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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, such as Germans, Serbs, Bulgarians, and Hungarians.
Quite a few different types of dishes are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorb─â includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorb─â de burt─â) and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, vinegar, or traditionally bor┼č. The category ┼úuic─â (plum brandy) is a generic name for a strong alcoholic spirit in Romania, while in other countries, every flavour has a different name.
- 1 History
- 2 Ancient history
- 3 Middle ages
- 4 Description
- 5 List of dishes
- 6 List of salads
- 7 List of cheese types
- 8 List of desserts
- 9 List of drinks
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes and references
- 12 Other sources
- 13 External links
In history of Romanian culinary literature, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kog─âlniceanu are the compilers of a cookbook ÔÇ│200 re┼úete cercate de bucate, pr─âjituri ┼či alte trebi gospod─âre┼čtiÔÇ│ (200 tried recipes, pastries and other household things) printed in 1841. Also, Negruzzi writes in "Alexandru L─âpu┼čneanu": "In Moldavia at this time, fine food wasn't fashioned. Greater feast could have included few courses. After Polish bor┼č, Greek dishes follow, boiled with herbs floating in butter, after that, Turkish pilaf, and finally cosmopolitan steaks".
Cheese was known since Ancient history. Br├ónz─â 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 Romans, came a certain taste, rooted in the centuries for the pastry made with cheese, like alivenci, pasc─â, or br├ónzoaice. The Romans introduced porridge, which inspired variations of millet porridges.
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. Turkish cuisine changed the Romanian table with appetizers made of eggplant, peppers or other vegetables, as well as various meat preparations like spicy chiftele (deep-fried meatballs, a variation of kofta) and the famous mici (short sausages without casings, usually barbecued). The various ciorb─â (sour soups) and meat-and-vegetable stews, such as iahnie de fasole (beans), ardei umpluti (stuffed peppers), and sarmale (stuffed cabbage) are also of Turkish (and Arab) influence. The beloved rich (Romanian) tomato salad is a variation of the Lebanese dish. There is a unique procession of sweets and pastries combining honey and nuts, such as baklava, sarailie (serai-gli), 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 (peri┼čoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is musaca, from the Austrians there is the ┼čni┼úel, 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 or 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 m─âm─âlig─â, 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:
- C├órna╚Ťi ÔÇô sausages which may be smoked or dry-cured;
- Caltabo╚Ö ÔÇô an emulsified sausage based on liver with consistency from fine (p├ót├ę) to coarse;
- S├óngerete (black pudding) ÔÇô an emulsified sausage obtained from a mixture of pig's blood with fat and meat, breadcrumbs or other grains, and spices;
- Tob─â (head cheese) ÔÇô based on pig's feet, ears and meat from the head suspended in aspic and stuffed in pig's stomach;
- Tochitur─â ÔÇô pan-fried cubed pork served with m─âm─âlig─â and wine ("so that the pork can swim");
- Piftie or R─âcitur─â ÔÇô inferior parts of the pig, mainly the tail, feet and ears, spiced with garlic and served in aspic;
- Jum─âri ÔÇô dried pork remaining from rendering of the fat and tumbled through various spices;
At Easter, lamb is served: the main dishes are bor╚Ö de miel (lamb sour soup), roast lamb and drob de miel ÔÇô a Romanian-style lamb haggis made of minced offal (heart, liver, lungs) with spices, wrapped in a caul and roasted. The traditional Easter cake is pasc─â, a pie made of yeast dough with a sweet cottage cheese filling at the center.
Romanian pancakes, called cl─âtite, are thin (like the French cr├¬pe) 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 (Feteasc─â, Gras─â, Tam├óioas─â, and Busuioac─â), 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 ┼úuic─â, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps.
List of dishes
- Bor┼č is fermented wheat bran, a souring agent for ciorb─â. Bor╚Ö is also used today as a synonym for ciorb─â, but in the past a distinction was made between bor╚Ö and ciorb─â (acritur─â), the souring agent for the latter being the juice of unripe fruits, such as grapes, mirabelle, or wood sorrel leaves.
