Potato and pearl barley porridge with salted mushrooms

Source: Johannes Hõimoja

Potato and pearl barley porridge with salted mushrooms

Recipe author:

Janno Lepik

Head chef

Leib Resto ja Aed

They say that Estonians are the most stationary nation in Europe – thousands of years ago, our forefathers gathered on this land and decided to stay. We carry with us traditions and wisdom that has been passed down from generation to generation. The roots of our story go way back. Now we look back and appreciate our old recipes and ancient customs. We want to prepare traditional dishes in a way that all Estonians know and love while also adding a contemporary touch.

Potato and pearl barley porridge, i.e. potato-barley mash, originates from Southern Estonia. People in Southern Estonia (the Mulgi people) started boiling potatoes and pearl barley together in the second half of the 19th century as the combination was very filling. By the last quarter of the 19th century, this porridge was known all over Estonia. In the second half of the 20th century, this dish reached cafeterias as well and it has by now become a national dish that is served at various official events.

  • Course: main
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 1 h
  • Difficulty: medium


700 g potatoes
100 g pearl barley
50 g butter

Streaked meat and onion
300 g streaked smoked pork
100 g onions
20 g parsley

Salted mushrooms and onion
300 g mushrooms
100 g onions


  1. Peel the potatoes. Wash the pearl barley in cold water, while moving it around with your hands.
  2. Put the potatoes and washed pearl barley into a pot. Cover with water. Make sure you have 3 cm of water on top. Add salt and boil on medium heat for about an hour until the pearl barley is soft.
  3. Check from time to time that there is still enough water and add more if needed. When the potatoes and pearl barley are soft, there should be more than 1 cm of extra water left on top.
  4. Add the butter cubes and mash the potatoes and pearl barley into an even porridge. Season with salt if necessary.
  5. Chop the smoked pork into 5 mm x 1 mm pieces. Peel and chop the onion. Fry the onion in a preheated pan until translucent. Add the smoked meat and continue frying until the meat is golden brown. Add chopped fresh herbs.
  6. Peel and chop the onion. Fry the onion in a preheated pan until it turns translucent. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden. Add chopped fresh herbs.
  7. You can use boiled, salted or fresh mushrooms. Wash salted mushrooms under cold running water and leave to soak in water for a couple of hours, occasionally changing the water. Washing might be enough for less salty mushrooms.
  8. Serve the potato and groat porridge with fried smoked meat and mushrooms.

Photos by: Johannes Hõimoja

Last updated : 22.04.2021