• Cooking and Prep: 30 m
  • Serves: 3
  • Contains:

This recipe comes from my mother, who still remembers her own mother standing over the stove and carefully stirring it for 20 minutes or more to make sure it was velvety smooth. For a more solid mamaliga (as pictured) cook it for a longer period, then spread it out on a board and cut into slices. Mamaliga is a lot more than the Jewish or Rumanian spin on polenta. It’s the ultimate comfort food, soft as a mother’s embrace, warm as a baby’s blanket. In Rumania, mamaliga was eaten round the clock. In the early 20th century, immigrants brought it to the US and sang about it in the Yiddish theatre. It’s meatless and intensely nostalgic.

Ingredients (5)

Main ingredients

Start Cooking

Prepare the Mamaliga

  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the water, milk, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.

  2. Gradually add in the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid any lumps. Continue stirring for 10 to 15 minutes until you have achieved the consistency of a thick pudding. You can add more water if it feels too thick.

  3. Season with salt. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream. To reheat, stir in a bit more water or microwave.


Mamaliga will freeze well.

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