Transylvanian Recipes

There’s a recurring theme when it comes to Transylvanian cuisine. It’s simple, earthy, and utterly satisfying.

Featured in Eternal Terrain »

Ciorbă De Perisoare (Pork-and-Rice Meatball Soup)

Ciorbă_ (from the Turkish çorba) is the Romanian name for a soup that has been soured — in this case, with a generous shot of fresh lemon juice. Pork-and-rice meatballs bring savory flavor and substance to the paprika-spiced broth. See the recipe for Ciorbă De Perisoare (Pork-and-Rice Meatball Soup) »

Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă)

This traditional Romanian sweet bread studded with rum-laced candied walnuts, makes a delicious dessert, breakfast bread, or teatime snack. Romanian Walnut Panettone (Chec Cu Nucă) »

Csirkepaprikas (Chicken with Paprika)

This rustic, rib-sticking chicken stew is full of warming paprika, cumin, and chiles. Pair it with something starchy, like buttered potatoes or Romanian polenta with sour cream. See the recipe for Csirkepaprikas (Chicken with Paprika) »

Mititei (Grilled Sausages)

Small skinless sausages like these (pictured top left)are cooked on charcoal grills in Romania and in other parts of eastern Europe and the Balkans. Fragrant with garlic, paprika, and caraway, the Romanian version, called mititei, or “wee ones,” are delicious served with zesty mustard. See the recipe for Mititei (Grilled Sausages) »

Apricot Cake

This simple sour cream cake is brightened by lemon zest and dotted with ripe apricot halves that cook down to intense tangy sweetness in the oven.
Airy semolina dumplings bob in the fragrant, paprika- and caraway-spiced broth of this warming chicken soup, along with tender chunks of carrot, parsnip, and celery. See the recipe for Supă Cu Găluşte (Chicken Soup with Semolina Dumplings) »

Szekelyalmas (Pork with Apples and Cider Cream Sauce)

The recipe for tender slices of pork loin in a sumptuous cream sauce comes from Gerda Gherghiceanu, a cook in the Saxon village of Viscri. Fragrant with marjoram, a key herb in Saxon cooking, the dish gets tartness from apple cider and apple wedges and a pleasant twinge of heat from red Holland chiles. See the recipe for Szekelyalmas (Pork with Apples and Cider Cream Sauce) »

Mămăligă Cu Smăntănă (Romanian Polenta with Sour Cream)

This polenta-like pudding, a staple across Romania, has a firm texture and a briny flavor from a salty, feta-like cheese mixed in at the end of cooking. A topping of more cheese and sour cream makes this a satisfying side dish. Get the recipe for Mămăligă Cu Smăntănă (Romanian Polenta with Sour Cream) »

Tuică De Prune (Fermented Plum Brandy)

Fruit-steeped brandies like this one, common throughout Transylvania and Hungary, are easy to make at home: Plums and sugar are simply left to ferment for two weeks, and then infused into brandy. See the recipe for Tuică De Prune (Fermented Plum Brandy) »
In Transylvania, it’s not unsual to be offered a shot of homemade brandy as a gesture of hospitality upon arriving at a home or guest house. This one has a spicy caraway flavor that balances nicely with the rich walnut cake, Chec Cu Nuca. Get the recipe for Secărică (Caraway Brandy) »