Well, I saw a gap in the European section of my food map and Moldova was a perfect country to fill it in. Truth be told, I don’t know too much about this small nation in Eastern Europe. Going from the flag and the position, the assumption that I made was that this frontier is somehow a mixture of Romanian and former Soviet traditions. Having done some research, it’s gratifying to know that I wasn’t too far off.
The food of Moldova derives from the many different conquered that they gave had over time. This means that their most recent culinary influence comes from Russia, but you also have influences from the Ottomons, the Greek the Ukranians from way back when. This is a similar invasion grouping to its neighbour Romania, which means that a lot of the food you find in Moldolvan food lists can also be found in Romanian ones – so I went for a dish that is classed as the national dish as well as a street food style spin off.
There are a number of foods that I could have picked that I think I would like to make for other neighbouring countries. Specifically I really would like to make borscht and cabbage rolls. The former should be fine, but for the cabbage rolls I really need to get me to an Eastern European market so I can get hold on some pickled cabbage leaves.
Sometimes a national dish is full of bells and whistles that make it a devil to make. Then there is Moldova, whose national dish is their version of polenta or cornmeal porridge. It’s one of those staple foods that you see in so many countries, that it is interesting to see somewhere elevate it to the level of national dish. Also helps that I actually love eating polenta and like to get the opportunity to make it.
To make sure that I made it the proper way, and not some Italian way, I followed the directions from The Spruce Eats down to serving it with sour cream and cheese. As a main dish it’s an easy one to make and, on the surface, it’s remarkably simple but everything fits together remarkably well. Like, this is something I can easily roll out on a moment’s notice and still have a hearty meal. Would be nicer with some bacon… maybe.
As the main dish was so simple, I was looking for something else I could make. Seeing that I am one of those people who has three different grinds of cornmeal (coarse, fine and arepa-grade) I had all that I needed to make these salami filled mamaliga balls. Well, once I bought the salami.
Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and with the fat of the sausage softened by the fryer, these balls (again, by The Spruce Eats) are the slightly more gourmet Eastern European version of corn dogs. Delicious and something that I can see me making should I ever host a Eurovision pot luck and need to make something for Romania or Moldova.
Since it took me so long to get to cooking food from the Philippines the time has come once again to make something Asian. Like with this week’s pick of Moldova, I have looked at the map and figured that the best place to look would be in the vicinity of Iran, Iraq or Kuwait. I guess that it will depend on how much time I have to spend on lunch as, for one of them, I have the idea to make bread.