Exotic ingredients in Romanian traditional cuisine

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There are still places throughout Romania where traditional agriculture develops organically without the help of artificial fertilizers. People have learned to produce everything they need on their own and never depend on supermarkets. Unwritten recipes passed from generation to generation make Romanians cook exquisite dishes.

Tens and even hundreds of years ago, quinces and pears got into soups, nettles turned into vegetable balls and the common pumpkin flowers seasoned omelets. This happens mainly in the communities of Rodnei Mountains, where housewives use plants as their personal store room. A century ago, rural housewives had to improvise in the kitchen to provide hot meals to their families.

Moreover, in villages near Rodnei Mountains, mushrooms, ‘champignons’, are used in the kitchen for decades and they are called a little less exotic ‘oite’ or ‘ciuperci de balegar’(manure mushrooms).

Based on information provided by biologist Claudiu Iusan, Adevarul unveils a list of the most unusual eight food ingredients that people use for cooking:

  • Grapes, pears, raspberries and quinces are used as main ingredients in soups;
  • Watercress (nasturel) is used in salads;
  • Nettles are cooked as vegetable balls;
  • Cranberries serve as base for gravy;
  • Chestnuts turn into cream soup;
  • Pumpkin flowers next to salt and pepper season omelets;
  • Touch-me-not (Slabanogul), though a medicinal herb, is also used for soup in Rodnei Mountains;
  • Thyme – seasons goulash, along with penny buns (Boletus edulis, hribi in Romanian) and the ‘champignon’ in Rodnei Mountains.

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