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Jul 30, 2008 08:42 AM

What do Romanian People Eat?

Hi all,

I run a Cooking program for Seniors where they introduce healthy foods from their culture to other participants. The first person to volunteer is from Romania, and she has suggested a menu of vegetable and bean soup, Romanian beef stew (which I gather from the internet Goulash or Tocanita, with mashed potatoes and cottage cheese pie.

Unfortunately, she is not answering her phone ( I hope she's ok). We still want to go ahead with the Romanian menu, but I really want to serve an authentic meal.

Can anyone help me out with any of those recipes?

They are:

Vegetable/bean soup,
tocanita (goulash)
cottage cheese pie


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  1. See recipes for those dishes and more at Have fun!

    1. I've never cooked Romanian but I've enjoyed it in restaurants. Here are links to a NYTimes review of Acasa restaurant in queens and a link to their menu.

      The sour cream, polenta, cheese and egg dish is simple but really tasty.

      8 Replies
      1. re: kellyc96

        i am romanian. i second polenta (mamaliga to romanians) as extremely typical (served with sour cream and cheese for sure).

        sanda marin is the go-to cookbook author for romanians, kind of the romanian joy of cooking. every household has a copy. here's a link to the english translated version:

        goulash is something i think of as more hungarian (my transylvanian aunt makes it, btu not so much my mom who is from bucharest), though i'm happy to share her family goulash recipe if you'd like it. it's certainly authentic. though it's not very summery... it seems like an odd choice for a summer romanian menu.

        besides polenta, the other national dish is sarmale, sour cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice, stewed with tomatoes and served (of course) with sour cream.

        for summer i would suggest a cucumber / dill salad, an eggplant salad (similar to baba ganoush without the tahini -- also EXTREMELY common and typical and very tasty), and mititei (grilled meat dish -- great to order at parks in the summer, served with mustard... mititei are kind of like longish grilled meatballs, but there is a bit of baking soda added to the ground meat mixture so that they are lighter and fluffier than a hamburger might be.

        clatite (pretty much like crepes ) with homemade jam (apricot or sour cherry) is a pretty typical and summery dessert.

        i'm happy to give more details about some of these recipes if you're interested. make sure you get lots of dill, parsely and lovage.

        1. re: montecoretiger

          Thanks for the reply, this particular group of people does not get out much, and are not motivated by much other than food. In addition, they pay for the meal, so we definitely have to make it worth their while.

          I would love to have your recipes, particularly the cucumber/dill salad, or eggplant salad (as well as everything else, but I can't ask you to do them all!).

          Thanks again!

          1. re: beany

            cooking the eggplant salad is really similar to baba ganoush. my mom taught me to make it by roasting eggplants first -- i put them straight onto the fire on my gas burner to get a bit of smokey taste and rotate them around on the fire until all the skin is charred and black. then peel off the skin with my hands (i keep a bowl of cold water on hand so my fingers don't get burned), then put the eggplants on a cutting board on an incline and let them drip for 20-30 minutes, then chop them into smooth mushy puree (using a wooden eggplant axe -- never metal and don't use a food processor), and add lots of olive oil, lots of salt and minced onions to taste. the key really is a lot of oil and salt, much more than you would think since it all gets absorbed. i keep adding and tasting until it's delicious. sometimes my mom will use part yogurt and part olive oil for a lighter / healthier version (maybe you would want to do this since you said the meals are supposed to be healthy). onion is optional but nice. garnish with tomato slices.

            romanian cucumber salad is really very simple -- just mandolined thin cucumber rounds, lots of dill, some chopped garlic or onion slices and a simple vinaigrette, i think. i'll ask my mom if anything else goes in it.

            1. re: beany

              oh and if you want other recipes just ask!

              1. re: montecoretiger

                I persisted in calling her, and she had gone to take care of her grandson over the summer holidays. I got her recipes, but instead of the garden salad she suggested, I think the cucumber dill salad sounds delicious.

                Thanks so much!

            2. re: montecoretiger

              I hope you can help. my husband is in the Army and we were stationed in Alabama with a Romanian couple and she used to make the most wonderful egg dish and I would love the recipe but cannot find it any where. It was similar to deviled eggs with bacon but she served them stuffed side down with this wonderful sauce on top made with homemade mayo. If you know what I am refering to and have a recipe to share we would greatly appreciate it.
              Thank you

              1. re: Armywife88

                That sounds really good - I hope someone has a recipe.

                1. re: Armywife88

                  Since it sounds so good, I thought I'd research. I am not Romanian.

                  I found these links for Romanian stuffed eggs that sound like the dish you describe.

                  However, as American deviled egg recipes differ, maybe so does your friendly Romanian cook in Alabama?

                  It seems in Romanian they are called Oua Umplute (Stuffed Eggs).

                  Sometimes they add with the hard boiled yolk, some ground chicken, some add fish, some add pate, some add ground mushrooms, ground green olives, some don't turn them over, etc.

                  Seems your friend made it with bacon. Maybe you can experiment to find the flavor you liked so much with the info below?

                  Here are some recipe links (a variety)

                  (click on directions: This recipes turns the eggs over on the plate




                  And, yet another recipe (from the 17th Century), very different,
                  and search for "Stuffed eggs" (capital "S")

            3. Great thing to run a cooking group for seniors! I have spent a little time in Romania, and I ate plenty of polenta with sour cream, chicken, grilled vegetables, meat and vegetable based soups. The dinner table usually had plenty of little things to pick at like veggies and cheeses, and zuica (potent wine) of course! Delicious!