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Vastlapuder (Barley Porridge)

This dish of barley pearl “porridge” studded with small pieces of smoked pork makes an excellent side for meat or soup main courses. For the meat, use rib or cheek cuts, or even thick cut bacon. Barley porridge is traditionally eaten in Estonia on Shrove Tuesday, the first day of Lent, or year-round as a warming, filling snack. Recipe Servings: Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 1/2 lb (230 g) smoked pork
  • 1 cup (175 g) pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 1 qt (1 l) water, boiling
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying


  1. Cut the smoked pork into small cubes. In a large, deep frying pan over medium high heat, heat oil and fry the pork cubes until they are slightly browned and crisped.
  2. Add the pearl barley and sauté the mixture for about a minute, stirring gently.
  3. Add the boiling water, reduce heat, and cover the pan with a lid. Let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and serve warm.