Mamaliga is a cornmeal mush served in many ways.

The dish is popular in Romania / Moldova / and Georgia.

Nasreddin /msged me to say "mamaliga originates from the Caucasus, where it is used as a bland dish to reduce the effect of spicy foods." "Mamalyga is a sort of integral part of Georgian cooking (like grits to the other Georgia)." (Mamalyga is an alternate spelling.)

I had my first inkling of it in 1974...published in a monthly magazine, along with several other intriguing “ethnic” recipes. This recipe especially caught my eye.

Doing a bit of googling for this w/u I picked up some background on this dish, but it is confusing. Since Nasreddin is a student of Russian history, I'm believing him or her.

Like North American cornbread or Italian polenta, mamaliga recipes vary from cook to cook. The central theme seems to be cooking of the cornmeal in a hot liquid until it is thick, like porridge. After that the variations abound. It is served as a main dish or a side dish; commonly with sour cream, milk, cheese, meat, salted fish or egg.

The recipe I use seems to be a bit dressed up and Americanized in comparison to the googled results but it is the one I plan to share here as it is the one I know and love. The internet sources speak of more simple forms of mamaliga or mamalyga. Often it is just a maize mush cooked long enough to thicken and hold the shape of the pan. It may be eaten hot or cold; alone or as part of another dish. I think the "pudding" part in the recipe below was something the magazine added and is from the folded in egg whites, which lightens the dish and is not the usual. Or the "pudding" could have been added simply to make it sound familiar, like bread pudding.

Mamaliga Pudding – serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

Cooking Method

  • preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  • butter an 8 inch cake pan, pie pan or iron skillet
  • cook the cornmeal in the 2 cups of milk until thick like a mush. A wire whisk is helpful to stir and minimize lumps. If cooking on the stovetop constant stirring is needed. If cooking in a microwave stir every 2 minutes or so.
  • allow a few minutes to cool from “hot” to “very warm”
  • add the additional milk, oil and baking powder first.
  • add the egg yolks.
  • fold in the beaten egg whites
  • pour half the mixture in the pan
  • top with crumbled feta cheese
  • pour last half of the mixture over the cheese
  • dot butter on the surface
  • Bake for 1 hour (325 degrees)
  • cut into 4 – 6 pieces
  • serve with sour cream, Parmesan cheese and a fried egg.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • serve with a simple salad

Ingredients from Apartment Living magazine, Sept 1974 issue, Cooking Method from years of experience (and written in my own words therefore copyright compliant)

Googled sources yielding little peeks:
mybalkan.host.sk/Romania.htm (great photos here!)
www.awr.org/global-glimpse-romania2.html
www.settlement.org/cp/english/romania/eating.html
http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-790512-romania_restaurant_meals-i
www.itisnet.com/english/e-ce/e-romania/e-romania2.htm
www.romaniatravelcentre.com/romanian_life.shtml
http://forums.egullet.com/show.php/act/ST/f/12/t/5025
www.didyouknow.cd/kids/romania.htm
http://www.moldova.4pla.net/page.php?pg=5

Special thanks to Nasreddin


UPDATE:
ring_wraith says...made your mamaliga recipe. Expected cornbread, but was more souffle-ish, what with the egg-whites. Very nice.

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