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Recipe Swap: Finnish Karelian Pies vs Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Most of us have our go-to recipes, be it for amid-week lunch, a dinner party pleaser or a sumptuous cake that Nigella Lawson would be proud of. In case you’re stuck in a food rut, however, here are some of our readers’ failsafe recipes from around the world to add to your repertoire. Bon appétit!

Finnish Karelian Pies with Egg Butter

Makes 20 pies

Laura Karttunen, Finland

Recipes Singapore
Laura Karttunen


“Karelian pies are traditional Finnish rye pastries filled with rice porridge, and they’re sold everywhere in Finland. You can buy them in any supermarket and serve them for any occasion – I often have them for breakfast or a snack, and I serve a smaller cocktail version at parties. The pies are usually served warm with egg butter.

Finnish Food
Finnish Karelian Pies with Egg Butter- Yum!


Rice Filling


• 200g short-grain rice (such as Australian Calrose rice), washed

• 250ml water

• 1 litre milk

• 1 teaspoon salt


1. Bring the water to the boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the rice and cook until the water is absorbed.

2. Stir in the milk and simmer for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, stirring, until the rice is cooked. Season the rice porridge with salt and let it cool. You can also prepare the porridge in a rice cooker, using the same mode as for congee.


Rye Dough:


• 200g flour

• 100g plain flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 200ml water

1. Mix flours, salt and water together and knead into a solid dough.

2. Roll the dough into a long tube on a well-floured counter. Cut the tube evenly into 20 discs. Shape into balls and then flatten them.

3. Sprinkle more flour onto the counter and roll the discs into as thin a round shape as possible. Fill the rounds with a thin layer of cooled rice porridge. Crimp the edges of crust with your fingers to form oval-shaped pastries.

4.Place the pies on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake at 275 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Once baked, brush pies with the melted butter-milk mixture (50 percent butter, 50 percent milk) and cover with a tea towel to soften.

5. Serve pies warm with egg butter (five hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and mashed with 75 grams of butter and a pinch of salt). Enjoy!

Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Jessy Saber Rees, Lebanese

“This recipe has become the definitive mushroom meal that my husband and I never tire of and our guests love. Quoting a Greek friend of mine (with her mouth full): ‘I taste the islands from back home – pack me the rest for breakfast, please!”

Expat food in Singapore
Jessy Saber Rees



• 75g salted butter

• Olive oil

• 6 Portobello mushrooms

• 4 spring onions, finely chopped

• 1 large garlic clove, crushed

• Grated zest of 1 lemon

• 4 bushy sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

• 50g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

• 2 whole-wheat Weetabix biscuits • ½ block feta cheese, crumbled

• 30g Parmesan cheese, grated

• 20g cheddar cheese, grated

• Pinch of paprika, white pepper and black pepper

Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Mediterranean Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms



1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl, mix the spring onions, garlic, lemon zest, thyme leaves, hazelnuts, cheddar cheese, paprika, black and white pepper. Crumble the feta and mix it gently into the mixture.

2. Wipe the mushrooms, peeling off the loose skin around the gills and snapping off the stems.

3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan. When bubbles appear, put the mushrooms in, cap-side down, and leave to cook over a moderate heat. Once softened, turn the mushrooms over, pouring butter from the pan into the caps to continue their cooking. Don’t overcook them, as they will finish cooking in the oven.

4. Transfer the mushrooms cap-side up onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper and then fill with the feta mixture.

5. Blitz the Weetabix biscuits with the grated Parmesan cheese then sprinkle the crumbs over and all around the mushrooms. Season.

6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes; turn the tray halfway through for an even bake.

7. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the mushrooms and bake for a further five minutes

This article first appeared in the July 2016 edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe

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