Karelian hot pot

From Finnish Food Database
Jump to: navigation, search
Dish Karelian hot pot (karjalanpaisti)
Also known as Karelian stew, paisti, ruukkupaisti, uunipaisti, pätsiliha, lihapotti, sukunapaisti, kirvulainen uunipaisti, Sakkolan paisti, lohko (contains also root vegetables)
Type Stew
Region Karelia
Municipality or city n/a
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Pork, Beef, Lamb
Cooking method Oven-baked
Cooking time Over 2 hours
Dietary Soy-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free
Served with n/a
Appropriate drink n/a

The origin of the Karelian hot pot

The Karelian hot pot is a traditional dish originating from the area of Karelia, from where it spread through the entire country after the wars, among the Karelian evacuees. In Karelia, this dish was known with names such as just ‘stew’, ‘pot stew’ or ‘oven stew’. The ‘Karelian’ prefix to the name was delivered as the dish spread across Finland. The Karelian hot pot gained popularity in the 1950’s, when the Karelian people spread for evacuation and new settlement started to organize their village events and tribal feasts.

The meat only version of Karelian hot pot has been considered as a feast and religious holiday food. According to the professional chef Jaakko Kolmonen, proper Karelian hot pot contains pork with a lot of bone and cartilage. In addition, meat types used as ingredients for this dish include cow meat, sheep and sometimes even internal organs, such as kidney, liver and heart. The non-festive everyday version of this dish includes vegetables too. This version of the pot can include for example potato, carrot, groat or horse bean. The stew with added vegetables or with vegetables only is known traditionally as ‘lohko’.


The Karelian hot pot

The original recipe is from the 2nd edition of the book titled ‘Seuran parhaat perinneruoat’ (2003) edited by Päivi Heininen.


  • ¾ kg of pork blade
  • ¾ kg of cow beef
  • 1 onion
  • a couple of allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • water


  1. Cut the meat in smaller pieces. Peel the onion and chop it.
  2. Place the pieces of meat and the spice in the pot in layers.
  3. Pour water on the ingredients until they are nearly covered by it.
  4. Cook the dish in 175-200 degrees for 2 to 3 hours.

Hot pot with three types of meat

This festive version of the dish contains cow meat, pork and sheep. The original recipe can be found in the book ‘Kotomaamme ruoka-aitta’ by Jaakko Kolmonen, published in 1988.


  • ½ kg of cow meat with bones
  • ½ kg of pork with bones
  • ¼ kg of sheep
  • 1-2 onions
  • 1 ½ tsp of salt
  • 10 allspice berries
  • water


  1. Chop the meat in pieces and put them in the dish. Place the pieces with bones on the bottom.
  2. Let the meat brown in the oven with 300 degrees; turn the pieces around every now and then.
  3. Add the onion pieces on the top and let them brown for a while.
  4. Add the spices and water until the meat is just covered by it. Let the stew bake in 175 degrees until the meat detaches from the bones.

Tips and comments

The bones are key to the flavour of the dish, so they should be included in the pot.

Also bay leaf can be used to spice the hot pot.

The meat can be browned throughout in a hot oven before the water is added or alternatively on a pan before it goes into the oven. The ingredients can also be placed in the dish right away without browning them, when only the top layer of the meat browns.

Use cold water when adding water to the dish.

When using a cast iron pot, the broth will remain clear easiest when the ingredients are boiled and the foam is scooped off from the surface of the liquid.

The original Karelian hot pot was cooked overnight in the oven afterheat of less than a hundred degrees. However, most of the recipes nowadays mention a brewing temperature of 100-200 degrees when the brewing time is a couple of hours. After all, the meat of the stewed Karelian hot pot must be crumbly.

Regional differences

This hot pot dish was made allover Karelia. However, every rural municipality had named it different. Talking about the “traditional” or “original” Karelian hot pot arouses a lot of mixed feelings among people. The only things they agree on are the facts that karelian pot contains pork and vegetables do not belong in it.

  • ‘Sakkolanpaisti’ (Sakkola stew) requires 1,5 kg of pork blade salted with 1 dl of coarse salt. The meat will be placed in a pot in one piece the next day with the fat side above water level. In addition, a couple of onions and a dozen allspice berries will be added in the pot. The meat is cooked at 175 degrees for three hours. The recipe can be found in the book ‘Karjalan ja Petsamon pitäjäruuat’ by Jaakko Kolmonen.
  • In Soanlahti, a pig kidney and heart were added in the pot.
  • ‘Terijoen Sukunapaisti’ (Sukuna stew of Terijoki) contains the same amount of cow meat, pork and lamb. The stew is named after the dish in which the stew is made. This dish is made of cast iron, with an enamel surface. During the cattle slaughter time, a piece of kidney or liver would be added into the stew. This would give the stew it’s fine aroma.

See also