Mamaliga Cu Branza (Cornmeal Mush With Cheese)

"Mamaliga is a traditional Romanian Recipe. When one thinks of mush, it is usually unappealing. If you are familiar with and like Polenta, here is the Romanian version. We call it Mamaliga. When I was a child, my mother would serve Mamaliga, on its own, with fish, or other meats, instead of bread. It is equally good the next day, because it can be cut into pieces, and dipped into a tocana (stew) or ciorba de fasole (bean soup). The next day, Mamaliga may be served for breakfast, fried with bacon, or sausages."
photo by Rita1652 photo by Rita1652
photo by Rita1652
photo by Rita1652 photo by Rita1652
Ready In:
1hr 30mins




  • To prepare the Mamaliga, mix the cornmeal,and salt together with 1 1/2 c cold water and set it aside to soften.
  • Bring 4 cups water to a hard boil.
  • Add the cornmeal mixture to the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  • When the Mamaliga begins to thicken, cover, and cook over lower heat, for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically; do not allow Mamaliga to burn. Now you are ready for the cheese.
  • Divide the butter into 3 equal parts.
  • Divide the grated cheese into two equal parts.
  • Divide the cooked cornmeal into two equal parts.
  • To a casserole dish, add 1/3 of the butter and 1/2 of the cooked cornmeal.
  • Add an additional 1/3 of the butter, and 1/2 of the grated cheese.
  • Add second 1/2 of the cooked cornmeal, butter and cheese.
  • Top with the sour cream.
  • Bake 1 hour at 350°F.

Questions & Replies

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  1. littleturtle
    This was easy and good. Creamy and cheesy. I scaled it back to 2 servings with no problems (just added an extra 1/3 cup water to keep the cornmeal from cooking down too much and burning in step 4). It made more than enough for the three of us. Thanks for sharing.
  2. Roy A.
    My dad made it many times without what he called brinza,he was of romaine an decent but said he could not find brinza cheese in 5he u.s. If anyone knows what brinza tastes like please response said it was a sharp cheese.
  3. cooking for a crowd
    Thank you so much for posting this. I am Romanian and my GM made this all the time. Fond memories.
  4. Manami
    Hi Toolie, am way overdue in writing my review, please forgive me! I too, stopped at Step 4 - cheddar cheese just doesn't cut it for me! I thought about adding cottage cheese instead or maybe even Guyere, maybe next time. The dish that they make here with corn meal mush is Tamal en Cazuela, that the residents love - so we will continue you playing around with the Romanian version, because those are my roots, too! Thanks again for posting, Diane :=)
  5. GT in SA
    A very similar dish is often served in South Africa at barbecues, known locally as "Paptert" (pronounced "puptaert") It may also include bacon, mushrooms or any other savoury ingredients, in addition to the cheese. Popular in the central and northern regions where maize (corn) is grown but not so much in the south or east where maize is not a staple.


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