Simple by itself - Mămăligă cu magiun



I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was "mamaliga", and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call "impletata".(from Dracula by Bram Stoker).

Polenta  by  Pietro Longhi

So funny! My ancestors' mămăliga appeared in literature as a main dish consumed by the vampire Dracula! Bram Stoker written about it. Jules Verne and Roger Vercel too. And, who knows who else has done it ?
Mămăliga is a kind of yellow maize flour porridge. It is a traditional food in Romania and Moldova and, it's similar to the Italian polenta.
Aside of that, other Romanian dishes, simple through the simplicity of the ingredients , come and fulfill the need of the Romanians to eat in this period of time, before Easter. And not only them. And not only now. 
Historically, till the 16th century, mămăliga was made from  millet flour. After the maize arrival into the Europe, the history of mămăliga has been completely rewritten.
Romanians,as a people, have a peasant background, that's why, mămăliga was like a pattern food in- and for the poor rural areas. In this way, the corn has also become one of the most important food, especially in the fight against famine from the 17th and 18th centuries.
We honestly can say that, mămăliga is a peasant food but, in the last decades,it has become a dish cooked in the most famous restaurants and, a main dish also on almost every Romanian table.

How mămăliga can be done ?

An old recipe (from the heart of The Apuseni Mountains) says: 
"Put salty water to boil, add maize flour, allow to boil for 10 minutes not stirring in it; make with mestecătoarea* (melesteul**) a hole in the middle of the flour that has not be cooked yet; another 10-15 minutes longer leaves without stirring in; crack  a cross with melesteul** on the surface of the flour and leave all again to boil for 25 minutes ( not stirring in). 
Only now, you can start to mix in mămăliga, turning with melesteul** on the cauldrons' edges all the mixture until not any lumps remain in."
At the final, all will depend on everybody's skills or knowledges but, the mixture should be thick and the cornmeal cooked ( few directions: 5-6 cups of water, 1-2 teaspoons salt, 2 cups of yellow cornmeal).

Mamaliga with magiun


Today meal is Mămăligă with magiun***. A simple, tasty and a nice colored one. On a piece of mămăligă just lay a tbs or two of magiunNothing more. Nothing complicated.
Being a fat-free, cholesterol-free, high-fiber food, mamaliga can be used as a healthy alternative to more refined carbohydrates(white bread, pasta or hulled rice). 


'Magiun'  or ...a very thick sugar-free plum jam


Somebody said few words about it and, I think that's the entire meaning and the symbolism of this common and ordinary dish, credited as being a national Romanian dish: "Once you learnt to enjoy mămăliga, there is no going back. It is a ... one way trip."



Legend: 
*mestecatoarea= a special rolling pin, used in kitchen for making mamaliga
**melesteu= the same with mestecatoarea
***magiun = a very thick sugar free plum jam, made it in the middle of autumn from sweet and big plums.

Enjoy! 

   



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