Mamaliga with Shiitake Mushrooms – That Yellow Goodness

Posted in Home Made Cooking

Directly from Wikipedia: Mămăligă is a porridge made out of yellow maize flour, traditional in Romania and Moldova. It is similar to the Italian polenta.

It so happened that I am apparently the luckiest girl in the world when it comes to Mamaliga. My dad is from Moldova and my in-laws are from Romania, how lucky am I? I get to taste every possible variation of this super awesome dish! Why is it awesome?

1. It’s so basic and easy to make

2. It goes well with almost everything; try it with your favorite topping

3. It tastes so good

4. It is gluten free

5. It brings back sweet childhood memories that I love so much

Ever since I can remember myself, my dad used to make us this special Mamaliga treat. He still does, only I’m not there all the time these days. He boils the water in a special rounded iron cast pot, adds the cornmeal and stirs it with his big wooden spoon. After he’s done (and he never takes shortcuts) he turns the pot upside down on a thick wooden cutting board and lifts it up. On the board remains this magnificent Mamaliga! Yellow, round and smells so good! Then he uses a sewing string to cut it into slices because if we use a knife it’ll stick. I always take two plates; the first one is a mamaliga slice topped with sour cream, grated cheese and salt and the second is my dessert, a slice topped with sour cream and sugar! I eat Mamaliga with the same toppings until this day and I just love it. It makes me smile when the kids ask for extras like mommy, it’s like it goes without saying that you need to have two plates of Mamaliga, one as main dish and one as dessert.

After I married my husband I got acquainted with the Romanian version of Mamaliga as well. That’s when I learned that you can have it with beef stew, potatoes, feta cheese, mushrooms and basically anything that comes to mind!

A few days ago, I noticed we still have a pack of Shiitake mushrooms in the fridge. It was very obvious to me how I’m going to use it.

Mamaliga topped with Shiitake Mushrooms


Mamaliga with Shiitake Mushrooms - That Yellow Goodness
Recipe type: Main
Gluten Free, Easy and goes so good with any topping. This Cornmeal delight is one of mine and my family's favorites.
For the Mushroom Topping:
  • 6 Cups Sliced Shiitake Mushrooms (about 350gr)
  • ½ Onion – Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ Cup Hot Water
  • ½ tsp Bouillon Soup Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Wine
For the Mamaliga:
  • 2 Cups Cornmeal
  • 6 Cups Boiling Hot Water
  • ½ tbsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter
Mushroom Topping:
  1. In a wok or a wide pot, preheat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion and mushrooms for about 8-9 minutes until mushrooms soften.
  2. Add in the salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg and mix.
  3. Add in ¼ cup of the water (half of what you put aside) along with the bouillon powder and mix in.
  4. Add the remaining ¼ cup water and the wine, stir together for about 2 minutes (it will boil) and remove from heat.
  1. In a large pot, bring water to strong boil
  2. Make sure the heat is on Medium-High and gradually add in the cornmeal. Use a pitcher or a very large mug to gradually pour the cornmeal in while constantly stirring. If you don’t stir you will get lumps of cornmeal and that’s not good. You can also add in a little bit cornmeal and stir and then some more and so on. Be VERY careful because while the water is boiling with the cornmeal in it you can easily get burned.
  3. When you notice the mix is boiling and bubbling, lower to medium heat and continue stirring and adding in the remaining cornmeal.
  4. When the mix starts boiling again, lower to low heat.
  5. Stir for additional 4 minutes until cornmeal becomes a bit more solid.
  6. Add in the butter and stir until it melts.
  7. Serve on a plate with the mushrooms on top
**Be super careful preparing the mamaliga. When it boils with the cornmeal it may come in contact with any exposed skin, stick to it and cause a burn**


Mamaliga with Shiitake Mushrooms

  1. What a great combination!  I first had mamaliga when I was in Bucharest many years ago.  Actually I have been eating mamaliga all my life but I know it as polenta.  It is one of my favorite comfort foods.

    • Maya Moscovich - May 9, 2013

      I love it too Liliana. The difference between polenta and mamaliga is basically the cooking times. Polenta is cooked for a shorter time and comes out really soft, Mamaliga on the other hand is cooked a bit longer and then comes out a bit firmer. But they are both made from the same ingredients and taste wonderful.