- Bor┼č de urechiu┼če, wild mushroom sour soup
- Ciorb─â is the traditional Romanian sour soup
- Ciorb─â de burt─â (tripe soup), soured with sour cream
- Ciorb─â de peri┼čoare (meatball soup)
- Ciorb─â de fasole cu afum─âtur─â (bean and smoked meat soup)
- Ciorb─â de legume (vegetable soup)
- Ciorb─â de pe┼čte "ca-n Delt─â" (fish soup prepared in the style of the Danube Delta)
- Ciorb─â de praz is a leek soup
- Ciorb─â de pui is a chicken soup
- Ciorb─â de lobod─â is a red orach soup
- Ciorb─â de salat─â cu afum─âtur─â (green salad and smoked meat soup)
- Ciorb─â de sfecl─â, also called Bor╚Ö de sfecl─â or Bor╚Ö rusesc
- Ciorb─â ┼ú─âr─âneasc─â (peasant soup), made with a variety of vegetables and from any kind of meat (beef, pork, mutton, fish)
- Sup─â (generic name for sweet (usually clear) soups, made out of vegetables alone or combined with poultry and beef). The difference between Sup─â and Ciorb─â 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).
- Caltabo┼č/chi┼čcăÄ - a cooked sausage made of minced pork organs and rice, stuffed in a pig's casing
- C├órna┼úi - a garlicky sausage, as in Fasole cu c├órna┼úi
- Chiftele - a type of large meatball covered with breadcrumbs or a flour crust
- Ciulama - white roux sauce used in a variety of meat dishes
- Drob de miel - a lamb haggis made of minced organs wrapped in a caul and roasted like a meatloaf; a traditional Easter dish
- Frig─ârui - Romanian-style kebabs
- Limb─â cu m─âsline - cow tongue with olives
- Mititei (mici) - grilled minced-meat rolls
- Gr─âtar (usually made together with "mici") - grilled pork/beef with condiments
- Musaca - an eggplant, potato, and meat pie
- Ostropel - method of cooking chicken or duck
- Paprica┼č - Goulash
- P├órjoale - a type of meatball
- Piftie - preparation is similar to the French demi-glace. Pork stock reduced by simmering is placed in containers, spiced with garlic and sweet paprika powder, the boiled pork meat is added, and then left to cool. The cooled liquid has a gelatinous consistency.
- Ple┼čcoi sausages
- Sl─ânin─â - pork fat, often smoked
- ┼×ni┼úel - a pork, veal, or beef breaded cutlet (a variety of Viennese schnitzel)
- Cordon bleu ┼čni┼úel - breaded pork tenderloin stuffed with ham and cheese
- Mosaic ┼čni┼úel - a specialty of Western Romania, which is two thin layers of different meats with a mushroom filling. Other vegetable fillings may be used instead of mushrooms.
- ┼×ni┼úel de pui - breaded chicken breast cutlet
- Stufat - lamb, onion and garlic stew
- Tob─â - sausage (usually pig's stomach, stuffed with pork jelly, liver, and skin)
- Tocan─â/tocani┼ú─â - meat stew
- Toc─âni┼ú─â v├ón─âtoreasc─â - venison stew
- Tochitur─â - a Romanian-style stew
- Varz─â c─âlit─â - steamed cabbage with pork ribs, duck, or sausages
- Vir╚Öli - a type of sausage made from a mixture of goat or lamb with pork
- Sarmale - minced meat with rice, wrapped in either pickled cabbage leaves or vine leaves
- Salata de icre - roe salad, traditionally made from carp, pike, or various marine fish species, called tarama, with onion
- Plachie din pe┼čte - ragout of river fish with vegetables
- Saramur─â de crap - carp in brine
- Pan─â de somn rasol - catfish in brine with garlic
- Chiftele de pe┼čte - fish cake
- Paprica┼č de pe┼čte - fish paprikash
- Crap pane - breaded carp fillet
- Ghiveci cu pe┼čte - fish stew with vegetables
- Macrou afumat - smoked mackerel fillet
- Ardei umplu┼úi - stuffed bell peppers
- Dovlecei umplu┼úi - stuffed zucchini
- Gulii umplute - stuffed kohlrabi
- Vinete umplute - stuffed eggplant
- Sarmale - stuffed cabbage rolls, also made with grape or dock leaves
- Ghiveci - vegetable stew or cooked vegetable salad, similar to the Bulgarian gjuvec and the Hungarian lecs├│
- Ghiveci căÄlug─âresc - vegetable stew prepared by the nuns in the monasteries
- Iahnie - beans that are spiced up and cooked until there's no more water, forming a soft sticky sauce binding the beans together
- Fasole batut─â - boiled beans that are mashed up, spiced with salt, pepper and a bit of garlic. It is served with diced and fried onions and tomato paste or sauce.
