A Hygge Recipe For Danish Meatballs In Curry

I recently read Meik Wiking’s The Little Book Of Hygge. Mr Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He studies happiness in cultures around the world. Despite their long, dark winters the Danes are among the happiest people on the planet. Why is this? Could it be their culture of Hygge?

So what is hygge exactly? Hygge (pronounced Hooga) is as a feeling of home, safety, warmth, coziness, love. It can be as simple as savoring a cup of warm tea, or relaxing in front of a roaring fireplace snuggled in a blanket. Hygge is often combined with other words – “I can’t wait to get home and put on my Hyggesocks.” or “Want to take a hyggecoffee with me?”

Danes know how to hygge – they dress casually, layering bulky sweaters and scarves over skinny jeans. They fill their homes with vintage furniture, stacks of books, fuzzy blankets and cushions, and they often bring nature indoors via leaves, twigs, or animal skin rugs. They love coffee, sweets and bacon. Sounds like Portland has the Hygge thing down! Danes are obsessed with lighting, especially candles! They light them at work, at home, and in classrooms to create “emotional coziness”. As far as lamps go, the lower the temperature of the lighting, the more hygge a room feels. I believe the ONLY time you should turn on an overhead light is while vacuuming or mopping the floor, so I totally get it. This is dinner not a police interrogation! 🙂

Hot drinks (especially coffee, tea, and mulled wine) are high on the hygge list, as are fireplaces, board games, music and sweet treats. Danes like to spend time cooking and eating with loved ones, in fact the longer a dish takes to cook the more hygge it is! Here’s what it is not: bragging about your accomplishments, or trying to one up your neighbor with the fanciest car, watch, or house. Hygge is about simplicity and modesty. Think rustic over new, simple over posh, and ambience instead of excitement.

I recently made one of the recipes from this book, and in true hygge style I shared it with friends. Here is my buddy Jonah getting down on his meatballs. A minute before his mamma took this photo he leaned over and out of the blue said “I love you”. Was this because I made him meatballs? Who knows and who cares!



We all agreed this recipe was a hit so I wanted to share it with you. Here it is below (reprinted with the author’s permission). Try it and let me know what you think!


Boller I Karry (Danish Meatballs in Curry)

Cooking time – about an hour and thirty five minutes (including one hour for the meatball mix to rest).

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (or 2 Tbsp. flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 1/2 lbs. ground pork (I mixed beef and pork)
  • 4 cups beef stock (I ended up using two 32 oz containers of beef broth)

Curry Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. mild yellow curry powder
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large leek, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • handful chopped parsley


1. Place the breadcrumbs or flour with the egg, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper in a big bowl and mix it well. Add the pork, mix it again, and leave it in the fridge for one hour.

2. Take the mixture out of the fridge and use a spoon to form little balls. Add water to cooking pot  and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the beef stock and the meatballs into the boiling water and let them simmer for five to ten minutes. Remove the meatballs from the water, but retain some of the liquid for later use.

3. Melt the butter in a pot, add the curry powder, and let it brown for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the chopped onion and leek and let them brown for a couple of minutes. Add flour and mix well. Then add some of the cooking liquid, little by little, stirring until the sauce thickens. add the cream and the meatballs and simmer for about twelve minutes.

5. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice.


Couple of notes – first, this recipe made about 50 meatballs, so I shared these with several friends and they all loved it! I’m betting you could easily cut this recipe in half. Second, I’m not sure if he meant to use half water and half stock to boil the meatballs, but I doubled the amount of broth he suggests in this recipe and ended up cooking my meatballs in two batches (using just broth, no water) so they had plenty of room to swim around. Save any leftover broth and use it to cook rice, or steam veggies.

Ok one more picture of this cute nugget:



Anne McCranie is a Portland, Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.