Lithuanian traditional dish cepelinai recipe

The most popular traditional Lithuanian dish


Cepelinai is a traditional Lithuanian dish of meatballs wrapped in potato dough, boiled and eaten with sour cream. It got its name from its shape resembling an airship (Zeppelin), and since it also resembles an American football ball, American Lithuanians celebrate the day of the Super Bowl (American football final) every year as Zepelinai Day. I'm here.

I will introduce the recipe of Zepelinai, which is a potato dough but has a strange rice cake-like texture.



[Cepelinai Materials]


200g x 8 / 120 minutes preparation, 50 minutes cooking

<For potato dough>

  • 3 kg of potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • potato starch (as needed)


<For meatballs>

  • 500g minced pork

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon

  • 2 tablespoons water


<For topping>

  • Smoked bacon or pork belly 250g

  • 400g onion

  • 8 tbsp sour cream

<For cooking>

  • 2 tbsp potato starch

  • 1/2 cup water



[Cepelinai cooking method]

  1. Peel the potatoes and soak them in water.

  2. Cut 500g of potatoes into 4 pieces, add to boiling water and boil over low heat for 8-12 minutes. Once cooked, remove from hot water and allow to cool.

  3. While the potatoes are boiling, grate the rest of the potatoes into a puree.

  4. Set the sarashi (tenugui) in a large bowl, pour in the grated potatoes, and squeeze to remove all the moisture. (It will take about 5-10 minutes, depending on the type of potato and the skill of the person cooking it. Please take your time and remove the water completely.)

  5. Place the drained potatoes in a separate bowl and save the juice for later use.

  6. Now mash the boiled potatoes until there are no lumps and add the grated potatoes.

  7. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and mix by hand.

  8. It feels like clay and it feels good if it doesn't stick to your hands. If it's too watery and sticky to your hands, adjust by adding potato starch 1 teaspoon at a time. If it is too flimsy and cracks immediately, add the squeezed juice of grated potatoes to adjust.

  9. In a separate bowl, add 500g ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons water and mix by hand.

  10. Divide the dough and meatballs into 8 equal parts each. Shape the meatballs into rugby balls.

  11. Take the dough in the palm of your hand and shape it into an oval shape about 1 cm thick (just like covering the palm of your hand).

  12. Put the meatballs in the center and lift both ends of the dough to wrap the meatballs. Pinch the seam to close it and wrap it tightly with both hands to form a balloon (Zeppelin) shape.

  13. Make sure there are no cracks on the surface of the dough. Cover the cracks by stroking the potato juice with your finger.

  14. Make 8 of the remaining ingredients in the same way.

  15. Prepare 7 liters of boiling water in a pot and add 2 tablespoons of potato starch dissolved in water. This will prevent the dough from losing its shape during cooking and will give it a glossy finish.

  16. Gently place the cepelinai into the pot (they will sink to the bottom at first, but will float to the top after a while). Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. Do it on low heat because it will lose its shape if it boils.

  17. Making toppings (spirugchei) while cooking cepelinai. Chop 250g of smoked bacon and 400g of onion into small cubes. Fry the bacon in a frying pan over high heat without oil until golden brown and crisp, then add the onion and turn the heat to medium. It's done when the onions turn golden brown.

  18. Top up at the end. Gently lift the cepelinai out of the pan using a ladle with a hole and place it on a plate. Sprinkle a spoonful of topping (Spirguchei) and drizzle with sour cream to complete.




Four halves of all the ingredients may be enough for a typical Japanese household. It seems that the main house often grate all the potatoes, but I think that beginners can boil a part and make the process easier.

I think the most important step is to completely drain the water from the grated potatoes. If you go to a supermarket that has a lot of herbs, you can get dill, so if you sprinkle it at the end, I think it will be closer to the original.


January 28, 2015

My Food Odyssey by June Molloy Vladychka

Source: "Cepelinai for Beginners"