- M─âm─âlig─â - cornmeal mush, also known as Romanian-style polenta. M─âm─âlig─â can be served as a side dish or form the basis of further dishes, such as "m─âm─âlig─â cu lapte" (polenta with hot milk), "bulz" (baked polenta with Romanian sheep cheese and sour cream), "m─âm─âligu╚Ť─â cu br├ónz─â ╚Öi sm├ónt─ân─â" (polenta with telemea (Romanian cheese similar to feta) and sour cream), etc.
- M├óncare de maz─âre - pea stew
- M├óncare de praz - leek stew
- Pilaf - rice, vegetables, and pieces of meat (optional), often wings and organs of chicken, pork, or lamb. Cooking method is very similar to risotto.
- Chiftelu┼úe de ciuperci - chiftele made of mushrooms instead of meat
- Sni┼úel de ciuperci - mushroom fritter (┼čni┼úel is the Romanian spelling of the German word schnitzel (breaded boneless cutlet), but it may be used to mean any sort of fritter)
- Pl─âcint─â arom├ón─â - pie with spinach and white cheese
- Tocan─â de ciuperci - mushroom stew
- Toc─âni╚Ť─â de g─âlbiori - chanterelle stew
List of salads
- Ardei cop┼úi - roasted pepper salad, with vinegar and sunflower or olive oil
- Castrave┼úi mura┼úi - pickled small cucumbers
- Gogonele - pickled green tomatoes, which is the simple version of mur─âturi asortate
- Varz─â murat─â - cabbage pickled in brine, flavored with dill stalks
- Mur─âturi 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), but also in vinegar (German version).
- Mujdei - crushed garlic sauce
- Salat─â de boeuf - minced meat with boiled vegetables, mayonnaise, and a dash of mustard
- Salat─â de vinete - roasted and peeled eggplant, chopped onion, and salt mixed with oil or mayonnaise
- Salat─â oriental─â - potato salad with eggs, onions, and olives
- Salat─â de sfecl─â - beet salad
- Salat─â de ro┼čii - tomato salad, with sliced onions, bell peppers, and cucumber. Flavored with dill or parsley.
List of cheese types
The generic name for cheese in Romania is br├ónz─â, and it is considered to be of Dacian origin. Most of the cheeses are made of 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.
- Br├ónz─â 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
- Br├ónz─â topit─â is a melted cheese and a generic name for processed cheese, industrial product
- Br├ónz─â ├«n co┼čule┼ú 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
- Ca┼č is a semi-soft fresh white cheese, unsalted or lightly salted, stored in brine, which is eaten fresh (cannot be preserved), traditional, seasonal product
- Ca┼čcaval is a semi-hard cheese made with sheep's or cow's milk, traditional product
- N─âsal is a type of cheese with a pungent aroma, traditional product
- Penteleu, a type of Ca╚Öcaval, traditional product
- ┼×vai╚Ťer, industrial product (Schweizer K├Ąse)
- Telemea, cow's or sheep's milk white cheese, vaguely similar to feta. The traditional "Br├ónz─â de Br─âila" (a type of telemea, which has become quite scarce) is spiced with Nigella Damascena seeds, which give it a unique flavor.
