Wheat Free Gluten Free Foods of Romania

by Kim
(Chicago, IL)

My husband is Romanian and since I was just diagnosed with a wheat allergy, I am diving into his family recipe bag.

As a culture, they typically only eat wheat in bread. They are not big pasta people (like my Italian side). Polenta prevails, and when it's served with melted cheese in the middle, can be a meal in and of itself. They call it Mămăligă.

Romanians are big potato eaters. Not to the extent of the Irish, but close runner ups. In fact, pork & potatoes might be the staple signature foods there (from my experience).

They make a hyped up meat salad called Salata de Beouf. Although you would think it's always beef, most of the time I've gotten it, they've made it with chicken (which I prefer!) It does have mayo, but you can make your own or find g-free. It's chopped up meat, peppers, potatoes, and peas with mayo. Some people add pickles.

Another famous dish is Sarmale. It's Romanian stuffed cabbage leaves (and peppers). They use pork & beef and rice with spices like dill and serve with sour cream. It's quite good and very filling.

I haven't found a g-free staple Romanian dessert yet- but I will surely be looking!


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    Pat's comments:

    Thanks so much for letting us know about these gluten free Romanian foods, Kim

    I find Mămăligă especially interesting. I've learned that the peasant version is a thick polenta that can be prepared in many ways, sometimes with milk, butter, cheese or meats. Nowadays it can be found even in upscale restaurants.

    It is often used like a bread, similar to the Mieliepap of South Africa. It is also traditional in The Ukraine (Мамалига), Russia (Мамалыга), Poland (Mamałyga), Hungary (puliszka), and Bulgaria (kachamak).

    Dishes inspired by Mămăligă include bulz–balls of mămăligă filled with cheese and baked, and balmos which is a traditional food of shepherds: boiled in sheep's milk with all kinds of things added to make a meal.

    But what's really interesting is that, although Mămăligă is now made with corn (maize), before corn was brought back from America the dish was still wheat free and gluten free: it was made with millet.

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Sep 17, 2015
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Mar 03, 2014
by: julie

My husband is also Romanian and I happen to love the food. Do you have any gfree recipes you have devised? I would be interested in seeing the actual recipe. I have been able to come up with my own gfree recipes for snitzel, cornulete (sp?), dairy free mashed potatoes, stuffed cabbage, carne de mici, soupa, and a few others. I also have the original recipes for kiefle cu mac sau nunca from my mother in law. I haven't been brave enough to try those recipes yet as i am horrible when it comes to baking gfree bread.

Other food which are generally safe include a spread made of eggplant. It is good on bread, toast, or crackers. Schar.com also has a list of locations were their products are sold. Gfree bread and pasta is available in many of the major cities. I also found a site for a company in Buchuresti for mail order flours and some sweets.

If you have any specific recipes, i would love to hear from you. My blog is juliesspoonfulofsugar.wordpress.com. I believe i have the snitzel recipe there as well as a few german recipes which are similiar to Romanian.

Jan 02, 2011
Gluten Free in Eastern Europe
by: Karen

I ran across mămăligă in a restaurant when I was in Romania recently and really enjoyed it. I love polenta but didn't expect to find a traditional version of it in Eastern Europe.

I will look for the Salata de Beouf next time. I tend to ignore things I think contain beef, and didn't expect that it might contain chicken!

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