prefer a version where some of this is graham)
- 6 dl oat milk
- 50 g yeast
- 2 tbsp rape oil
- 1 tbsp dark syrup
- 1 tbsp salt

 The filling
- 2.5 dl soy crumble
- 1.5 dl barley grains
- 1 dl roasted onion
- 1 dose of stock
- 2 tbsp rape oil
- 1 tbsp apple wine vinegar
- smoked paprika
- white pepper
- salt

Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Add the oil, the syrup and the salt. Knead in enough flour to achieve a consistency that doesn't stick to the bowl but still feels a bit runny. Cover with a towel and let rest for an hour.

Cook the barley. Soak the soy crumble in water where you've added the stock. Fry on the pan, adding the spices as you go. Combine the barley, the soy and the onion.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each of them round between your hands, flatten and roll into a disc of about 15 cm in diameter. Keep more flour at hand to help the dough from sticking. Scoop a spoonful or two of the filling in the middle of the disc. Fold one edge on the opposite one and press it to keep it closed. Secure the edges by pressing with a fork.

Deep fry from both sides until golden in neutral tasting oil that is fine with high temperatures, for example non-virgin rape oil.

Nutritional values / 1 lihapiirakka / 114 g (before deep frying):
energy 299 kcal
fat 7 g
protein 10 g
carbohydrates 48 g
fiber 4 g


  1. These look amazing! Of course, I am always in favor of deep frying :)


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