Are you looking for the secrets to easy Romanian Recipes that only the real-deal Grandmas know? I asked my Romanian friend Hexa to spend some time with her lovely Granny to get the lowdown (and steal the best of the best). We succeeded!
Here you will find the true essence of Romania through its delicious, wholesome and super tasty food. It’s an honour to be able to share with you what the traditional local ladies actually make; a big thank you to guest author Hexa for persuading her Grandma to share everything.
Below you will find recipes for Vegetarian Quince Stew, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Bean Spread, Ciorba de Perișoare (Meatball soup), Sarmale cu varză acră (Meat rolls with sour cabbage), Grandma’s Special Pancakes (yum) andm Griș cu lapte (Semolina with Milk).
Let’s get cooking!
Quinces are a fruit which is not frequently found in western food recipes. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it outside of a menu in a Romanian restaurant or in my Grandma’s kitchen. Nevertheless, this unusual ingredient is one that is well-loved in my family and by many other Romanians.
Note from my Grandma’s recipe book: “At my mother’s house we used to eat delicious sauces made with apples, black cherries, and gooseberries, alongside boiled beef or poultry. When I moved down south, I started making quince stew as well.”
This dish can be served hot or cold, as a dish on its own or as a side for meat dishes.
Note from mom: this food always tastes better the next day after it’s been cooked.
A favorite not only in Romanian cuisine, but also featured in many other European recipes, stuffed bell peppers are a delicious traditional food served at many special occasions, but also for an average, normal Romanian dinner with the family.
Note from grandma’s recipe book: “Although this is a food eaten during the Summer, when all the ingredients are fresh, I remember my mother had the habit of preserving adequately sized bell peppers, either by putting them in a jar with water and aspirin, or by drying them out, and later freezing them. Now you can buy them in any season”.
For a thicker sauce, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch diluted in half a cup of water towards the end of the cooking time, and let boil for another few minutes.
Serve with fresh dill and parsley, as well as sour cream or yogurt. You may also add a little bit of extra sugar to complement the taste of the tomatoes and the bell peppers.
There’s a whole slew of Romanian recipes that include beans. This particular one is great because it makes for a lovely side dish or an easy spread to eat as as midnight snack.
Bean Spread can be served hot or cold, and works great as a spread or dip to be eaten with bread.
This is the popular Romanian meatball soup. If you haven’t heard of it before, that’s alright. But I can promise that once you’ve tried it, you’ll be coming back for more. This is one of my all-time favorite typical Romanian foods, and one of the best soup recipes out there.
Serve the soup with freshly chopped lovage on top, and sour cream to taste
The famous Romanian sarmale, or cabbage rolls, are the one dish you absolutely cannot miss when visiting Romania. If you were to ask me, “What is Romania’s favorite dish?” this would be my answer. A must for Christmas in Romania, this Romanian recipe is one that you simply cannot do without if you’re going to learn to cook Romanian food. These are always made with a lot of love and care by the head lady of the family, so I hope this recipe helps you do us proud.
Serve with sour cream!
Grandma sometimes puts the sarmale in the oven for a while after removing them from the pot.
This dish does not quite fall into the realm of Romanian desserts. In fact this is more of a French recipe, so if you catch yourself wondering, what is uniquely Romanian about this dish, the answer is nothing. This pancake recipe is my grandma’s version of a French crepe. In Romanian they are known as “clătite”—a thin pancake with no sugar in the batter, so that it can be served with either sweet or salty fillings.
These pancakes can be served with jam, honey, chocolate spread, bananas, maple syrup, or really anything your heart desires. Unlike American style pancakes, these are best eaten as rolls. For a delicious salty filling, use “urdă” and fresh dill. Urdă is a type of cheese curd that is light, creamy, and usually unsalted. My grandma makes a type of “pie” which is really just multiple layers of crepes, urdă and dill all on top of each other. It’s delicious.
This is a favorite among simple Romanian dessert recipes you can easily make at home. I confess, I had never heard the term “semolina” before translating it from Romanian, but it’s a type of porridge made from a coarse wheat powder that doesn’t quite count as flour.
Note from grandma’s recipe book: “The children ate this with great pleasure when they were very little. I mixed their baby formula powder into rice water (the water that’s left over after boiling rice). When they were older I started making a thinner version of semolina with milk. When they were even bigger, I started making the semolina thicker.”
Other toppings such as jam or honey may also be used instead of cocoa powder
Being in the kitchen with my Grandma was so much fun. It was a pleasure to go through these Romanian recipes with her and hear about her special tips. I hope you enjoy the pages I copied from her recipe book. Isn’t her handwriting beautiful?
Do you have any more Romanian recipes that you would like to share? Make sure to comment below and discover more destinations in Europe with me.