Culinary Odyssey (Part 6): Lohikeitto, Finland

For the final installment of Dan Jackson's worldwide culinary odyssey, he's "Finnishing" in Finland with the ultimate Scandinavian comfort food.

A colleague once informed me that the reason London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games was down to the Finns voting for us. Nothing unusual there you might think, but the reason they voted for us was down to some fairly inappropriate comments regarding their cuisine from the French President at the time, Jacques Chirac.

"After Finland, it is the country with the worst food" said Jacques, referring to British cuisine - leading the Finnish representatives on the Olympic council to change their votes from Paris to London. When the news of London winning the Olympics was announced, the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat echoed The Sun's "it woz us what won it" style headlines, claiming that the Finnish votes had swung it in London's favour.

So, thank you Finland, and au revoir Jacques. Besides serving-up humble pie to French Presidents, Finland actually has some very decent grub, which I sampled on a trip to Helsinki a few years ago. If hearty, warming fare involving lots of fish and dill is what you’re looking for then it certainly keeps the winter chill at bay.

Northern Lights over Finland Northern Lights over Finland

Lohikeitto – or Finnish salmon soup to you and me (bit like a Salmon chowder as cream is used) is a very basic and traditional winter soup, with salmon used in many different types of Finnish cooking.

Serves 4
1 salmon fillet (500 – 600 grams)
1-½ litres water
1 stick of celery
1 bay leaf
1 kg potatoes
3 large carrots
2 onions
2 small cups of double cream
1 – 2 tsp salt
15 -20 black peppercorns
3 tbs shredded dill
50g butter

Preparation and method

Peel and dice the potatoes and carrots. Roughly cut each onion into large chunks and the celery into smallish pieces. Pour water into a saucepan and add the salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, onions, carrot, celery and cubed potatoes. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer at a low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Cut the salmon fillet into smallish pieces, say inch strips. Add the cream and shredded dill to the saucepan. Place the salmon fillet slices in the soup and boil for approximately 5 more minutes. Add the butter and decorate the soup with some shredded dill. (Remember to remove the bay leaf!)

Serve the Lohikeitto with big hunk of rye bread. 

So there you have it – Chirac and the French can have their Bouillabaise, we’re all off to make a bowl of Lohikeitto and maybe raise a toast with some industrial strength Finnish vodka to GB’s continued success at the 2012 Olympics!


Got a taste for Finland? Take a look at all 8 Finnish escapes. 

Missed the rest of Dan's culinary odyssey? Play catch up now:

Part 1: Peruvian Ceviche

Part 2: Moroccan Tajine

Part 3: Thai Larb

Part 4: Spanish Paella

Part 5: Chinese Duck


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