Kekri is coming up on November 1st. I was supposed to celebrate it today with a friend, but he got called into work, and I’m not feeling all too well anyway. This year is a bit unfortunate for me, because I can’t make any of the traditional recipes. Why you may ask? Because nobody in Japan owns ovens! I asked many people, but not one person told me that they own one. Just toaster ovens, but that’s not much help.
For those of you who live in countries where people actually own ovens, I will share some of my favorite recipes for you to try. The first one is made on Christmas Eve now, but in the past it was on Kekri (in other words, before Christianity came). It is one of the dishes known as “laatikko”, which means a box. They call it that because it is cooked in a box; a casserole dish. The first I will share is lanttulaatikko, which is rutabaga. Here are the ingredients you will need:
3 TBS butter
1/2 to 3/4 cups of cream (depending on how much you are comfortable with having fatty food)
1/2 to 3/4 cups of breadcrumbs (it should match up with the cream amount)
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp of salt
2 eggs beaten
First you put the rutabagas in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer until they are soft (about 20 minutes). After that, you drain and mash them. You then in a separate bowl combine the cream and breadcrumbs together, and then add all of the rest; the rutabagas being last. Put it all in a casserole dish and bake it for about 40-45 minutes, until it is brown on top.
There is another one of these that uses carrots, called porkkanalaatikko (“porkkana” meaning “carrot”), but it’s a little bit different to make. You can search for that on your own.
The next recipe I will share on here is one that everyone who has been to Finland has probably eaten (and if you haven’t, then whoever showed you around was a bad host). It’s called karjalanpiirakka, or Karelian pies. They are kind of difficult to make (at least in my experience), but it’s worth the time and effort if you live somewhere where you can’t get them! There is a filling, crust, and egg butter. This recipe can be vegan if you leave out the egg butter and use soy milk and vegan butter. I made it once like that when I brought some to an event with some vegans.
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice (it should be short grain rice)
2 cups milk (I’ve also seen recipes where they put in a lot more milk than this, but mine always took forever to absorb it, so perhaps take it little by little if you decide to add more)
You can vary this if you want more, just keep the ratio the same.
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp salt
1 cup rye flour
1 cup regular all-purpose flour
Egg butter (This is really fatty, so it’s optional if you’re worried about fat):
4 eggs (hard boiled and split apart)
2 TBS butter
If you like, you can add a little salt, but I don’t think it’s needed
For the filling, combine the water and rice, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes (basically cook rice how you normally would). Then add the milk and leave it cooking until it’s absorbed.
For the crust, put water, salt, and both flours into a bowl to make the dough. Make many small balls and flatten them very thin into oval shapes. The oval shape should be about 4 by 5 inches.
Then you preheat the oven to 450F. While you’re waiting, take the rice mixture that should have absorbed the milk and put it in the middle of the oval-shaped thin dough. Don’t cover the entire oval. Take the sides of the oval and fold it over just the edges of the rice mixture and pinch it. Here’s a picture so you know what I mean
Melt some butter and glaze it over the top of it. Then put all of them onto a greased pan, put it in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (however long your oven typically takes).
The egg butter is really simple, just mash the eggs and butter together, and you can then spread it on top of the finished pastries. And your hard work is all done!
I hope you enjoy the recipes and have a nice Kekri!