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Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine, while it also includes influences from the cuisines of other neighbours, including German, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian cuisine.
There are quite a few different types of dishes, which are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorbă de burtă) and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, vinegar, or borş (traditionally made from bran). The category ţuică (plum brandy) is a generic name for a strong alcoholic spirit in Romania, while in other countries, every flavour has a different name.
Ancient history 1.1
- Dacian cuisine 1.1.1
- Roman influence 1.1.2
Middle ages 1.2
- Ottoman influence 1.2.1
- Ancient history 1.1
- Description 2
List of dishes 3
- Soups 3.1
- Meat 3.2
- Fish 3.3
- Vegetables 3.4
- List of salads 4
- List of cheeses 5
- List of desserts 6
- List of drinks 7
- See also 8
- Notes and references 9
- Other sources 10
- External links 11
In history of Romanian culinary literature, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu are the compilers of a cookbook ″200 reţete cercate de bucate, prăjituri şi alte trebi gospodăreşti″ (200 tried recipes, pastries and other household things) printed in 1841. Also, Negruzzi writes in "Alexandru Lăpuşneanu": "In Moldavia at this time, fine food wasn't fashioned. Greater feast could have included few courses. After Polish borş, Greek dishes follow, boiled with herbs floating in butter, after that, Turkish pilaf, and finally cosmopolitan steaks".
Cheese was known since Ancient history. Brânză is the generic word for cheese in Romanian. This word is from Dacian. In addition to cheese, Dacians ate vegetables (lentils, peas, spinach, garlic) and fruits (grapes, apples, raspberries) with high nutritional value.
The Dacians produced wine in massive quantities. Once Burebista, a Dacian king, angered by the wine abuse of his warriors, cut the vines; his people gave up drinking wine. Legend says that the Dacian people created their own beer. As a result, beer was made by Romanians.
With the Romans, there was a certain taste, rooted in the centuries for the perfect pastry made from cheese, including alivenci, pască, or brânzoaice. The Romans introduced porridge, where different variations of millet porridges were formed.
Maize and potatoes became staples of Romanian cuisine after their introduction to Europe. Maize in particular contributed to an increase in nutrition level and health of the Romanian population in the 16th and 17th centuries, resulting in a population boom.
For 276 years, Romania was under the rules of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman cuisine changed the Romanian table with appetizers made from various vegetables, such as eggplant and bell peppers, as well as various meat preparations, such as chiftele (deep-fried meatballs, a variation of kofta) and mici (short sausages without casings, usually barbecued). The various kinds of ciorbă/borş (sour soups) and meat-and-vegetable stews, such as iahnie de fasole (beans), ardei umpluți (stuffed peppers), and sarmale (stuffed cabbage) are influenced by Turkish and Arab cuisine. The beloved Romanian tomato salad is a variation of the Lebanese dish fattoush. There is a unique procession of sweets and pastries combining honey and nuts, such as baclava, sarailie (or seraigli), halva, and rahat (Turkish delight). These sweets are nowadays used in confectionery, such as cakes.
Romanian recipes bear the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture. The Turks have brought meatballs (perişoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is musaca, from the Austrians there is the şniţel, and the list could continue. The Romanians share many foods with the Balkan area (in which Turkey was the cultural vehicle), Central Europe (mostly in the form of German-Austrian dishes introduced through Hungary or by the Saxons in Transylvania), and Eastern Europe (including Moldova). Some others are original or can be traced to the Roman, as well as other ancient civilizations. The lack of written sources in Eastern Europe makes it impossible to determine today the punctual origin for most of them.
One of the most common meals is the mămăligă, a type of polenta, served on its own or as an accompaniment. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine, but also beef is consumed and a good lamb or fish dish is never to be refused.
Before Christmas, on December 20 (Ignat's Day or Ignatul in Romanian), a pig is traditionally sacrificed by every rural family. A variety of foods for Christmas prepared from the slaughtered pig consist of the following:
- Cârnați – garlicky pork sausages, which may be smoked or dry-cured;
- Caltaboș – an emulsified sausage based on liver with consistency from fine (pâté) to coarse;
- Sângerete (black pudding) – an emulsified sausage obtained from a mixture of pig's blood with fat and meat, breadcrumbs or other grains, and spices;
- Tobă (head cheese) – based on pig's feet, ears, and meat from the head suspended in aspic and stuffed in pig's stomach;
- Tochitură – pan-fried cubed pork served with mămăligă and wine ("so that the pork can swim");
- Piftie/răcitură – inferior parts of the pig, mainly the tail, feet, and ears, spiced with garlic and served in aspic;
- Jumări – dried pork remaining from rendering of the fat and tumbled through various spices
At Easter, lamb is served: the main dishes are borș de miel (lamb sour soup), roast lamb, and drob de miel – a Romanian-style lamb haggis made from minced offal (heart, liver, lungs) with spices, wrapped in a caul and roasted. The traditional Easter cake is pască, a pie made from yeast dough with a sweet cottage cheese filling at the center.
