Finnish Cuisine Meal

A gourmet meal of rye and fish  Portable and fast

Is this a real Finnish cuisine meal the Vikings used to take with them to remind them of their victims? Is this what the original fast food was like in Finland?

The Finnish cuisine meal dubbed Ahvenkukko

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At home or on the road, here is a food following the traditional culinary tastes of Finland. It should be in everyone’s Must-Try Finnish Dishes list, being an innovative food definitely worth discovering. Assuming you like rye bread and fish mixed with bacon, you will enjoy this Finnish pasty, or pastie, depending on where you are from in the English-speaking world. This is a meal consisting of meaty filling encased in rye bread. The Finns call it kalakukko, or fish-rooster. No crowing in the early morning!

The types of kukko fillings under the thick, dark rye crust include:

  • Vendace - muikku. A 5 centimeter (2 in.) long, fine-scaled silvery lake fish which looks like a miniature salmon and lives off zooplankton
  • European Perch - Ahven. A large-mouthed fish. The perch has larger bones compared to the Vendace. (We chose the Ahvenkukko)

Unlike the traditional Cornish pasty, this Finnish cuisine meal also contains bacon that gives it some extra layers in its palette of flavors.
With this portable food you can...

  • Carry your meal anywhere you go. It serves as a great edible lunch box.
  • Have an entire meal encased in a thick rye shell. The insides are made of fish and bacon.
  • Obviously, if you have the time, you can make this from scratch. A quicker option is to buy one at a shop and warm it up in your oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees Celcius (480 F)

How did I do it? (Thanks honey for shopping)

While Aura visited Kuopio, she stopped over at Kasarmikatu 15 (the address of the store). This is what our Ahvenkukko looked like fully clothed, after Aura purchased it.

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The Ahvenkukko weighed almost one kilo and cost 18,45 euro. It needed to be stored at a temperature of less than 8 degrees Celsius (46 F). The refrigerator worked fine for storing the treat before eating. Buy theAhvenkukko portable Finnish cuisine meal in eastern Finland to ensure you get the most authentic look and taste! Since this one is store-bought, all you need to do is unwrap it.

The Ahvenkukko treat getting unwrapped!

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I prefer a softer crust, so instead of following the instructions to the T, I will warm up the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 F) and leave the loaf in there for 25 minutes like this.

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For the store-bought version like the one we have in the oven, the loaf and fish come pre-baked. Usually, you can follow the warming instructions which come on the package. If you want the crust to be softer and not too hard, just turn down the heat to 200 degrees Celsius (390 F) or less. Get it out of the oven, unwrap and cut it like this.

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The Vendace inside our rye-loaf!

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Shell of our Ahvenkukko

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Veeeeeery thick layer of crust. The surface of the outer side is more firm and tough, while the inner contains more moisture and flavor. It’s also lighter in color.

Tastes like...Hmmm? Finnish rye, fish and bacon all mixed together.

Eating tip: Beware of the thick and robust crust. Often, a knife will not do the trick. After making an end cut with a sharp serrated knife, break the rest off by hand. After cutting, serve on a plate.

Serve it up for the guests!

When/where you can use this fine Finnish rye bread food delicacy:

  •     As a snack at a field trip
  •     While you’re working far from home, like in the forest or a remote area
  •     For a special event or as an evening food
  •     While doing physically hard work

If you can’t manage to eat it up in one session, just wrap it up and store it in the open for one day max or in the refrigerator. It tastes fine the day after, even if served cold.

Microwave heating instructions: For the pre-baked Kalakukko, unwrap the loaf entirely and use baking paper leivinpaperi 38 x 29 centimeter (15 x 20 in.) size to wrap it in. Fold the paper under the flat end of the loaf and set into the microwave oven. Heat up the loaf for 15 minutes on medium setting.

If you would rather bake this Finnish cuisine meal yourself, here is the recipe:

Beware, this recipe feeds a Viking army of more than 10 people!

First, we will create our saucer-shaped rye shell, and after filling the saucer we will fold up the dough to wrap the filling.

Important: The loaf gets baked twice. Filling ingredients always get baked after they are wrapped in the pastry casing.

Ingredients for the shell (which is made of rye and wheat in our case)

  • 1 liter of water (26 gal.)
  • 200 grams of real butter (7 ounces)
  • 15 grams of salt (1 tablespoon)
  • 1,8 kilograms of rye flour (64 ounces)
  • 600 grams of wheat flour (21 ounces)

Inside of our Finnish cuisine meal - The filling

Use 2 kilograms (70 ounces) of either Vendace or Perch. American Bass or other fish works, too. You’ll also need one package of bacon between 200 - 400 grams (7 to 14 ounces) and 4 teaspoons of sea salt.

For the rye shell, knead the ingredients together into a tight and tough dough.

Form the dough shell into an oval-shaped saucer 1 centimeter (0.4 in.), making sure it is thick in the middle and thinner at the edges. Scatter rye flour in the middle of the disc. Pile bone-free fish and layers of bacon in the middle of the saucer, adding salt periodically.

Closing up the filling:

Use the sides of the saucer to cover the filling. Use water and flour to smooth the surface. Bake in an oven heated to 200-225 degree Celsius (390-437 F) until the Ahvenkukko gets some color.

Remove it and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it back into an oven for 4-6 hours at 100-150 degrees Celsius (212-302 F).

After the Ahvenkukko loaf is out of the oven, cover it up to keep the shell soft.

This Finnish cuisine meal will keep in the fridge for many days, even outdoors for more than 48 hours if the temperature is no more than 10 degrees Celsius (50 F). Remember to keep the loaf out of the sun once it is cut open or else the fish dries out.