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, including German, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian cuisine.
There are quite a few different types of dishes, which are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe (ciorbă de burtă) and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, vinegar, or borș (traditionally made from bran). The category țuică (plum brandy) is a generic name for a strong alcoholic spirit in Romania, while in other countries, every flavour has a different name.
Romanian cuisine Wikipedia
In the history of Romanian culinary literature, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu were the compilers of a cookbook "200 rețete cercate de bucate, prăjituri și alte trebi gospodăreşti" (200 tried recipes, pastries and other household things) printed in 1841. Also, Negruzzi writes in "Alexandru Lăpușneanu": "In Moldavia, at this time, fine food wasn't fashioned. The greatest feast only offered a few types of dishes. After the Polish borş, Greek dishes would follow, boiled with herbs floating in butter, after that, Turkish pilaf, and finally cosmopolitan steaks".
Cheese was known since ancient history. Brânză 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 down the vines; his people gave up drinking wine. Legend says that the Dacian people created their own beer. With the Romans, there was a certain taste, rooted in the centuries, for the perfect pastry made from cheese, including alivenci, pască, or brânzoaice. The Romans introduced porridge, where different variations of millet porridges were developed.
Maize and potatoes became staples of Romanian cuisine after their introduction to Europe. Maize, in particular, contributed to an increase in health and nutrition level of the Romanian population in the 16th and 17th centuries, resulting in a population boom.
More than four centuries, Wallachia and Moldavia, the two medieval Romanian principalities, were strongly influenced by their oriental neighbor, the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman cuisine changed the Romanian table with appetizers made from various vegetables, such as eggplant and bell peppers, as well as various meat preparations, such as chiftele (deep-fried meatballs, a variation of kofta) and mici (short sausages without casings, usually barbecued). The various kinds of ciorbă/borș (sour soups) and meat-and-vegetable stews, such as iahnie de fasole (beans), ardei umpluți (stuffed peppers), and sarmale (stuffed cabbage) are influenced by Turkish cuisine. The Romanian tomato salad is a variation of the Turkish çoban salata. There is a unique procession of sweets and pastries combining honey and nuts, such as baclava, sarailie (or seraigli), halva, and rahat (Turkish delight).
Romanian recipes bear the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture. The Turks brought meatballs (perișoare in a meatball soup), from the Greeks there is musaca, from the Austrians there is the șnițel, 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 Romans, as well as 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 mămăligă, 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 are prepared from the slaughtered pig, such as:Cârnați – garlicky pork sausages, which may be smoked or dry-cured;
Caltaboș – an emulsified sausage based on liver with the consistency of the filling ranging from fine (pâté) to coarse;
Sângerete (black pudding) – an emulsified sausage obtained from a mixture of pig's blood with fat and meat, breadcrumbs or other grains, and spices;
Tobă (head cheese) – based on pig's feet, ears, and meat from the head suspended in aspic and stuffed in the pig's stomach;
Tochitură – a stew made with pork, smoked and fresh sausage simmered in a tomato sauce and served with mămăligă and wine ("so that the pork can swim"). There are many variations of this stew throughout Romania, with some versions combining different meats, including chicken, lamb, beef, pork and sometimes even offal;
Pomana porcului—pan-fried cubed pork served right after the pig's sacrifice to thank the relatives and friends who helped with the process;
Piftie/răcitură – inferior parts of the pig, mainly the tail, feet, and ears, spiced with garlic and served in aspic;
Jumări – dried pork remaining from rendering of the fat and tumbled through various spices
The Christmas meal is sweetened with the traditional cozonac, a sweet bread made from nuts, poppy seeds, or rahat (Turkish delight).
At Easter, lamb is served: the main dishes are borș de miel (lamb sour soup), roast lamb, and drob de miel – a Romanian-style lamb haggis made from minced offal (heart, liver, lungs), lamb meat and spring onions with spices, wrapped in a caul and roasted. The traditional Easter cake is pască, a pie made from yeast dough with a sweet cottage cheese filling at the center.
Romanian pancakes, called clătite, are thin (like the French crêpe) 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 (Fetească, Grasă, Tămâioasă, Busuioacă, and Băbească), 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 țuică, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps.Borș is fermented wheat bran, a souring agent for ciorbă. Borș is also used today as a synonym for ciorbă, but in the past, a distinction was made between borș and ciorbă (acritură), the souring agent for the latter being the juice of unripe fruits, such as grapes, mirabelle, or wood sorrel leaves.
Ciorbă is the traditional Romanian sour soup
Ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup), soured with sour cream
Ciorbă de perişoare (meatball soup)
Ciorbă de fasole cu afumătură (bean and smoked meat soup)
Ciorbă de legume (vegetable soup)
Ciorbă de peşte „ca-n Deltă” (fish soup prepared in the style of the Danube Delta)
Ciorbă de praz is a leek soup
Ciorbă de pui is a chicken soup
Ciorbă de lobodă is a red orach soup
Ciorbă de salată cu afumătură (green lettuce and smoked meat soup)
Ciorbă de sfeclă, also called Borș de sfeclă or Borș rusesc
Ciorbă de urechiuşe, wild mushroom sour soup
Ciorbă moldovenească de găină is a hen sour soup
Ciorbă țărănească (peasant soup), made from a variety of vegetables and any kind of meat (beef, pork, mutton, chicken, fish)
Supă (generic name for sweet (usually clear) soups, made from vegetables alone or combined with poultry and beef). The difference between Supă and Ciorbă 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).
