Lohikeitto: A Soul-Warming Finnish Salmon Soup
Image Credit: Makuja

When it comes to global cuisine and anything that’s associated with it, we seldom think of food from the northernmost regions of the world. Most fusion cooking or foreign cooking we’re familiar with comes from the USA, UK, Southeast Asia, China, Africa and Japan. Little attention is paid to the culinary treasures of warming soups or stews from that originate as native dishes from the cold regions of the north; Finland being one such country.

A considerable part of Finnish cuisine combines traditional country fare with a contemporary-style of cooking where a lot of the ingredients are basically what’s available in plenty. Fish and meats like pork and reindeer, vegetables like leeks, mushrooms, potatoes and carrots, wholemeal grains like rye and barley, make up most of what is eaten on a daily basis. Traditional dishes like the kaalilatikko (cabbage casserole), gravlax, sausages and buttered bread is typically associated with home cooking around the country. The lohikeitto, a cream-based salmon soup made with leeks, potatoes and garnished with dill traditionally uses a fish stock for the recipe. The soup is comforting, nutritious and a satisfying mix of textures.



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  • 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 4-5 baby potatoes, halved
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 fish stock cube
  • 2 salmon fillets, cubed
  • ½ cup white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • ¼ teaspoon all-spice powder
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat some oil in a large pot and throw in the sliced carrots along with a tiny pinch of salt and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add in the sliced leeks and grate the garlic into the pot and cook them until the leeks soften.
  • Sprinkle the all-spice powder and miso paste and stir into the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with water and crumble in the fish stock cube along with adding the lemon zest to the pot. Allow everything to come to a simmer before throwing in the halved baby potatoes. Pressure cook the white beans for 2-3 whistles and add them, along with the cooking liquid to the simmering broth.
  • Allow everything to simmer and the flavours to mingle. Gently add the cubed salmon fillets to the soup and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Ensure that you don’t overcook the fish and take the soup off the heat as soon as the coral fish turn a lighter shade. Add the Greek yoghurt and stir it in until it melts and put the pot back on a low heat until the soup returns to a simmer.
  • Add the lemon juice and chopped dill just before serving. Check for seasoning and adjust, needed. Serve warm with a piece of crusty bread for dipping.