Romanian pancakes, called clătite, are thin (like the French crêpe) and can be prepared with savory or sweet fillings: ground meat, cheese, or jam. Different recipes are prepared depending on the season or the occasion.
Wine is the preferred drink, and Romanian wine has a tradition of over three millennia. Romania is currently the world's ninth largest wine producer, and recently the export market has started to grow. Romania produces a wide selection of domestic varieties (Fetească, Grasă, Tămâioasă, Busuioacă, and Băbească), as well as varieties from across the world (Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Muscat Ottonel). Beer is also highly regarded, generally blonde pilsener beer, made with German influences. There are also Romanian breweries with a long tradition.
According to the 2009 data of FAOSTAT, Romania is the world's second largest plum producer (after the United States), and as much as 75% of Romania's plum production is processed into the famous ţuică, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps.
List of dishes
Borş is fermented wheat bran, a souring agent for ciorbă. Borş is also used today as a synonym for ciorbă, but in the past, a distinction was made between borş and ciorbă (acritură), the souring agent for the latter being the juice of unripe fruits, such as grapes, mirabelle, or wood sorrel leaves.
- Borş de urechiuşe, wild mushroom sour soup
Ciorbă is the traditional Romanian sour soup
- Ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup), soured with sour cream
- Ciorbă de perişoare (meatball soup)
- Ciorbă de fasole cu afumătură (bean and smoked meat soup)
- Ciorbă de legume (vegetable soup)
- Ciorbă de peşte "ca-n Deltă" (fish soup prepared in the style of the Danube Delta)
- Ciorbă de praz is a leek soup
- Ciorbă de pui is a chicken soup
- Ciorbă de lobodă is a red orach soup
- Ciorbă de salată cu afumătură (green lettuce and smoked meat soup)
- Ciorbă de sfeclă, also called Borş de sfeclă or Borş rusesc
- Ciorbă ţărănească (peasant soup), made from a variety of vegetables and any kind of meat (beef, pork, mutton, chicken, fish)
- Supă (generic name for sweet (usually clear) soups, made from vegetables alone or combined with poultry and beef). The difference between Supă and Ciorbă is that the meat and most of the vegetables are removed, the resulted liquid being served with dumplings or noodles. There are also a number of sour soups, which use lemon juice as a souring agent, called Supe a la grec (Greek soups).
- rice, stuffed in a pig's casing
- Cârnaţi - a garlicky sausage, as in Fasole cu cârnaţi
- Chiftele - a type of large meatball covered with breadcrumbs or a flour crust
- Ciulama - white roux sauce used in a variety of meat dishes
- caul and roasted like a meatloaf; a traditional Easter dish
- Frigărui - Romanian-style shish-kebab
- Limbă cu măsline - cow tongue with olives
- Mititei (mici) - grilled minced meat rolls
- Grătar (usually made together with "mici") - grilled pork/beef with condiments
- Musaca - an eggplant, potato, and meat pie
- Ostropel - method of cooking chicken or duck
- Papricaş - Gulaş
- Pârjoale - a type of meatball
- Piftie - the preparation of this dish is similar to the French demi-glace. Pork stock is reduced by simmering, which is placed in containers, and spiced with garlic and sweet paprika powder. The boiled pork meat is then added, and left to cool. The cooled liquid has a gelatinous consistency.