Supă (de pui) cu găluşte (clear dumpling soup with chicken broth)
Supă (de pui) cu tăiţei (clear noodle soup with chicken broth)
Caltaboș / chișcǎ - a cooked sausage made from minced pork organs and rice, stuffed in a pig's casing
Cârnați - a garlicky sausage, as in Fasole cu cârnați
Chiftele - a type of large meatball covered with breadcrumbs or a flour crust
Ciulama - white roux sauce used in a variety of meat dishes
Ciulama de vițel - veal ciulama
Ciulama de pui - chicken ciulama
Drob de miel - a lamb haggis made from minced organs wrapped in a caul and roasted like a meatloaf; a traditional Easter dish
Frigărui - Romanian-style shish-kebab
Limbă cu măsline - cow tongue with olives
Mititei (mici) - grilled minced meat rolls
Grătar (usually made together with "mici") - grilled pork/beef with condiments
Musaca - an eggplant, potato, and meat pie
Ostropel - method of cooking chicken or duck
Papricaș - Chicken paprikash
Gulaș - Goulash
Pârjoale - a type of meatball
Piftie - the preparation of this dish is similar to the French demi-glace. Pork stock is reduced by simmering, which is placed in containers, and spiced with garlic and sweet paprika powder. The boiled pork meat is then added, and left to cool. The cooled liquid has a gelatinous consistency.
Salam, Salam de Sibiu
Sarmale - minced meat with rice, wrapped in either pickled cabbage leaves or vine leaves
Slănină - pork fat, often smoked
Șniţel - a pork, veal, or beef breaded cutlet (a variety of Viennese schnitzel)
Cordon bleu șnițel - breaded pork tenderloin stuffed with ham and cheese
Mozaic șniţel - 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.
Șnițel de pui - breaded chicken breast cutlet
Stufat - lamb, onion, and garlic stew
Tobă - pork sausage (usually pig's stomach, stuffed with pork jelly, liver, and skin)
Tocană/tocaniță - meat stew
Tocăniță vânătorească - venison stew
Tochitură - a Romanian stew made from pan-fried cubed pork, served with mămăligă and wine
Varză călită - steamed cabbage with pork ribs, duck, or sausages
Virșli - a type of sausage made from a mixture of goat or lamb with pork
Chiftele de pește - fish cake
Crap pane - breaded carp fillet
Ghiveci cu pește - fish stew with vegetables
Macrou afumat - smoked mackerel fillet
Novac afumat din Ţara Bârsei - smoked carp fillet
Pană de somn rasol - catfish in brine with garlic
Plachie din pește - ragout of river fish with vegetables
Papricaș de pește - fish papricaș
Salată de icre - roe salad, traditionally made from carp, pike, or various marine fish species, called tarama, with onion
Saramură de crap - carp in brine
Ardei umpluți - stuffed bell peppers
Dovlecei umpluți - stuffed zucchini
Gulii umplute - stuffed kohlrabi
Vinete umplute - stuffed eggplant
Sarmale - stuffed cabbage rolls, also made from grape or dock leaves
Ghiveci - vegetable stew or cooked vegetable salad, similar to the Bulgarian gjuvec and the Hungarian lecsó
Ghiveci cǎlugăresc - vegetable stew prepared by the nuns in the monasteries
Iahnie - beans prepared with spices and cooked until there's no more water, forming a soft sticky sauce binding the beans together
Fasole batută - Romanian refried beans, uses white or Cannellini beans, with the addition of olive or sunflower oil and minced garlic. The dish is traditionally served with fried onions as a garnish.
Mămăligă - cornmeal mush, also known as Romanian-style polenta. Mămăligă can be served as a side dish or form the basis of further dishes, such as mămăligă cu lapte (polenta with hot milk), bulz (baked polenta with Romanian sheep cheese and sour cream), mămăliguță cu brânză și smântănă (polenta with telemea (Romanian cheese similar to feta) and sour cream), etc.
Mâncare de mazăre - pea stew
Mâncare de praz - leek stew
Pilaf - a dish of rice, vegetables, and pieces of meat (optional). The meat is usually the offal, wings, and organs of chicken, pork, or lamb. The cooking method is very similar to risotto.
Chifteluțe de ciuperci - chiftele made from mushrooms instead of meat
Șnițel de ciuperci - mushroom fritter (șnițel is the Romanian spelling of the German word schnitzel (breaded boneless cutlet), but it may be used to mean any sort of fritter)
Plăcintă aromână - pie with spinach and white cheese
Tocană de ciuperci - mushroom stew
Tocăniță de gălbiori - chanterelle stew
Ardei copți - roasted pepper salad, with vinegar and sunflower or olive oil
Murături - method of pickling different fruits and vegetables
Castraveți murați - pickled small cucumbers
Gogonele murate - pickled green tomatoes, which is the simple version of murături asortate
Varză murată - cabbage pickled in brine, flavored with dill stalks and beetroots for red colour.
