Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Estonian desserts: KAMA, the modern-traditional way

UPDATE 1.9.2007: You can read Johanna's round-up here!

My dear blog friend Johanna is hosting the latest round of Sugar High Friday, and the theme is local specialities. There are plenty of typical Estonian cakes and desserts I could write about, but considering that I have recently posted kama promotion packs* to some lovely bloggers across the world, I thought it would be appropriate to give the recipients some tips for using that funny Estonian roasted meal mixture consisting of boiled, roasted and ground peas, rye, barley and wheat. I've written thoroughly about kama here, and shared recipes for kama mousse with season's berries, and boozy kama & mascarpone truffles before. I think it's time to move on and give you the recipe for the authentic way of eating kama.

Well, semi-authentic. Adding sugar to kama is a 20th century thing. The really 'authentic' way of eating kama would be without sugar and accompanied with bread and salted sprats, or perhaps humble sandwiches. That's not how most Estonians think of kama nowadays, however, to whom kama drink as described below is more familiar and rather popular summer fare..

I understand it's tricky to replicate, as you need both a kama mixture and a fermented milk product (kefir or buttermilk or sour milk) for making this, both of which aren't so easily available. I guess thin plain drinking yogurt would work, too.

Kama, the traditional Estonian summer drink/dessert
(Kama, traditsioonilisel moel)
Serves 1

250 ml kefir, sour milk or buttermilk
2 Tbsp kama mixture
2 Tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients, let stand in the fridge for 10 minutes, then garnish with berries (I've used Alpine strawberries from my container garden), bilberry syrup (see photo here) or go all modern with a drizzle of chocolate sauce (top).

Serve. Kama can either be eaten with a small spoon, or drunk straight from the cup. Use more or less kama mixture, depending on your preferences.

* Kama Promotion Packs consist of a 400 g packet of kama flour, a bag of kama breakfast cereal, a bar of kama 'chocolate' and a packet of kama 'Tootsie rolls'. Contact me if you're interested in trying it - I'm happy to send it to you, though I've decided to charge P&P from now on.


Vaire said...

Another traditional way of eating kama is to mix it with sourmilk. I suspect any fermented milk product can be or was used, I believe it was up to personal preference or availability of dairy products that determined how kama was eaten.

Anonymous said...

I love this - it looks fantastic.
I had never heard of kama before.

If you like - do join in our activity - its a bit of fun involving vegetables. It would be lovely to have them from different countries.
Charlotte at Great Big Veg Challenge

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of kama before, but after reading your kama primer I think it is something I would enjoy!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I've heard that kaffir is good for you - I'd love to try this, Pille!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I love buttermilk and think this would be beautiful.
I've been trying to solve some technology issues and being very frustrated. But maybe soon I'll get you a photo of my beet pie with yours.

Anonymous said...

What do the kama 'Tootsie rolls' look like? Can you post a photo of what is in your Kama Promotion Pack?

lobstersquad said...

I loved it. With yogurt and sugar, yum. Well deserves your being the kama apostle!

Anonymous said...

Nice photos Pille... Did you delete the other one? That was also good!!
The new one you added is simply awesome!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Great photos! I also, had not heard of kama before, but it is nice to learn something new!

Ilva said...

I just tagged you, hang on if you feel like it!

Anonymous said...

If kama is wheaty/cerealy/grainy I am sure to like it :) It surely looks delicious in you photos! :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You've just introduced me to kama, which I'm sure I'd like. Thanks, Pille! Sounds great!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Well blame me for the 'tootsie roll' description but I can attest they're quite addictive. I'm off to get kefir ... BTW I'm taking a class in November for juustoleipa!!

l said...

Hi Pille,

After reading and enjoying all your posts on kama, I( have become more and more intrigued! I would love to try kama if you are still willing to send out kama promotion packs. If so, please let me know how to send you the P&P and if there are any particular local California delights I can send you in return!

Valentina said...

Pille, this picture is so lovely. and the drink sounds delicious.

Alanna Kellogg said...

Yummy yummy yummy, kama in my tummy ... a breakfast drink, with kefir and Minnesota wild blueberry syrup (apt, yes?) so skipped the sugar. Delicious!

You're a peach, Pille. Or would that be a cloudberry ... no matter, hugs to you and thanks for the Kama promotion pack.

Tomorrow: Kama with Elise's apple butter (apt too, yes?) ...

