Unlike Indian cooking, traditional Latvian food is totally free from spices (or, very little spices) mainly because of the unavailability of imported spices, and the high price. It mainly consists of cheap self grown materials like dry peas, cheap meat (like bacon and pork hocks), which are high in calorie content, to provide the energy necessary to keep the working class of Latvia up and running.
A traditional homely Latvian meal consists of boiled peas with small pieces of bacon in it. Peas and beans form an important part of Latvian food.
Peas or beans with their pods are boiled in curdled milk or buttermilk to serve as delicious food, on all seasons.
Other popular Latvian dishes are:
Latvian Breads / Cakes
- Sklandu rausi
A bun that is made out of rye flour with carrots, potatoes, apples and cottage cheese pies. Its border holds the filling in place.
Sweet-sour rye bread baked using finely ground rye flour.
Flat cakes made from barley meal.
- Karasas: Made from wheat flour.
Peas and grains
Steamed grain mixture served together with milk.
- Zirnu pikas
Pea balls made from boiled and mashed peas. The favorite food of many Latvians.
- Peas with a smoked pig’s head
Served especially during Christmas time. Blood sausage and other sausages are usually part of that dish.
Made from yeast water that is boiled with several slices of dried apples. Rye or unrefined wheat flour is added to make porridge, with honey.
- Latvian Kringel
A coffee cake, but it is widely used as a birthday cake.
Porridge made from barley, boiled together with a pig’s ear or its tail.
Beer, dark or light, bitter or sweet, an important Latvian summer drink made with honey.
- Maizes kvass
Made from bread.
- Birch juice
Fresh or fermented birch juice is a natural and very healthy drink.
- Riga Black Balsam
A thick dark liquor with a long history.