If you’ve heard of Swedish meatballs, did you know there’s also Finnish meatballs? A popular dish in Finland, they’re delicious and easy to cook.
During my daughter Pia’s stay in Helsinki last year, she took a cooking class and learned about Finnish meatballs. The class was held in a lovely apartment in the design district of Helsinki.
Pia’s teacher, Anna, an expat in Finland for several years now, can tailor the menu for her cooking classes according to the students’ dietary requirements and preferences.
For the cooking class which Pia attended, the dishes demonstrated were salmon soup, the meatballs and cinnamon rolls. All were delicious, said Pia. The meatballs are best served with lingonberry jam. Similar to cranberries, lingonberries are small red berries with a tart, acidic taste. They grow wild in northern Europe and are often made into jams or preserves.Fortunately, I happen to have some lingonberry jam from Sweden in my refrigerator, given by a friend. Indeed, the meatballs tasted great when eaten with a relish of lingonberry jam.
If you don’t have lingonberry jam, you can serve it with cranberry sauce or even raspberry jam instead. You can also serve the meatballs with potatoes or—since we’re Filipinos—with rice.
If you’re headed to Helsinki any time in the near future, you can book a cooking class with Anna through AirBnb Experiences.
Lihapullat (Finnish Meatballs)
1 small onion, finely chopped (or use onion soup)
3 tbsp butter, divided
200 g ground beef
200 g ground pork
2 tbsp breadcrumbs or panko
3 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp salt (if not using onion soup)
If not using onion soup base, sauté the onion in one tablespoon of the butter until golden brown. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs or panko, sour cream and the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Form into meatballs about the size of a large coin.
Heat the remaining two tablespoons butter in a frying pan to medium heat and cook the meatballs in batches, about four minutes on each side, until thoroughly cooked and evenly browned. Alternatively, you can also bake the meatballs in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and bake the meatballs for 15 minutes.
Serve with lingonberry jam, pickled beets or Russian salt pickles (or any pickle of your preference).