🎄Christmas🎄 recipes from the countries Kontomatik operates in

It’s finally Christmastime again, and that means lights, music, warm fires, family and, especially, lots and lots of comfort food. Christmas food is always delicious, but it can look very different among different cultures. Here at Kontomatik, we’re lucky enough to work with clients from around the world and each culture has its own unique, delicious holiday flavors. As a special treat, this year we’ve put together some of the most popular holiday recipes from around the countries we operate in. Give them a try this Christmas season and experience a little bit of holiday culture from the 8 following countries:

Czech Republic

🇨🇿 Czech Republic 🇨🇿

Tradiční houbový kuba

A mushroom and barley dish that’s sure to make your belly warm

- 60g dried mushrooms
- 200g barley Butter
- 200 ml broth 
- 2 onions
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp marjoram
- salt and pepper to taste

1) (The night before): Soak the dried mushrooms overnight in water. In a separate bowl, soak the barley overnight as well
2) The day of: drain the mushrooms and keep the liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms
3) Drain and rinse the barley; pat try to remove moisture. 
4) Saute the barley in 2 tbsp of butter in a large pot until pearly. Then add 250 ml of the mushroom liquid
5) Continue to cook until liquid is absorbed, then add the rest of the liquid and 125 ml broth. 
6) Stir and let simmer for 35-40 minutes until the barley is tender, adding more broth as needed. The barley should absorb all the broth. 
7) In 2 tbsp of butter in a separate pan saute the chopped onions. 
8) After onions have cooked for a few minutes, add garlic, mushrooms, spices and salt and pepper to taste. 
9) Crease a baking dish and mix the onion mixture with the cooked barley. Add to the baking dish and cook in a 180 C oven for 25 minutes, until golden.


This braided Christmas bread is similar to babka and includes raisins, almonds and sugar – what’s not to love?

- 330g flour 
- 75g butter
- 65g sugar
- 35g chopped, blanched almonds
- 35g raisins, soaked in rum
- 20g yeast
- 120ml milk
- 2 eggs
- vanilla flavor
- lemon zest 
- ½ tsp salt
- extra blanched almonds for the top

1) Pour flour into a bowl and make a well in the center. Add fresh yeast, 1 tsp sugar and a little lukewarm milk into the well and mix the three ingredients together (do not mix in the flour). Put in warm place for 30 minutes until yeast is bubbly and frothy 
2) Pour the remaining milk in a bowl and add melted butter and one egg. Whisk together. Add flour/yeast mixture and mix to combine. 
3) Add the rest of the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Knead together very well, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Around 15-20 minutes. 
4) Drain raisins and add to dough along with chopped almonds. Knead to incorporate
5) Let the dough rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Line a baking tray with parchment
6) Divide dough into two parts (60 percent of the dough in one part, 40 percent in another). Cut each part into 3 pieces and roll into long strands. Braid the strands. 
7) Put the bigger braid on the bottom of the baking tray and top with the smaller braid 
8) Stick skewers into the bread to hold layers together.
9) Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 
10) Whip the remaining egg and brush over the bread. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. 
110) Bake in 160 C oven for 40-50 minutes, covering the bread with foil when the top starts to get golden brown (in order to keep it from burning.)
12) After baking, dust with powdered sugar.

🇪🇪 Estonia 🇪🇪


This classic Christmas Day breakfast includes maple and brown sugar for the perfect sweet treat  

- 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 cup milk1
- tsp maple extract 
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 egg
- 2.25 cups flour
- 1 tsp brown sugar

For filling:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup salted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar1 tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup raisins

1) Add yeast and sugar to a bowl with milk (warmed), maple, melted butter and egg. Whisk and set aside
2) In another bowl mix flour and brown sugar. Add milk mixture and stir to thicken.
3) Knead until well combined and form into a ball. Place in oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size
4) Preheat oven to 190 C 
5) Prepare the filling by creaming butter with brown sugar and cinnamon
6) After the dough has doubled, place onto a floured work surface and roll out using a rolling pin until it’s a large rectangle. Spread butter mixture all over dough, leaving the edge bare
7) Sprinkle pecans and raisins and then roll the dough lengthwise until you have a long cylinder of rolled dough
8) Cut in half lengthwise and twist the two halves around each other like a braid, with the cut side up. Form the twisted dough into a circle and put in the oven
9) Bake for 22 minutes or until golden brown.

🇱🇻 Latvia 🇱🇻


Similar to Polish Pierogi, these are baked meat dumplings that are beloved at holidays, especially Christmas. 