Murături 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), though it can also be cured in vinegar (German version).
Mujdei - crushed garlic sauce
Salată boeuf - minced meat with boiled vegetables, mayonnaise, and a dash of mustard
Salată de vinete - roasted and peeled eggplant, chopped onions, and salt mixed with oil or mayonnaise
Salată orientală - potato salad with eggs, onions, and olives
Salată de sfeclă - beet salad
Salată de roșii - tomato salad, with sliced onions, bell peppers, and cucumber. Flavored with dill or parsley.
The generic name for cheese in Romania is brânză, and it is considered to be of Dacian origin. Most of the cheeses are made from 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.Brânză 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
Brânză topită is a melted cheese and a generic name for processed cheese, industrial product
Brânză în coșuleț 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
Caș is a semi-soft fresh white cheese, unsalted or lightly salted, stored in brine, which is eaten fresh (cannot be preserved), traditional, seasonal product
Cașcaval is a semi-hard cheese made from sheep's or cow's milk, traditional product
Năsal is a type of cheese with a pungent aroma, traditional product
Penteleu, a type of Cașcaval, traditional product
Șvaițer, industrial product ("Schweizer Käse")
Telemea, cow's or sheep's milk white cheese, vaguely similar to feta. The traditional "Telemea de Ibăneşti" (a type of telemea, which has become quite scarce) is spiced with Nigella damascena seeds, which gives it a unique flavor.
Urdă - made by boiling the whey drained from cow's or ewe's milk until the remaining proteins precipitate and can be collected, traditional product
Amandine - chocolate sponge cake with almond and chocolate filling, glazed in chocolate
Brânzoaice (Poale-n brâu moldoveneşti) - traditional Moldavian soft cakes filled with sweet cheese
Chec - coffee cake
Clătite - crêpes (literally: pancakes)
Colivă - boiled wheat, mixed with sugar and walnuts (often decorated with candy and icing sugar; distributed at funerals and memorial ceremonies)
Cornulețe - pastries filled with Turkish delight, jam, chocolate, cinnamon sugar, walnuts, or raisins, with the shape representing a crescent
Covrigi - pretzel
Cozonaci - a kind of Stollen made from leavened dough, into which milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and other ingredients are mixed together before baking
Cremă de zahăr ars - Crème brûlée
Gogoși - literally "doughnuts", but more akin to fried dough
Griș cu lapte
Lapte de pasăre - literally "bird's milk", vanilla custard garnished with "floating islands" of whipped egg whites
Mucenici/sfințișori - sweet pastries (shaped like "8", made from boiled or baked dough, garnished with walnuts, sugar, or honey, eaten on a single day of the year, on 9 March)
Orez cu lapte - Rice pudding
Pandișpan - Sponge cake
Papanași - 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
Plăcintă - pie
Prăjituri - assorted pastries
Rahat - Turkish delight
Salam din biscuiți - literally „salami of biscuits", made from biscuits, chocolate, Turkish delight, and rum essence. The cylindrical shape resembles a sausage, hence the name.
Savarine - savarina
Șarlotă - a custard made from milk, eggs, sugar, whipped cream, gelatin, fruits, and ladyfingers; from the French Charlotte
Tort - cake
Tort Joffre - Joffre cake - invented at the Casa Capșa restaurant in Bucharest
Turtă dulce - gingerbread
Afinată - blueberry liqueur
Ceai - prepared in the form of either various plant tisanes (chamomile, mint, tilly flower, etc.) or common black tea, called ceai rusesc in Romanian, which is Russian tea usually served during breakfast.
Horincă is a plum or apple brandy, produced in the northern part of the country (Maramureș)
Must - the grape juice in the fermentation process that hasn't become wine yet.
Pălincă is a strong, double-distilled fruit brandy (especially plum, but also apple, apricots, peach, pear etc.) produced in Transylvania
Pelin de mai is a wine specialty, usually produced in the spring, flavored with Artemisia dried plants
Rachiu is a fruit brandy. Even though "rachiu" can be made from any fruit (except plums), "țuică" is reserved exclusively to brandy made from plums.
Rachiu de tescovină is a pomace brandy produced from grapes that have been used in wine production, very similar to the Italian grappa
Secărică is a caraway fruit flavored vodka, similar to the German kümmel
Sirop - prepared with syrup made from fir tree, pine, buckthorn, blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry, with different types of honey or sugar
Socată is a non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented elderflower (Sambucus nigra)
Șliboviță is a plum brandy, produced in the Banat region.
Turț is a strong, double-distilled plum brandy, named after the village of Turţ in northwestern Romania
Țuică is a plum brandy
Vișinată is a sour cherry liqueur
Zmeurată is a raspberry liqueur