If you can boil water, you are half down in the recipe and you can whip up a superb Mamaliga (aka maliga in Moldova,or polenta as probably known more widely). There isn’t much science that goes into it. The creative input comes when you decide what to garnish it with (or use it as a garnish to a main dish).
The mamaliga in Moldova is coarser and heavier in texture, used for centuries to substitute bread. Polenta is finer and creamier in texture, and it takes longer to boil. Now, the word "vegetarian" is not in most people's vocabulary when it comes to eating mamaliga. Traditionally it is served with rich meat sauces and bites of deep fried fatty pork (my hands are a bit shaky writing down those in this post ;)). Even the mozarella (brinza inchegata) is traditionally made using rennet...
This picture was taken impromptu, a few years back when I was visiting my family in Moldova.
Clockwise top- garlic sauce (mujdei), hot melted butter, sour cream over cottage cheese, shredded feta (Moldovan one is made of sheep milk and rennet ???not good) and mashed garlicky white beans. The meat is missing (but not missed)-.
This is one one my recent creations, after roaming half of Austin's supermarkets to find the right corn flour... As I said, polenta is too fine (and man, ridiculously expensive!), and the corn flour here is fit for finer cakes and muffins...
My mom has a trick for slicing it so it cuts through finely without ruining the shape: She uses a thin, clean sewing thread, holds it with both hands, runs the thread under the
So what happens next day? Back home it is the chickens feasting on leftovers. I have no chickens here and thanks goodness for that! (but I have squirells). I slice any cold mamaliga leftover and bake it. Or fry it. Or share it with the squirells.
Here is the mamaliga (polenta) and mozarella cheese bake (checked the label, no rennet;) I made a few weeks back:
One more thing: Serve it with a good full bodied red wine!