- Urd─â - 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
- Covrigi - pretzel
- Gogo┼či - literally "doughnuts", but more akin to fried dough
- Rahat - Turkish delight
- Pl─âcint─â - pie
- Coliv─â - boiled wheat, mixed with sugar and walnuts (often decorated with candy and icing sugar; distributed at funerals and memorial ceremonies)
- Cozonac - a kind of Stollen made from leavened dough, into which milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and other ingredients are mixed
- Orez cu lapte
- Gri┼č cu lapte
- Lapte de pas─âre - literally "bird's milk", vanilla custard garnished with "floating islands" of whipped egg whites
- Crem─â de zah─âr ars
- Cl─âtite - pancakes
- Turt─â dulce - gingerbread
- Chec - coffee cake
- Papana╚Öi - 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
- ┼×arlot─â - a custard made from milk, eggs, sugar, whipped cream, gelatin, fruits, and ladyfingers; from the French Charlotte
- Pr─âjituri - assorted pastries
- Mucenici - sweet cookies (shaped like "8", made of boiled or baked dough, garnished with walnuts, sugar or honey, eaten on a single day of the year, on 9 March)
- Pelincile Domnului
- Salam de biscui┼úi - literally "salami of biscuits", with chocolate, biscuits, Turkish delight, and rum essence. Its cyndrical shape resembles a sausage, hence the name.
- Cornule╚Ťe - pastries filled with Turkish delight, jam, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, walnuts or raisins, with the shape representing a crescent
List of drinks
- Afinat─â - blueberry liqueur
- Horinc─â is a plum brandy, produced near the border with Ukraine
- P─âlinc─â is a strong, double-distilled plum brandy, produced in Transylvania
- Rachiu is a fruit brandy. Whereas "rachiu" can be made from any fruit (except plums), "╚Ťuic─â" is reserved exclusively to brandy made of plums.
- Sec─âric─â is a caraway fruit flavored vodka, similar to the German k├╝mmel
- ┼×libovi┼ú─â is a plum brandy, produced near the border with Serbia
- Socat─â is a non-alcoholic beverage made of fermented elderflower (Sambucus nigra)
- Rachiu de tescovin─â is a pomace brandy produced from grapes that have been used in wine production, very similar to the Italian grappa
- ┼óuic─â is a plum brandy
- Tur┼ú is a strong, double-distilled plum brandy, named after the village of Tur┼ú in northwestern Romania
- Vi┼činat─â is a sour cherry liqueur
- Pelin de mai is a wine specialty, usually produced in the spring, flavored with Artemisia dried plants
- Zmeurat─â is a raspberry liqueur
- Ceai - 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.
- Sirop - syrup made of fir tree, pine, buckthorn, blueberry, raspberry or strawberry with different types of honey or sugar
- Must - it is the grape juice in the fermentation process but it hasn't become wine yet.
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Notes and references
- Bogdan Ulmu: Retete de la Kogalniceanu & Negruzzi | Bucatarescu
- ÔÇ│LumeaÔÇ│ nr 17,1946,p 1,Art:O carte de bucate, G. C─âlinescu
- "Alimenta╚Ťia la daci", Dracones.ro
- Strabo, Geography, VII:3.11
- Ignatul or Ignat's Day (December 20)
- Christmas customs in Romania: "pig's ritual sacrifice"
- Making lamb drob
- Traditional recipe for drob de miel, 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.
- ┼óuica production consumed 75% of Romanian plums in 2003
- Ghiveci: Romanian vegetable stew
- Recipe for ghiveci
- Covrigi on display
- Varieties of gogo┼či: photos and recipes Invalid language code.
- Recipe for savarina
- Mucenici: background and recipe
- Nicolae Klepper, Taste of Romania, Hippocrene, New York, 1999, ISBN 978-0-7818-0766-1, ISBN 0-7818-0766-2
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