Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lutefisk and flower pastry with lotus paste

 Lutefisk with potatoes and tomato salad
Food Diary (July 15, 2011)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with banana and sunflower seeds
Lunch: Lutefisk with potatoes and tomato salad
Dinner: Pasta with lentils and cauliflower, medwurst and cheese
Baking/sweets: chocolate

Lutefisk (or lutefish) is another one of those Nordic culinary delights that hasn’t really made a splash into the global gourmet culinary scene. Lutefisk is made from air-dried or salted whitefish such as cod, and lye. Lye is a corrosive alkaline substance such as sodium hydroxide or caustic soda.   Preparation is in two steps. First the fish is soaked in cold water for five to six days and then it is soaked in a solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. It is then ready to be cooked.

The cooked lutefisk is really moist and delicate, has a mild taste, and it is slightly stringy and gelatinous. And there is a slight fishy ‘aroma’. I am guessing this delicacy can be placed in the ‘acquired taste’ category. You are probably not jumping up and down with excitement after reading what this is all about. 

Today's Favourite Photo
Flower Pastry with Lotus Paste Centre

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: Daily Mail
Our ancestors from the Ice Age needed plenty of fat in their diets to keep warm, and this may explain humans current day binging habits, even though the Ice Age defrosted long time ago.  British scientists have discovered a DNA switch in the brain that they believe makes Europeans far more likely to binge on fatty food than those living in the East. The switch is a piece of DNA that turns genes on or off and these genes regulates appetite and thirst. If it is turned on too strongly we are more likely to crave fatty foods.

A weaker version was found in 16 per cent of Europeans – compared with 30 per cent of Asians studied. ‘The fact that the weaker switch is found more frequently in Asians compared with Europeans suggests they are less inclined to select the fatty options.

I am slightly confused with this research. I thought Europeans are more likely to eat fatty food because of the colder climate compared with Asia, generally speaking. Central Asia has cold climate and its inhabitants can probably teach the Europeans a thing or two about consuming fat! I thought fat consumption was influenced by climate but it seems the switch in the brain also plays a role. And some fast food chains have remote access to this switch.


  1. Lutefisk reminds me of bacalao... is it the same thing???

  2. that flower pastry looks beautiful! almost too pretty to eat! i thought it was made out of tissue paper!!

  3. Not at all! In fact it's made me want to try out lutefisk .... but if it's anything like fermented shark ... that's another think.
    And thanks for confirming it for me. I've always thought my brain was wired wrong ... now I'm sure. :D

  4. The flower pastry looks deliciously too good to eat!

  5. I will take your word on the lutefisk. And what a great flower pastry photo!

  6. What a beautiful post. I have never tried lutefish - and the flower pastry is a masterpiece!

  7. Tiffany: Its quite different from bacalao. Bacalao is dried fish which is rehydrated before cooking, if I am not wrong. Lutefisk is soaked in water and lye for more than a week so its really wet. But I have never tried bacalao though I have tried something similar

    Junia: it would be easy to mistake it for tissue paper:)

    peachkins: it is quite interesting, especially the process of preparing and the end result

    ping: its quite different from fermented shark, it lacks the aroma:)

    chopinandmysaucepan: I know, so much effort goes into preparing it

    yummychunklet: given the opportunity you should perhaps give it a try!

    Mary: thank you!

  8. I believe that I have eaten lutefisk before when our Norwegian friends came over and cooked for us. I just remember it being rubbery-salty cod. Not sure I liked it! I never knew that lye in the preparation of it though! Very beautiful lotus flower there, I wonder what the flavour is like!

  9. Would you believe me if I say I would jump up and down with excitement if someone served me lutefisk? I swear I would! I love the salted and dried cod, which smells quite strong (I have heard of foreigners who live in Portugal, where it's particularly popular, and who have never bought it because it "smells") and lutefisk sounds like a bolder version of this!
    The brain switch sounds new, I have also thought it's the climate... On the other hand the cuisine of some Northern African countries is very fatty and they have a very hot climate!

  10. Hazel: that sounds like lutefisk, and looks like it didn't leave a fond memory:)

    Sissi: yes I would believe you!:) I also really love salted/dried fish but never tried the Spanish/Portugese version. Lutefisk is really different from salted/dried fish, it has a different texture and taste.