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Cuisine,  Entrées,  Family Classics,  Norwegian,  Traditions

Grandma Adeline’s Norwegian Potato Dumplings

Norwegian Potato Dumplings

I’ll be honest, I’m sharing this recipe from a place of vulnerability. I could get away without mentioning that fact, but by doing so I would feel like I were just tossing the recipe into the world with no reverence for what it is to me.

This recipe for Norwegian potato dumplings, as written, comes from a day some years ago in which Grandma Adeline taught my mother and me how to make it–a day some time before her strokes, some time before her death. In her later years, Grandma, Mom, and I met often throughout the year to bake and cook together. The ostensible objective was for Grandma to teach Mom and me to make the Norwegian and North Dakotan specialties that were her signatures: lefse, sandbakkels, and the like. But really, I wanted to make the most of my time with Grandma while she was still alive. I have published some of her recipes here on my blog, but others I held onto closely, waiting for the right time to release them into the world. This is one of them.

I can’t count the number of times she served me her Norwegian potato dumplings throughout my lifetime–they were a specialty of hers. I remember the way they tasted: the way the briny saltiness of the dumplings met the smooth sweetness of the corn syrup, the consistent granular texture of the flours and the pull-apart tenderness of the ham that accompanied them.

The recipe I’m sharing today is written in the precise language I recorded when I documented the day we made it together before the strokes, before she passed.

This is the way she taught it, then way we made it together. I remember making spiced roasted root vegetables back then, and these would be a nice accompaniment on a chilly day, but feel free to serve these dumplings however you like. And with no further delay, I’m ready to publish Grandma’s recipe and record an experience shared years ago with the women who came before me, the one who taught me what it is to love.

Grandma Adeline’s Norwegian Ham and Potato Dumplings (Potet Klub)

This recipe comes from Grandma’s days in North Dakota, but is written according to how she taught Mom and me to make it some years ago. My only additional tip is to make a small test dumpling before cooking the entire batch and to adjust the amount of salt as needed.

1 medium package of ham, cut into large pieces
4 cups ground raw potatoes*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup graham whole-wheat flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Butter, for serving
Maple syrup or light corn syrup, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ham and allow to cook until heated through. The main thing is that the water starts to take on some of the flavor of the ham. Remove ham and set aside on a plate covered with foil to keep warm. Take a 1-by-2-inch piece and grind in a food processor. Reserve the water.

To make the dumplings, combine ground potatoes and ground ham with all-purpose flour, graham flour, baking powder, and salt. (This can be done by hand or in the food processor.) Add a little more flour, if necessary, to create a stiff dough that can be formed into dumplings.

Form the dough into balls between the size of a golf ball and tennis ball. Return the water to a boil and add the dumplings. Move them around in the water a bit to make sure the dumplings don’t stick to the bottom. Cook until the dumplings are cooked through, about 30-45 minutes.

Serve with reserved ham, butter, and syrup.

*To prepare the potatoes easily and quickly, peel them and shred in a food processor, then run the shreds through with the blade until they’re ground.

11 Comments

  • Liv witherow

    I am not sure how much one medium package of ham is, and what kind of ham. Another thing, I never have seen it served with syrup. Very interesting. Thank you for posting this .

  • Karen Nakken Volpe

    Wow this brings back memories, my Mom and Dad used to make something similar they called ” Potato Bal or Kumpke” but there was a piece of fat in the middle, they were boiled also but I liked them best the next day when we sliced them and fried them like potato pancakes!

  • Kimberly Hutchison

    This is totally different than the potato dumplings (Kulma) made by and passed down from my Norwegian grandmother. I look forward to trying this. My Grandma’s recipe was just riced or shredded potatoes and flour made into a ball and cooked in the ham broth and So Delicious!

  • Charita Parker

    Lovely ,My 4 grandparents came from Norway to MInnesota and North Dakota . They spent a short time there and then moved to Canada . I grew up eating and loving all the recipes that you are making . Bless you . xxoo We called this recipe Klub . We make it very similarily . We cook a large bone in ham with a couple of inched of water forn about 2 hours , retaining the water to boil the Klub . I chop up in small half inch cubes the ham which I add to the klub dough .about 2 cups . We also serve it with syrup and IF hahaha there are leftovers slice and fry in butter the next day / My Klub recipe is very similar to yours .I am happy to have found your website . Love Charita xxoo

  • Beverly Helland

    I too, grew up in a Norwegian family and had “Klub” quite often. Never had it with ground ham, but that does sound very good. Love your recipes. Brings back so many wonderful memories!

  • Rhonda Enge Ballew

    Thank you for your Klub recipe. Our family enjoys it with a little surprise inside each dumpling. My son loves to make it too! Carrying on our parents and grandparents legacy for yummy Norwegian food.

  • Andrea Collin

    This is very similar to my North Dakota grandmother’s recipe, which we still make. She also threw in a handful of oatmeal to serve as a binder. I have a question about the different names Norwegians have for potato dumplings. My grandma was from the Stavanger area and called it kumla. Did the other names, like klub or krub come from other parts of the country? Or is there no correlation between what it is called by Norwegian Americans and where their families were from?

  • Virginia Urness

    My Mother-in-law made cloth bags (like stockings) from old sheets about 10″ long and 4″ diameter, stuffed them with the Krub mixture, tied the end and cooked them. The first day we ate them hot out of the broth, cut up, of course, and next day she took them out of the bags cold, sliced them and fried them in butter. Mm good.

  • Amy

    We still make our version, called komla, a few times a year. On a trip to Norway last year we had some wonderful komla on a ferry north of Stavanger. The ferry cafeteria lady was surprised when I asked in my best Norwegian if what she’d prepared was komla, and she was thrilled when we came back after eating the one we purchased to tell her how good her komla was. One trick we learned from her was to serve our komla with some bacon crumbles on top. Mmmm. Makes me wish I had a ham…

  • Lauris

    Our family called it “Palt” My mother was Norwegian and my dad was a Swede-and nobody told them they weren’t supposed to get along! Ha- they were happily married for 62 years! We would brown salt pork and onion to put in the middle of each palt. My dad would help with the grating of the potatoes into a big wash tub squeezing the pink starchy water out to be added back later into the potato mixture. Boiling them in big pots of water-butter galore on the table for serving-but no syrup. i agree frying the cut up palt the next day always even better! Skol!

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