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Welcome to the page dedicated to Moldovan food. I wanted to make this page for the last several years, and finally got my hands on it. Actually, I still think it will be developing slower than the rest of this website (if there is any slower), but here it is. Please note, though, that the purpose of this page is not to give detailed cooking instructions on how to prepare a traditional Moldovan meal, but rather to give an idea what an average Moldovan eats. Thus, the dishes described may not be traditional at all, or may be Russian, but this is what people eat in this country.
OK, the potatoes are not traditional at all, but are very good with a nice crust when cooked properly, and many people cook it every now and then, but primarily in the summer, when there are fresh potatoes. In the winter the potates here are already old and not suitable for this particular cooking method. The meat is a traditional one, called in Romanian "jumeri" [zhuh-meh-ri] (can't provide a better phonetic spelling). The meat often is served with mamaliga - the ultimate Moldovan traditional meal.
The preparation is really easy and total cooking time is no more than one hour. The first step is to pick a sufficient number of relatively small-sized potatoes (no more than 5 cm or 2 inches long). While you're at it, you can also get hold of a couple of mid-sized onions and a little garlic for the pork.
Prepare a baking tray by filling it with a thin layer of oil (here olive oil is very expensive and is hardly used, while sunflower seed oil is manufactured in Moldova). Cut the potatoes in half along the long axis, salt them from both sides and arrange on the tray. For a nice crust, oil the potatoes.
Put the tray in the preheated oven and forget about the potatoes for the next 20 minutes or so. I can't remember the exact temperature (I have to admit that my wife Sasha is the cook), but it has to be in the range between 150 and 200 degrees Celcius. Now you can concentrate on the meat. You will need small to mid-sized pieces of pork with some amount of fat on them.
Pur some oil in your frying pan and put the meat in (don't forget to add salt, pepper and laurel leaf as needed). Fry until it is half-done.
While the pork is frying, chop up the onions. The best way is to make little onion "arches", so that by the time the meal is done, you still have them in pieces rather than some onion jelly. Add the onions to the meat and continue frying until done, while stirring. Don't forget to add the garlic closer to the end of cooking.
At the end of frying the pork it should look like this:
And don't forget to check up on the potatoes. Poke them with a knife. If it enters and exits the potatoes easily, then they're done! Have a nice meal!
This is a traditional meal, representing a dough envelope with some sort of filling, usually vegetarian. The name Placinta is pronounced [plach-in-tah]. The traditional fillings include potatoes, cabbage, cottage cheese, cherry. Mushrooms also make an excellent filling, and in this example this is what we will use.
First, we need dough. It is the simplest recipe: just mix flour with water until you get quite a plastic mass. As far as I know, this is done by putting flour on your table and adding water bit by bit, mixing it in until the necessary concentration is achieved. I will add the details of preparing the dough later, when we cook Placinte next time. Make sure you always have some flour on the table to prevent the dough from sticking to it. At the end you need to make balls which will be flattened into "pancakes":
Roll the dough into a thin sheet:
After this put the filling in the centre of the dough sheet and make radial cuts from the filling to the edges of the sheet. The filling must be pre-cooked, as the frying it inside the placinta will not last long enough to cook it. So use fried mushrooms, fried cabbage, boiled potatoes, anything you can think of really.
Fold the flaps like an envelope.
After this it is ready to be fried.
Put some oil into the frying pan and preheat. The oil should be enough to cover at least half of the placinta height-wise. You will need to maintain this level throughout frying (usually about a dozen Placintas is made in one session). Also, as you fry more Placintas, the flour will start turning into charcoal, so you may need to completely change the oil and actively ventilate the kitchen to remove smoke.
After the bottom side of the placinta has turned into a brown crisp, turn the plainta upside down.
Nothing compares to a pile of 6-10 Placintas when your mother brings them to you still hot! Yummy!..