- 50g fresh yeast
- 300ml warm milk
- 500g wheat flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pinch salt
- 30 ml oil

For filling:
- 1 egg 
- 300g smoked bacon
- pepper 
- 1 onion

1) Mix yeast with 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp flour, 2 tbs warm water and mix. Leave in warm place for 10-30 minutes until yeast rises. In the meantime heat up milk, add to yeast mixture along with the rest of the sugar and salt. Mix well
2) Stir flour in with a spoon until it makes a loose dough, then dump onto table
3) Knead by hand for several minutes, then mix in the oil (add more flour if dough is too sticky)
4) Form dough into a ball and leave in a warm place to rise. Preheat oven to 200C
5) Move onto the filling – cut the meat and onion and fry in a pan with pepper. Set aside 
6) Roll the dough out and, using a glass, cut circles in the dough 
7) Put bacon filling in middle of each circle and fold in half, pressing edges to close
8) Place folded dough pockets on a baking sheet. Whip egg and spread over each pocket
9) Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown

🇱🇹 Lithuania 🇱🇹


Sometimes called Christmas Eve cookies, these little dry cookies are the perfect snack for Christmas time

- 500g flour
- 4g dry yeast
- 2.5 tbsp poppy seeds
- 200 ml warm water
- 7 tbsp sugar
- pinch salt

1) Mix sugar and yeast into warm water and stir until yeast is dissolved. Leave in warm place for 15-20 min, until the yeast bubbles and foams
2) In a separate bowl add flour and pour in yeast mixture with salt. Mix well and then cover with towel and let rise for 30-40 minutes
3) After the dough has risen, add the poppy seeds and then more flour, until the dough no longer (or barely) sticks to your hands. Knead and then form a ball
4) Set aside in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise for 1 hour, until the dough doubles
5) Take a piece of dough and roll it into a long string. Cut into small pieces 
6) Preheat oven to 180C and lie the cookies out on a sheet in the oven
7) Bake for 15-17 minutes. 
8) Let the cookies cool and harden for a day or two so you get crunchy, sweet cookies!


This spread is the perfect addition to any christmas table and the perfect accompaniment to a nice piece of rye

- 380g sour cream
- 100g butter
- 1 bunch dill 
- 3 cloves garlic 
- pinch of salt

1) Mash butter in a bowl. Add sour cream by spoonfuls, mixing continuously until well combined. Ensure no chunks of butter are visible – if there are, heat the bowl gradually while mixing
2) Add garlic, dill and salt, mix well 
3) Enjoy spread on rye bread, or with potato pancakes

🇵🇭 Philippines 🇵🇭

Pinoy Spaghetti

Common at Christmas and other family gatherings, children especially love this sweet meat spaghetti

- 1 pack spaghetti
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 yellow onion
- 16 oz canned tomato sauce
- 4 oz banana ketchup
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 5 tbsp fish sauce 
- 5 hot dogs 
- salt and pepper to taste
- velveeta or cheddar cheese topping

1) In a large pan over medium heat add vegetable oil and onion, saute. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
2) Add ground pork and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until meat is browned
3) Add tomato sauce, banana ketchup, fish sauce and dark brown sugar and cook, stirring until well combined. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer to thicken the sauce
4) Add cut up hot dogs and cook for 5 minutes 
5) Taste and add salt and black pepper 
6) Add spaghetti and stir to mix
7)Ladle onto plates and top with shredded cheese

🇵🇱 Poland 🇵🇱

Red Borscht

Sour, sweet, and bright red, this soup is not only a Polish holiday classic, but a bright addition to any Christmas table.

- 4 carrots
- 1 parsnip
- ½ celery root
- 1 leek
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 cup dried mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 allspice
- 6 beets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp sugar 
- 2 tbsp salt 
- ¼ tsp marjoram
- ground pepper to taste

1) Put dry mushrooms in bowl and cover with boiling water – let soak for 5 minutes
2) Peel, wash and cut vegetables into chunks –place into a large pot with soaked mushrooms (take the mushrooms out of the soaking water, do not pour them into the pot because you will get grit in the pot). Cover with 10 cups of water, add a teaspoon of salt, bay leaves and allspice and boil for 30 minutes, uncovered
3) Prepare beets by peeling and slicing them. Peel garlic. Add beets and garlic and remaining spices to the broth, along with 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp lemon. Cook for 30 minutes uncovered
4) Add the remaining vinegar and adjust seasonings. Continue to cook until at a flavor you like
5) Strain broth and discard vegetables. Pour into mugs or bowls to eat!

Braised Sauerkraut with Wild Mushrooms

Sour, sweet, and bright red, this soup is not only a Polish holiday classic, but a bright addition to any Christmas table.

