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Mamaliga Recipe You Need to Try

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A dish that captures the very essence of resourceful, humble, and wholesome Moldovan homecooking, Mamaliga has been one of the go-to staples to feed Moldovan families a hearty meal for generations.

The dish is popular in Romanian cuisine and Moldovan cuisine, along with other Eastern European and Balkan cuisines. In Moldova, everyone has a family recipe, and everyone swears theirs is the best. Here, I give you my beloved mother’s recipe.

Mamaliga Recipe

Moldovan Mamaliga Recipe

Ingredients

Mamaliga is so easy to make, but so delicious! You only need three main ingredients: water, cornmeal, and salt. Butter is optional.

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal (medium grind)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)

Note that you should use medium grind cornmeal (not fine or coarse grind). You can use coarse grind cornmeal, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time to 30-40 minutes.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – First, in a pot, over high heat, boil the water and add salt.

Step 2 – Once the water boils, turn the heat/flame to medium. And then, pour in the cornmeal slowly while mixing with a wooden spoon.

Step 3 – Keep stirring with the wooden spoon. Add the butter if you’re using any.

Step 4 – Keep stirring until the mamaliga is ready in about 10-12 minutes.

Step 5 – You’ll want to smooth out the mamaliga using the back of a spoon.

Once smoothed out, the mamaliga in the pan should look similar to this.

Step 6 – Turn the fire off. Put the lid on. Leave it to steam for 4-5 minutes.

Step 7 – Then turn the heat high for one minute. You should hear a faint ‘pop,’ which is the bottom of the mamaliga unsticking from the bottom of the pot. Now, you can flip it.

While the mamaliga shouldn’t stick, don’t worry if a little part of it sticks to the pot! It will still taste delicious!

What to Serve Mamaliga with?

There are so many options for mamaliga sides. In our family, we serve mamaliga with grated sheep’s cheese, white farmer’s cheese, and sour cream. Many people like to serve it with ‘jumeri’ or meat or fried fish and garlic sauce.

So, an interesting fact to know is that you don’t use a knife to cut mamaliga. Instead, use a cotton string, as shown below.

Once you serve it, it’s customary to eat the mamaliga with your hands. You can take a bit of mamaliga in your hands and dip it in cheese and sour cream. Utterly delicious!

Mamaliga’s striking yellow color makes it a truly beautiful dish to lay eyes on, no matter what you pair it with. To bring heartfelt, humble Moldovan cooking into your own home, you can’t go wrong with this dish.

Mamaliga Recipe Card (Short Version, Print)

Mamaliga

4.78 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Eastern European

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal medium grind
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp butter optional

Instructions

  • In a pot, over high heat, boil the water and add the salt.
  • Once the water boils, turn the heat to medium. Pour in the cornmeal slowly while mixing with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the butter if you’re using any.
  • Keep stirring with the wooden spoon for 10-12 minutes.
  • Smooth out the mamaliga using the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pot from heat. Put the lid on the pot and leave it to steam for 4-5 minutes.
  • Put the pot back on the heat, and turn the heat to high for one minute. You should hear a faint ‘pop,’ which is the bottom of the mamaliga unsticking from the bottom of the pot. Now, you can flip it.

Recipe Notes

  • For the best results, use medium grind cornmeal (not fine or coarse grind).
  • While the mamaliga shouldn’t stick to the pot, don’t worry if a little part (or all) of it sticks! You can still salvage it! Remove it with a spoon. It will still taste delicious!
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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close up of slice of mamaliga with cheese and sour cream

Author: Doina is a content writer and strategist, originally from Chisinau, Moldova. Passionate about international food, she is eager to share more about Moldovan cuisine through her writing and inspire amateur home chefs with global recipes.

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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4.78 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Barbara Eiland

Saturday 5th of March 2022

Very good recipe! Kind of a blank canvas kind of side. So yummy with sour cream and farmers cheese