I·ATE: Kalitka, where are you from?

March 4, 2017 10:00 am

Every tourist who was in Finland or Karelia (Russia) knows Kalitki. The perfect taste of this delicacy can’t be forgotten! In this variety of fillings, everyone can find a favorite for their own taste.


What are Kalitki?

Калитки (karjalanpiirakka or Karelian pirogs) are small open patties made of rye unleavened dough with various fillings, or liqueurs, a traditional dish of the Karelian, Finns, Vepsian and Russian. 

Who invented Kalitki?karelian_pirog

Although this is called Karelian pirogs, this is also common in Finland and Estonia. But Karelians are sure that Kalitki are originally from Karelia; there are also Vepsians and Russians. Who is actually right? Let’s see!

Formerly Karelia belonged partly to Finland and there was even a time when the Karelo-Finnish SSR, incorporating the Finnish Democratic Republic was in existence. Perhaps at the time when Kalitki were invented, this territory belonged to Finland, but now the Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia – that is why the Russians say that Kalitki are a Russian food. Vepsians are a people also living on territory of today’s Karelia. Even if they did not invent Kalitki, this dish is very popular among Veps.

Well, and all these peoples (Finns, Karelian and Vepsian) belong to Finno-Ugric peoples, so we can say that Kalitki are actually Finno-Ugric food, but not only Karelian or Finnish.

How to cook Kalitki?

Karelian women say, “Kalitka needs eight“, that is to bake the Kalitka, you need eight components: rye flour, water, curdled, salt, milk, butter, sour cream and stuffing (barley or pearl barley, potatoes, rice, oatmeal).


  • For the dough you need rye flour or a mixture of rye and wheat flour, instead of rye flour you can use the pulp of fresh brown bread combined with wheat flour.
  • The traditional stuffing is made of barley grains, soaked in melted butter with curdled for 12 hours. Tradition allows the use the filling of barley porridge, cooked in milk. Modern types of stuffing are mashed potatoes (optional with raw egg, onion, milk, butter, and hard-boiled eggs), wheat or rice.
  • The dough is cut into pieces, then the stuffing is  placed in the center of a piece ; now raise the edges of the dough or slightly overlap them over the stuffing so that part of the filling stays open, this way the Kalitki get their specific shape. Kalitki can be of different shapes: round, oval, four-, five-, hexagonal or even heptagonal. Before baking  Kalitki can be spread  with salted cream and baked in the oven at middle or low heat, usually not more than 10-20 minutes (depending on temperature of the oven). The ready, and still hot Kalitki can be covered with melted butter.

Enjoy you Kalitki!

Sofia PimonovaWritten by Sofia Pimonova – study visitor from the University of Luxembourg. Studying a MA in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts. She is also enrolled in a MA in Applied Linguistics and Linguodidactics at Tambov State University named after G. R. Derzhavin (Russia). BA in German Philology, she is also a teacher and a translator of German. Russian Mother Tongue, fluent in German and learning English and Chinese. Follow her blog about how is the life and her studies in Luxembourg.





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