- Pleşcoi sausages
- Sarmale - minced meat with rice, wrapped in either pickled cabbage leaves or vine leaves
- Slănină - pork fat, often smoked
- Şniţel - a pork, veal, or beef breaded cutlet (a variety of Viennese schnitzel)
- Stufat - lamb, onion, and garlic stew
- Tobă - pork sausage (usually pig's stomach, stuffed with pork jelly, liver, and skin)
- Tocană/tocaniţă - meat stew
- Tocăniţă vânătorească - venison stew
- Tochitură - a Romanian stew made from pan-fried cubed pork, served with mămăligă and wine
- Varză călită - steamed cabbage with pork ribs, duck, or sausages
- Virșli - a type of sausage made from a mixture of goat or lamb with pork
- Chiftele de peşte - fish cake
- Crap pane - breaded carp fillet
- Ghiveci cu peşte - fish stew with vegetables
- Macrou afumat - smoked mackerel fillet
- Pană de somn rasol - catfish in brine with garlic
- Plachie din peşte - ragout of river fish with vegetables
- Papricaş de peşte - fish paprikash
- Salata de icre - roe salad, traditionally made from carp, pike, or various marine fish species, called tarama, with onion
- Saramură de crap - carp in brine
- Ardei umpluţi - stuffed bell peppers
- Dovlecei umpluţi - stuffed zucchini
- Gulii umplute - stuffed kohlrabi
- Vinete umplute - stuffed eggplant
- Sarmale - stuffed cabbage rolls, also made from grape or dock leaves
- Ghiveci - vegetable stew or cooked vegetable salad, similar to the Bulgarian gjuvec and the Hungarian lecsó
- Ghiveci cǎlugăresc - vegetable stew prepared by the nuns in the monasteries
- Iahnie - beans prepared with spices and cooked until there's no more water, forming a soft sticky sauce binding the beans together
- Fasole batută - boiled beans prepared mashed and spiced with salt, black pepper, and a bit of garlic. The dish is served with diced and fried onions and tomato paste or sauce.
- Mămăligă - cornmeal mush, also known as Romanian-style polenta. Mămăligă can be served as a side dish or form the basis of further dishes, such as mămăligă cu lapte (polenta with hot milk), bulz (baked polenta with Romanian sheep cheese and sour cream), mămăliguță cu brânză și smântănă (polenta with telemea (Romanian cheese similar to feta) and sour cream), etc.
- Mâncare de mazăre - pea stew
- Mâncare de praz - leek stew
- chicken, pork, or lamb. The cooking method is very similar to risotto.
- Chifteluţe de ciuperci - chiftele made from mushrooms instead of meat
- Sniţel de ciuperci - mushroom fritter (şniţel is the Romanian spelling of the German word schnitzel (breaded boneless cutlet), but it may be used to mean any sort of fritter)
- Plăcintă aromână - pie with spinach and white cheese
- Tocană de ciuperci - mushroom stew
- Tocăniță de gălbiori - chanterelle stew
List of salads
- Ardei copţi - roasted pepper salad, with vinegar and sunflower or olive oil
Murături - method of pickling different fruits and vegetables
- Castraveţi muraţi - pickled small cucumbers
- Gogonele - pickled green tomatoes, which is the simple version of murături asortate
- Varză murată - cabbage pickled in brine, flavored with dill stalks
- Murături asortate - pickled mixed vegetables; a combination of any of the following: onions, garlic, green tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, celery, parsley roots, cauliflower, apples, quince, unripe plums, small unripe watermelons, small zucchini, and red cabbage. It is most often cured in brine (Turkish version), though it can also be cured in vinegar (German version).
- Mujdei - crushed garlic sauce
- Salată de boeuf - minced meat with boiled vegetables, mayonnaise, and a dash of mustard
- Salată de vinete - roasted and peeled eggplant, chopped onions, and salt mixed with oil or mayonnaise
- Salată orientală - potato salad with eggs, onions, and olives
- Salată de sfeclă - beet salad
- Salată de roşii - tomato salad, with sliced onions, bell peppers, and cucumber. Flavored with dill or parsley.
List of cheeses
The generic name for cheese in Romania is brânză, and it is considered to be of Dacian origin. Most of the cheeses are made from cow's or sheep's milk. Goat's milk is rarely used. Sheep cheese is considered "the real cheese", although in modern times, some people refrain from consuming it due to its higher fat content and specific smell.
- Brânză de burduf is a kneaded cheese prepared from sheep's milk and traditionally stuffed into a sheep's stomach; it has a strong taste and semi-soft texture
- Brânză topită is a melted cheese and a generic name for processed cheese, industrial product
- Brânză în coşuleţ is a sheep's milk, kneaded cheese with a strong taste and semi-soft texture, stuffed into bellows of fir tree bark instead of pig bladder, very lightly smoked, traditional product
- Caş is a semi-soft fresh white cheese, unsalted or lightly salted, stored in brine, which is eaten fresh (cannot be preserved), traditional, seasonal product
- Caşcaval is a semi-hard cheese made from sheep's or cow's milk, traditional product
- Năsal is a type of cheese with a pungent aroma, traditional product
- Penteleu, a type of Cașcaval, traditional product
- Şvaițer, industrial product ("Schweizer Käse")
- Telemea, cow's or sheep's milk white cheese, vaguely similar to feta. The traditional "Brânză de Brăila" (a type of telemea, which has become quite scarce) is spiced with Nigella Damascena seeds, which gives it a unique flavor.
