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Stirum: Summer Supper Solved

enhance (3)Too hot outside to be standing too long in front of the stove or grill?  Maybe it's time for a Stirum dinner. Stirum is a traditional prairie supper as old as the days of the sod shanty - a meal that could fill you up to work long hours without being too heavy and one that was easy to make in times of few resources.

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And now that I have more fresh lettuce than I know what to do with, it's an excellent time to make it the main meal!  Stirum is basically salad with little pieces of broken-up thick pancake on top served with a light dressing - a  perfect fast easy meal for days when no one wants a big dinner.

I tried to find where the word 'Stirum' came from and whether it was a German or German-Russian dish but there is very little out there as far as history on this dish. I found this surprising as I would imagine it's a very common recipe to this day and done a thousand ways.

enhance (1)I did find that the word 'stierum' appears to be part of the Schwäbisch German dialect (the region near Stuttgart), which makes sense since we believe my father's family was from that area before moving to Odessa, Russia and then the Dakotas.  One source said the word 'stierum' means 'chopped pancakes' (believable, since this is basically what it is). The most simplistic explanation out there suggested it's a variation on stir 'em (short for 'stir them') - however, this seemed a little too 'Americanized' of an explanation to me.  I'll be traveling to Germany in August to visit my husband's family so I'll have a little side mission to investigate the origin!

Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 4-6
  • Batter: 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 cups flour
  • Dressing: 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp milk, 2 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper
  • Fresh leaf lettuce
How It's Done
  1. Mix batter (should be a little thicker than pancake batter)
  2. Add 1-2 tbsp oil in fry pan then pour in batter size of a pancake.
  3. Allow to brown on one side, flip it over and then break into pieces allowing to fully cook through.
  4. This amount of batter makes 2 large pancakes that can be broken up into small pieces.
  5. Serve stirum pieces on top of fresh lettuce and drizzle the dressing on top.


enhance (5)Regardless of where the name came from, this is the recipe I had from my grandmother.....I do remember having it occasionally as a kid and always enjoying it as something fresh and light.

There are a few other variations out there that use baking powder or small differences in the combination of eggs and flour compared to my grandmother's recipe but they are essentially the same basic pancake.

My favorite variation I came across made me realize I had already tried it without knowing it was a relative of stirum! 2015_0731_Kaiserschmarrn_Apfelsoße_Edelweisshütte_Sölden

Last Fall, my husband and I visited Vienna, Austria. For dessert one evening, we shared 'Kaiserschmarrn'', a popular dessert you can find throughout Austria and southern parts of Germany. I usually take pictures of all my food adventures when I travel (Exhibit A below) but I must have been too busy devouring it at the time so I don't have a picture of the yumminess we ate - this picture from Wikipedia looked the closest.

It is basically the same recipe with raisins added to the batter (in some recipes raisins soaked in rum). The final little pancake pieces are sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon and served with applesauce (or other fruits like plum or lingonberry sauce) for dipping.

So maybe next time I make stirum for dinner, I'm going to double the batch and have half for dessert!

Stay cool out there!

Exhibit A: Austrian food adventures

Enjoying sturm not stirum!
(new wine)
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Gröstl  (pork and potatoes hash) Afternoon coffee
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6 thoughts on “Stirum: Summer Supper Solved

  1. FirstDenny

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  2. Bescal

    Interesting. My aunt used only well beaten eggs and poured them in a hot piled pan. Then as the bottom cooked she would use a spatula to lift the bottom and tilt the pan to let the uncooked liquid run to the bottom. This would continue all around the pan untill there was a strata of cooked egg. Hers were at least one and a half to two inches high and they would be cut in squares. We would eat it with pancake syrup. I have heard it called egg strata but she called it stirum.

  3. Yvonne Shannon

    I loved your post. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska during the forties and fifties, and my mother often made stirum as a side dish for ‘supper’. I loved it. When I first got married, I asked her for the recipe and she said, “Good Lord, no. it's poor people food and I hope you never have to resort to making it for your family”.
    Well, I had no idea we were poor. With her huge garden, we had plenty of fresh vegetables in this summer, and canned ones in the winter and plenty of meat from the farm. My mother was a wonderful cook and I thought we ate like kings.
    She also sewed like a French seamstress. When the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs came, we each chose the dresses we liked and she reproduced them faithfully. Thanks to my mother's Ingenuity and hard work, we were the richest poor people in the county.
    However, I digress. Thank you for the recipe, and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    1. Amy

      That has been so great to hear - thanks for your comment. It's been sort of hit or miss whether fellow North Dakotan's have heard of this. Always learning something about these old recipes!

      1. Yvonne Shannon

        I enjoyed reading through your blog very much. I am looking forward to trying your microwave cheese recipe. I live in Costa Rica and every Friday our little town has their own Farmer's Market. My cheese man, there, will bring me fresh milk whenever I need it. I don't have your wonderful cheese gadget, but I have improvised something similar with a strainer and plastic tubs that I have used for years.
        I wonder if, by chance, anyone in your family ever made Schnitzbrot. It is a dark German fruit bread that is wonderful. My grandmother used to make it every Christmas and I was the only one of the grandchildren that would eat it. I once asked her for her recipe and she told me I make it just like my other bread except I add other things. I don't think she ever gave anyone the real recipe because my aunt sent me her recipe and it was nothing like my grandmother's. I've tried most of the recipes on the web and I have had some of the most spectacular baking failures that I have ever had. I was tempted to varnish one and use it as a doorstop or even as a self defense weapon. If you find a good recipe, would you please share it with us.

        1. dakota pharmgirl

          hi Yvonne! Thanks so much for your feedback. I'm relatively new to blogging so its been a learning experience. I'm sure your plan for cheese will work just fine as long as you have some method of draining...good luck! As far as the Schnitzbrot, I have had versions of this in Germany but my family didn't make it. (regular Christmas fruit breads but not with a dark bread). I confess I'm not too much of a fruit log lover so I've never made it myself! So I'm afraid I'm not too much help on that one =)


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