Jeanne said...

What a gorgeous pic, Pille! I must say, I am probably one of those non-Estonians who would regard a bowl of kama with some suspicion, but then I love yoghurt, so I'm just being silly ;-)

thepassionatecook said...

very nice idea... and what pretty pictures, too! certainly a very creative entry to SHF, many thanks for that! i'll be in touch with a holiday update soon - after finishing the round-up for SHF which will take me a while!

Unknown said...

I'm very interested in trying Kama in my cooking. Where can I get it? Is there a place to buy it online? Help!

Pille said...

Vaire, you're right, any fermented milk will do - sour milk, kefir, buttermilk. I prefer mine with kefir or buttermilk, though.

Great Big Veg Challenge - thank you!

Veron - hope you'll have a chance to try it one day!

Patricia Scarpin - kefir is good for our digestion indeed - and much cheaper than all those fancy mini-sized healthy bacteria drinks.

Tanna - cannot wait to see your picture!

Pene - Meeta posted a gorgeous photo of the kama parcel here
on her blog. You can see kama tootsie rolls hidden on the left hand side. Look for 'kamabatoonid' in the shops.

Ximena - I'm so glad you managed to try it! And yes, thin yogurt would make a nice alternative :)

Mary - yes, I deleted the bilberry syrup one as it was too similar to the strawberry photo (but there's a link to its Flickr site). You're really paying attention :)

Holler - I'm constantly learning about new ingredients and dishes from other foodblogs, which is exactly why blogging is so much fun - and so informative..

Ilva - thank you! I'm a bit overwhelmed with work at the moment, but I'll see what I can do!

Joey - yep, it's grainy/wheaty/cerealy:)

Susan - if I ever come to the States, I'll bring a packet for you!

Lara - your kama parcel will be on your way soon!

Valentina - thank you!

Alanna - so great to hear about your cheese class soon! And yes, kama-kefir-blueberry syrup - very apt indeed! Kama with Elise's apple butter could be apt too - let me know:) PS Another kama parcel recipient mentioned the Tootsie Rolls thingy, which was quite hilarious.. Mmm. Maybe I should try some tootsie rolls..

Jeanne - I can see why a 'roasted grain meal' doesn't appeal immediately. I would try some gentle persuasion with you, maybe starting with mascarpone & cream liqueur & kama 'truffles'?

Johanna - I'd love to hear all about your holiday, and meetings with Jeanne & Nicky! What you've told us so far seem to indicate that Austria was good to you;)

Justin - if there's an online source, then I haven't found it yet. I'll drop you an email soon..

Unknown said...

So glad to find your blogsite. I travel to Estonia yearky and LOVE hte ffod. Think it must be in my genes.
Apparently my Grandfather in Parnu has something to do with the beginning of Kama... as he was the co-founder of CIBUS breadfactory.
Small world.

Anonymous said...

Hi There!

On the interent for the past 12 years, i've been known as Coolkama.

I chose the name purely because at the time the first bulletin board i went to only allowed nicknames of 8 charaters.. so instead of CoolKarma, i dropped the R.

It's been my identity on the net ever since, and i was very attached to it.

I then joined a UT99 clan called :[lol]: . and so was :[lol]:Coolkama. but when they moved to UT2K4, they became Team Snack Attack. and nicknames HAD to be snack based. I had to Lose my name!!!! So i became =TSA=Kelloggs.

A year later i've found your page on this wonderful snack called Kama.... and seeing as it can be served cold.... well giving my team mates a link to this page meant i could convince them to let me be called =TSA=CoolKama!

So basically after all that rambling... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS PAGE!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You have a very nice blog, good post…keep up the good job

The Primordial Muse said...

I don't know if your 'kama pack' offer is still good, but I have been learning about Estonian language and culture and am really enjoying your blog. I would be happy to pay postage, cost, etc. to try some!

I'm also planning to make beetroot salad with cottage cheese and leeks, soon. YUM. Thank you so much for helping me learn about Estonian food!

Pille said...

I've decided not to send out kama promotion packs for the time being, due to the excessive p&p...

Unknown said...

I like to prepare cheesecakes on weekend because my friends usually comes to home these days. And i love to know new desserts or news recipes, mainly when i my boyfriend come to my house. He is very happy .

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Anonymous said...

which companies produce kama flour or kama products in Estonia ?