We devote today's edition to the famous 'mamaliga', a staple in Romanian cuisine. Mamaliga, which is the Romanian for 'polenta', seems to have entered Romanians' gastronomic culture in the 17th century, after corn was brought from America. Under Ottoman occupation and forced to pay tribute in cereals and cattle, Romanians started to harvest corn, which the Ottomans did not want. The word 'mamaliga' and its derivatives can be found everywhere in the Balkan area.
Mamaliga is a versatile dish, and it can be combined with all sorts of foodstuffs, such as meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs, sausages, etc.
Traditionally, mamaliga is cooked in a round cast iron pot, and is actually corn flour boiled in water and salt. It is usually denser than its Italian equivalent, known as 'polenta', and it can be cut in slices, just like bread. When served with other dishes, it can be made softer, like a porridge.
One of the most popular dishes in Romania is mamaliga with cheese and sour cream. For that you need half a kilo of corn flour, half a kilo of cottage cheese and 250 grams of sour cream. Cut the cheese in slices, place them on a plate and pour sour cream on top. Serve with a softer, hot mamaliga.
Mamaliga can be served together with eggs, cheese and sausages, a combination which is known as 'bulz' in Romania. For this you a polenta of medium consistency. Take part of it and spread it on the bottom of a pot. Place a layer of cheese matured in sheepskin and place another layer of mamaliga on top. You can mix the cheese with finely chopped dill or parsley. In between the layers of cheese and mamaliga you can add slices of smoked sausage or bacon. Before placing the pot into the oven, you can break a few eggs on top of the last layer of polenta. Keep the pot in the oven for about half an hour, and then serve it hot. Enjoy!