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Food Glossary and Food Terms in Romania


Balmos: boiled cheese balls.

Bors or Borsh de Miel: sour soup (like Russian Borsch) with pieces of lamb.

Branza de Burduf: cheese flavored with pine.

Budinca: rich steamed puddings made with eggs, meat and/or vegetables, cut in squares to serve.

Cartofi: potatoes.

Cas: unsalted country cheese.

Ciorba: soups that may be made with meat and/or vegetables or even just grains. Characteristic is the sour taste created with the addition of vinegar or the fermented juices of fruits, grains, sauerkraut, pickles or beer.

Ciorba de Fasole: a soup of dried white beans thickened with an onion roux. Tartness comes from the addition of vinegar and sour cream.

Ciorba Pescareasca: sour fish soup.

Ciuperci: wild mushrooms.

Clatite: thin dessert pancakes served with nuts and sugar or fruit.

Coltzunash cu Smintina: cheese-filled, poached dumplings encased in noodle dough. They are served with sour cream and a sprinkle of sugar.

Dulceata: selected whole or sliced fruit preserved in a very heavy syrup. Eaten in small spoonfuls with sips of ice water, followed by Turkish coffee.

Ghiveciu: a mixture of vegetables and herbs browned first then slowly cooked or baked in one pot. Occasionally meat is a part of this dish. Top may be finished with grated cheese, or a custard of beaten eggs and yogurt. To the Romanians not only a culinary delight but a symbol of their own country: many diverse elements living in harmony and enhancing each other. The Romanian classic via the former Yugoslavia.

Gustare: just “a taste,” the term used to refer to a small appetizer.

Icre: well-seasoned carp roe mashed and blended with oil and served as an appetizer, usually with black olives. From the Greek Taramosalata.

Lapte Batut: clabbered (fermented) milk served as a beverage.

Mamaliga or Mamaliga de Aur: Romania’s “bread of gold,” her staple in good times and bad, regarded almost as a symbol of reverence and security. Mamaliga is simply cornmeal cooked in boiling salted water to a porridge. It is eaten hot or cold and in countless forms with endless combinations often making the entire meal, whether breakfast, with the addition of cream or milk, dinner with meat and gravy, or a light supper served with cottage cheese and sour cream.

Masline Frecate: an appetizer paste made of black olives, sweet butter and seasoned with chives, parsley, fennel, and pepper.

Meze or Mezelicuri: appetizers.

Mititei: ground, seasoned meat shaped into fingers and grilled.

Musaca: a casserole of potatoes layered with cubed pork or veal, topped with beaten eggs and cream and baked in the oven. Of Greek origin.

Pastrama: any smoked meat: pork, lamb, mutton, even goose.

Patricieni: similar to Mititei but even more spiced and covered with pork intestine.

Praz cu Masline: a chilled appetizer of leeks, onions, and olives cooked in garlic and olive oil.

Sarmales: ground meat and rice stuffed into cabbage sauerkraut, spinach, or grape leaves.

Supa: soup other than Bors or Ciorba.

Tocana: Hungarian stewed meat with onions and paprika.

Tzuica or Tuica: clear distillate of plums taken straight and called Apa Chiora (cross-eyed water) by country people. For those who can take it, it is considered the national drink of Romania.

Urda: cheese made from sheep’s milk.

Varza: cabbage.

Varza ala Cluj: layers of sauerkraut, meats and rice topped with sour cream.

Vinete Tocate: an appetizer prepared from cooked mashed eggplant well seasoned with garlic and served with black bread.

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