ROMANIAN CORNMEAL MUSH ... Pareve or Dairy ... Serve with Sour Cream


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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 7

    (Hard) or 8 (soft) cups water

  • About 2½ teaspoons table salt or 5 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2

    cups (9.25 ounces) medium-grind cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

  • Optional

  • ¼ to ½

    (½ to 1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine.


In a large pot, bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the salt. For thicker mamaliga intended for solidifying, use the 7 cups water; for softer porridge similar to polenta, increase the water to 8 cups. Using a long wooden spoon or whisk, in a slow, steady stream, stir in the cornmeal, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. It can take up to 10 minutes to add all the cornmeal. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is creamy and thick and begins to pull away from sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. For softer Mamaliga, stir in the butter and serve warm. For firm Mamaliga, remove from the heat, dip a wooden spoon into cold water, and use it to scrape the Mamaliga from the sides and toward the center of the pot. Place the pot over medium heat and let stand without stirring until the steam loosens the Mamaliga from the bottom, 1 to 3 minutes Pour the hot Mamaliga onto a large wooden board, at least 18 inches in diameter, an inverted large baking sheet, or a large serving platter. Spread into a rectangle 1/2 to 1 inch thick and let stand until set. Using thin twine or dental floss, cut into rectangles or squares. Use the slices like bread or as a bed for stew or sauce.


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