- Urdă - made by boiling the whey drained from cow's or ewe's milk until the remaining proteins precipitate and can be collected, traditional product
List of desserts
- Amandine - chocolate sponge cake with almond and chocolate filling, glazed in chocolate
- Brânzoaice (Poale-n brâu moldovenești) - traditional Moldavian soft cakes filled with sweet cheese
- Chec - coffee cake
- Clătite - pancakes
- Colivă - boiled wheat, mixed with sugar and walnuts (often decorated with candy and icing sugar; distributed at funerals and memorial ceremonies)
- Cornulețe - pastries filled with Turkish delight, jam, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, walnuts, or raisins, with the shape representing a crescent
- Covrigi - pretzel
- Cozonac - a kind of Stollen made from leavened dough, into which milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and other ingredients are mixed together before baking
- Cremă de zahăr ars
- Gogoşi - literally "doughnuts", but more akin to fried dough
- Griş cu lapte
- Joffre cake - invented at the Casa Capşa restaurant in Bucharest
- Lapte de pasăre - literally "bird's milk", vanilla custard garnished with "floating islands" of whipped egg whites
- Mucenici/sfințișori - sweet pastries (shaped like "8", made from boiled or baked dough, garnished with walnuts, sugar, or honey, eaten on a single day of the year, on 9 March)
- Orez cu lapte
- Papanași - a kind of doughnut made from a mixture of sweet cheese, eggs, and semolina, boiled or fried and served with fruit syrup or jam and sour cream
- Pelincile Domnului
- Plăcintă - pie
- Prăjituri - assorted pastries
- Rahat - Turkish delight
- Salam de biscuiţi - literally "salami of biscuits", with biscuits, chocolate, Turkish delight, and rum essence. It's cyndrical shape resembles a sausage, hence the name.
- Savarine - savarina
- Şarlotă - a custard made from milk, eggs, sugar, whipped cream, gelatin, fruits, and ladyfingers; from the French Charlotte
- Tort - cake
- Turtă dulce - gingerbread
List of drinks
- Afinată - blueberry liqueur
- Ceai - prepared in the form of either various plant tisannes (cammomille, mint, tilly flower, a.s.o.) or common black tea, called ceai rusesc in Romanian, which is Russian tea usually served during breakfast.
- Horincă is a plum brandy, produced near the border with Ukraine
- Must - the grape juice in the fermentation process that hasn't become wine yet.
- Pălincă is a strong, double-distilled plum brandy, produced in Transylvania
- Pelin de mai is a wine specialty, usually produced in the spring, flavored with Artemisia dried plants
- Rachiu is a fruit brandy. Even though "rachiu" can be made from any fruit (except plums), "țuică" is reserved exclusively to brandy made from plums.
- Rachiu de tescovină is a pomace brandy produced from grapes that have been used in wine production, very similar to the Italian grappa
- Secărică is a caraway fruit flavored vodka, similar to the German kümmel
- Sirop - syrup made from fir tree, pine, buckthorn, blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry with different types of honey or sugar
- Socată is a non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented elderflower (Sambucus nigra)
- Şliboviţă is a plum brandy, produced near the border with Serbia
- Turţ is a strong, double-distilled plum brandy, named after the village of Turţ in northwestern Romania
- Ţuică is a plum brandy
- Vişinată is a sour cherry liqueur
- Zmeurată is a raspberry liqueur
Notes and references
- Bogdan Ulmu: Retete de la Kogalniceanu & Negruzzi | Bucatarescu
- ″Lumea″ nr 17,1946,p 1,Art:O carte de bucate, G. Călinescu
- "Alimentația la daci", Dracones.ro
- Strabo, Geography, VII:3.11
- or Ignat's Day (December 20)Ignatul
- Christmas customs in Romania: "pig's ritual sacrifice"
- drobMaking lamb
- drob de mielTraditional recipe for , with step-by-step photos
- A photo of pasca
- Pasca recipe
- Educations.com/Study in Romania
- "Final 2009 Data". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
- Ţuica production consumed 75% of Romanian plums in 2003
- Ghiveci: Romanian vegetable stew
- Recipe for ghiveci
- "Poale-n brâu" history and recipe
- on displayCovrigi
- gogoşiVarieties of : photos and recipes (Romanian)
- Mucenici: background and recipe
- Recipe for savarina
- Nicolae Klepper, Taste of Romania, Hippocrene, New York, 1999, ISBN 978-0-7818-0766-1, ISBN 0-7818-0766-2
- Romanian Cuisine
- Manger à l’orientale en Roumanie