Mamaliga: The Traditional Family Cornmeal Mush
Mamaliga (pronounced in my family as mamma-legga and lovingly referred to by my boyfriend as “cheesy cream of wheat”) is the Eastern European version of polenta. In the Babitz Family, once of Russia, now of California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey it is simply cornmeal mush with munster cheese. As today is my birthday (whoo!) I thought it fitting to share a staple of my childhood and my ancestry. It is fairly easy to make, appealing to children, and cheap! This recipe went through my mother first- just to make sure I didn’t mess up either the dish or the origins.
1c. fine ground cornmeal
1c. cold water
3c. boiling water
6 oz. of grated “monster” (munster) cheese
In the top of a double boiler set over rapidly boiling water whisk together cornmeal and cold water until combined, gradually add the boiling water, stirring constantly. Once fully combined, cover mixture and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. Then the consistency is that of thick cream of wheat, or runny polenta, take off of the heat.
Add grated munster, salt, pepper and paprika.