Sharing tastes of Norway
A new, semi-regular feature with family recipes from readers of The Norwegian American
Christy Olsen Field
Taste of Norway Editor
One of the best parts about being the Taste of Norway editor is hearing from readers like you! Every week I get emails from readers, with follow-up questions about a recipe, story ideas, and my favorite: sharing recipes from your own family traditions.
I have found that many of these personal stories from readers are simply too good to not share, so I have decided to launch a new feature: The Norwegian American Recipe Exchange. The inaugural post is from Jann Larson, of Reynolds, N.D.
Do you have a recipe to share or want to know more about a certain dish or ingredient? I’d love to hear from you. Write to me at
I very much enjoyed the article in the Nov. 1, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American about “The Dumpling Project.” It generated conversation in my family! My father emigrated from Norway in 1928 at the age of 18. He married my mother in 1948. She was of German descent, but quickly mastered many Norwegian food traditions. It was always a treat when she made potato dumplings, which we later came to know as kumla. As a child, I only knew they were delicious.
As an adult, I assisted on a couple sessions, trying to take notes and learn the tricks. After she passed away, I found no less than five different recipes she must have experimented with in her process of learning, and after a time, she had her own version in her head. Only minor differences were evident between the recipes, but I did learn, when I started making them for my family, that practice makes perfect.
So, in the interest of making a more informative recipe for my girls, I experimented and wrote down hints for my daughters. We also enjoy them the most as leftovers, sliced and browned in butter (bacon fat in my younger years). While I understand the project is finished, I am passing on my version, written with my daughters in mind. Thank you again for covering this tradition. We had ham for Christmas dinner when I was a child and enjoyed mom using the ham bone sometime after, on a cold winter day, to make dumplings.
Mom’s Potato Dumplings
Submitted by Jann Larson
12-15 servings, recipe can be halved
3 cups cooked potatoes, mashed or riced
3 cups raw potatoes, grated (squeeze out liquid until dry)
4 cups flour
¾ tsp salt
pieces of bacon, salt pork, or ham, cooked
3 quarts ham broth (or salted water)
Bring the ham broth to a gentle boil while you prepare the dumplings.
Mix the first four ingredients together. It will be very stiff. You may need to use your hands to mix adequately.
Form the dumplings. If you use your hands, it will be very messy. To help, you can wet your hands in cold water; this is the way my mom did it. I found I had to wash my hands completely after every third dumpling. I have also used a 2-inch cookie scoop and it was very effective.
My mom said to really pack the dumpling while forming, or they will fall apart while cooking. (I did experience that in a previous attempt.)
She also said to make them about the size of a lemon. The cookie scoop is a little smaller than that, but I found the dumplings to be of good size for preparing, cooking, and eating, plus it made the size consistent.
While forming the dumpling, insert a small piece of meat (bacon, salt pork, or ham) in the center.
Rather than dropping them into the broth as I prepared them, I formed them all and placed them on a cookie sheet or plate.
After all the dumplings have been formed, gently drop them into the boiling broth. Using half the recipe, I can get them all into the pot at one time. Dumplings can be boiled in two batches if making the full recipe.
Cook for about 20-25 minutes, gently stirring every few minutes to keep the dumplings from sticking to the bottom. At some point, they will float to the top of the both.
Use a slotted spoon to take them out of the broth. Serve hot. Dumplings taste good reheated by slicing them about ½-inch thick and lightly frying in butter or bacon fat.
They are tasty with maple syrup. You can also cube them and serve as you would fried potatoes. Cubes and slices can be frozen.
This article originally appeared in the January 10, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.