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Kumla…not your ordinary dumpling

My Mother was very adventurous in her rural Iowa kitchen.  She loved to cook traditional Bohemian dishes from my Father’s family; German, Dutch and Norwegian dishes from friends and family.

I don’t know where my Mother discovered Kumla but it is a hearty dish that will warm the cockles of your heart.  A mandatory nap following consumption of Kumla may be appropriate.  It all begins with homemade ham broth.  Potato dumplings are made from raw, grated potatoes and boiled in the broth.  Traditionally, the dumplings are dipped in a dollop of butter.

While I have eaten Kumla for 50+ years, I did not know the history.  After surfing the web, I learned it is a traditional Swedish/Norwegian dish often served during the holidays with butter or with lingonberry.


peeled potatoes, ground with fine grinder
1 egg
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • Place ham in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer the ham about 2 hours. Remove the ham, and skim any foam off the broth.  I like to cool and the refrigerate the broth overnight and skim off any fat before proceeding.
  • Finely grate or grind potatoes. Sprinkle well with salt and work through potatoes. Let set 5-10 minutes. Press moisture out by placing potato mixture into a sieve to remove the starch. Discard starch.
Kumla–grating the potatoes
  • Add egg and baking powder. Work in all the flour that you can until firm and not sticky.
Kumla–roll into small balls
  • Drop by teaspoon full in boiling ham broth in heavy metal pot. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Test Kumla by cutting one in half.
  • Serve hot. Traditionally we dip dumplings in butter. Even better when they are warmed up!

Perhaps Kumla will become a favorite for your family!  If you are already a Kumla lover, what is your story?

15 thoughts on “Kumla…not your ordinary dumpling

  1. My family have cooked this for generations, I remember my Grandma using a ham bone for the broth (this was a treat!). She would use it over and over making the broth, then the potato dumplings called kumla! When the family gathers, it is a tradition to make up a big batch, refrying it in the morning in bacon fat or butter!


  2. My mother made this for years as do I and my daughters. Except she called it Kumerla. May have been the way she heard it as she got the recipe from an old Swedish woman w/an accent.
    We lovingly call them “lead balls”. Comfort food extraordinaire! My mother always put a piece of salt pork in the center and the broth was made by simmering smoked ham hocks.
    She used an old fashioned meat grinder to grind the potatoes as do I. The leftovers are sliced and fried in butter as others have said. . The dumplings were eaten w/lots of butter. So our making of these spans 4 generations. I think I may make some this weekend. 🙂


  3. I’m from Stavanger in Norway and work as a chef komle has many different names from different parts of Norway ,but here we call it that, I’ve never seen them so small or with eggs in them and never eaten like a soup, where is your father from ? Here it’s served these are 4 times as big with salt lamb, sausage ,bacon or melted butter ,mashed suede,and some also serve with boiked potatoes and carrots on the side.


    1. I love hearing how Komle/Kumle is made by different families and regions. What is mashed suede? My Father was Bohemian/Czech and my Mother was English/Scotch/Irish. We had neighbors that were Norwegian and Dutch so she cooked specialties from all.


    2. Sorry its written swede ,ruyabaga or yellow turnip are other words for it Brassica napobrassica is the Latin term ,here they called it the arktic orange because during second WW there were not much food and especially vit.C this root is full of it ,when its mashed with butter and milk, it’s kind of similar to sweet potato mash if I should compare it to something.


    3. My grandfather was from Stavanger, but came to the US in 1920. I have a cousin who still lives there. I heard about kumla all my life but never asked what it was. Thank you for your input.


  4. Both my parent’s grandparents came to Iowa/Northern Illinois in 1850’s. My family all LOVE kumla…ambrosia to us! We dip it in lots of butter and often fry the leftovers in butter the next day…I have discovered that those who didn’t grow up with kumla MAY not be as big of fans! lol It is not a PRETTY dish…have recently been using the food processor instead of the old-fashioned grinder and it works GREAT…kumla is less gray because the potatoes are used more quickly…making kumla today! YUM


  5. Kumla is our family favorite and a Christmas and Easter special. Even the Grandchildren request it at times which
    makes Kumla a little more special.


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