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Swedish Cabbage Pudding | Kalpudding

Introduction & method

This traditional Swedish dish is very simple to make - it's a layer of cabbage and onion, a layer of minced beef and pork, and another layer of cabbage topped with a sweet syrup.

Swedish Cabbage Pudding | Kalpudding Recipe

Cook Some Rice

Place the rice in a small pan and add water and salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for ten minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely.

Cook Some Onion

We need some pre-cooked onion for the meat mixture, so peel and finely dice an onion, and gently sauté it in tallow or lard for 5-10 minutes until softened but not browned. Allow to cool completely.

Make the Meat Mixture

In a large bowl, mix the minced meat, salt and pepper together. Season with salt and pepper then mix in the egg, rice and onion. You'll probably need to use your hands to get it really blended. Now mix in the stock, a bit at a time - you'll end up with a smooth, slightly sloppy paste.

Prep the Cabbage

Quarter the cabbage, cut out the core, then chop the cabbage into small pieces. Peel and finely dice the onion and sauté the cabbage in butter  in a large frying pan or wok. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of water, put a lid on the pan and let the cabbage steam on low heat until it's a bit soft. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. You will probably need to cook the cabbage in two batches.

Assemble and Bake the Cabbage Pudding

Spread one batch of cabbage in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish or casserole. Add the meat mixture on top of that, and the remaining cabbage on top of the meat. Drizzle the top layer of cabbage with syrup. Swedes would use something called sirap, but golden syrup or corn syrup are good alternatives.

Heat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan/convection oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4. Place the casserole on the middle shelf and bake for one hour. The top should be golden brown, but check it about 20 minutes before the end and cover with a lid or foil if it is getting too dark.


Serve cabbage pudding with boiled potatoes, gravy, and a good dollop of lingonberry jam (available from every IKEA on the planet) or cranberry sauce/jam if you can't get lingonberry.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Swedish Cabbage Pudding | Kalpudding on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 1 kilo white cabbage
 1 medium onion
 50 grams butter
 half a tsp salt
 half a tsp white pepper
 a splash of water
 500 grams minced beef and pork
 1 medium onion
 100 grams rice (uncooked weight)
 300 ml water
 250 ml beef stock
 1 egg
 30 grams lard or tallow
  salt and white pepper to taste
 1 tbsp syrup (see below)


Syrup: Scandinavian sirap can be hard to find elsewhere, but you can use golden syrup or corn syrup.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 -6
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes.