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Mamaliga (Romanian Polenta)


Romanian cuisine uses simple, cheap ingredients . One of those is Cornmeal, which we also know from Mexican and Italian cuisine.

One of the main dishes in Romania is called MAMALIGA. It is actually very similar to the Italian Polenta and is some kind of a porridge made of boiled water and cornmeal cooked together.

Romanians eat it with almost anything: Meat dishes, Fried eggs, Cooked vegetables and…cheese.

  • ServingsServings


  • 1.5 cups cornmeal (100 grams/10.5 oz)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Black pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 4 1/4 cups (34 fl oz) water or milk
  • 3-4 Tbs butter or extra virgin Olive Oil
  • Cheese of choice (see preparation)


Boil the water in a deep saucepan. Add the salt, black pepper and freshly ground nutmeg. Add the cornmeal gradually!!!  stirring with a wooden spoon or a whisk till the mixture thickens. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon on LOW HEAT for about 15 minutes. If your cornmeal is finely ground – it'll take you less than that.

Add butter or olive oil and stir. Remove from heat.

At this point – pour the thick mixture into a serving Pyrex dish and now you can cover it with all the cheeses you love.

I usually put sour cream first (in Israel we have 9% fat sour cream) but you can replace it with Yogurt or cottage cheese, then crumbled Feta (or 5% fat Bulgarian salty cheese, which we have over here), and finish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino or Goats' Kashkaval.

Place this in the oven for several minutes on medium heat till the cheese melts and serve.

Optional: You can garnish it with corn kernels or add sautéed mushrooms to the sour cream (first cheese layer).