- ½ lbs Sauerkraut
- 2 oz dried wild mushrooms
- 2 onions
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 allspice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp parsley

1) Rinse sauerkraut under water, squeeze out excess water and chop
2) Put sauerkraut in a pot and cover with water. Add bay leaves and allspice
3) Cook on low for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until soft, adding water if needed
4)As that cooks, put dried mushrooms into pot with water and let sit for half an hour
5) Cook mushrooms in the same water, adding some salt
6) In a frying pan, heat oil. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown. 
7) When mushrooms are cooked, remove them and add to the sauerkraut
8) Using a cheesecloth or strainer, pour one ladle of the mushroom water at a time over the sauerkraut 
9) Cook for 10 minutes to reduce some of the liquid
10) Add onions and sugar to the pot and combine, discarding the bay leaves If you’d like, add one or two tbsp of butter. Garnish with parsley and serve!

🇵🇹 Portugal 🇵🇹

Bacalhau com Broa

Many countries like cod or other fish around Christmas, but in Portugal they dress up this breaded, salted cod in a casserole dish and serve it for Christmas eve with cornbread crumbs and onions

- 4 onions
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 or 2 pieces of cod
- ¼ lb smoked or cured sausage
- ¼ lb corn bread2 eggs, hardboiled 
- 400g potatoes, boiled 
- salt and pepper to taste

1) Put onion in pan with olive oil and garlic, saute then remove from heat
2) Fry sausage in same oil, remove from heat
3) Cut cod into large pieces and boil for about 15 minutes. Remove from water and let it cool down
4) Shred the fish with your hands, removing skin and bones. 
5) Mash potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste
6) With your hands, crumble cornbread until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs
7) In a casserole dish, spread onions and garlic at the bottom. Add eggs, sausage, shredded cod. Top with cornbread crumbs and sprinkle oil over the top to make it crispy
8) Bake in a 200C oven for 15 minutes or until the cornbread looks golden brown.

Bolo Rei

This traditional Christmas cake comes with a fun surprise. Sometimes small toys would be hidden inside for the children to find. Occasionally some families will hide a fava bean inside and whoever finds it has to supply the Bolo Rei next year

- 3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp dried yeast
- ½ Cup sugar
- 75g butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg whisked 
- pinch salt
- lemon zest from one lemon
- 100 ml warm milk
- 100 ml port wine or brandy
- 80 g candied or dried fruit 
- 50 g mixed nuts, unsalted and chopped

- 50 g dried fruit slices
- 30g mixed nuts
- powdered sugar 
- 1 tsp strawberry jam
- 2 tsp hot water

1) Place candied fruit and raisins in a bowl with the port or brandy to infuse
2) In another bowl mix yeast and warm milk and let rest in warm place for 5-10 minutes until slightly frothy on top
3) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, lemon zest, butter, eggs and salt. Then pour in yeast mixture and knead 
4) Add port and fruit mixture and chopped nuts. Knead until well combined. 
5) Form the dough into a ball and put in a bowl. Cover with kitchen towel and let it double in size – around 1.5 hours 
6) Line a baking tray with parchment paper and put an upside down cup or small bowl in the middle. Form the dough into a ring around the bowl or cup and let rise for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
7) Preheat oven to 180C
8) Spread whisked egg over dough and garnish with nuts and dried fruit. 
9) Bake for 35-45 minutes 
10) Dust with powdered sugar and serve

🇪🇸 Spain 🇪🇸


These are traditional crumbly Spanish Christmas cookies made from almonds.

- 1.5 cups plain flour
- ¾ cup raw peeled almonds
- ½ cup lard or 1.5 cup plus 2 tbsp butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 180C
2) Put almonds on a baking tray and toast them until golden – around 8-10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 120C
3) Take the almonds out and grind in a food processor until they’re almost the texture of flour
4) In a bowl, combine lard, sugar and cinnamon. Blend with a mixer until smooth
5) Add flour and almonds to the mixture and form into a crumbly dough
6) Take a sheet of waxed paper and place dough on top, carefully flattening it with a rolling pin until it’s a rectangle with about .5-inch thickness
7) Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into circles
8) Move dough to a greased baking tray or cookie sheet (be careful because it’s crumbly!) 
9) Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown
10) After baking and cooling, dust with powdered sugar.

Gambas al Ajillo

While they’re popular all the time, these flavorful shrimp are especially popular among many families at Christmas time

- 455g shrimp
- salt
- olive oil,
- 6 cloves of garlic,
- thinly sliced
- a pinch red pepper flakes
- 10g parsley, minced
- lemon wedges

1) Peel shrimp but leave tails on. Clean and toss in a bowl with salt. Let them rest for 10 minutes
2) Add oil and garlic to a pan over low heat to infuse the oil with the garlic. Stir until fragrant
3) Add the red pepper flakes and give it a stir. Then add the shrimp, keeping them in one single layer in the pan. 
4) When they are pink on one side, flip the shrimp and let them cook for a minute. Then remove the heat and let the shrimp finish cooking in the hot oil. Make sure there are no gray shrimp. If there are, keep cooking them. 
5) Toss the shrimp with some lemon juice and parsley. Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges.