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Mama’s Mamaliga

Mama’s Mamaliga

As warm as a mother’s embrace, as soft as a baby’s blanket, mamaliga, a cornmeal mush, which is a close relative to polenta, is the ultimate comfort food. 

In Rumania, mamaliga, was eaten round the clock. In the early 20th century immigrants brought it to the U.S. and sung about in the Yiddish theatre. 

Since it’s meatless, it’s great for the pre Tisha B’Av period, though you can eat it anytime. This recipe comes from my mother, who still remembers her own mother standing over the stove and carefully stirring it for 20 minutes or more to make sure that the mamaliga was velvety smooth. 

For a more solid mamaliga cook longer and spread it out on a board and cut it into slices.

Mama’s Mamaliga Corn Meal
  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 3-4 servingsServings


  • 1 cup best quality cornmeal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt to taste


1. Bring water, butter and milk almost to a boil.

2, Gradually dribble in cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid any lumps.

3. Continue stirring for 10 to 15 minutes until you have a thick pudding with a cooked taste. You can add more water if it feels too thick.

4. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.