Bento Romanian Style


I have opened the cabbage season. Normally, one whole cabbage is too much for me (no, I don’t want to eat only cabbage during one week) – but if you want to try to buy regional food, you end up buying cabbage at this time.
So I got a small savoy cabbage and used 1/4 of it for preparing a Romanian style bento: varza calita (varza is cabbage, calita means… mmmh, I don’t know.  Something like boiled or steamed as far as I know. But I don’t know Romanian. Only some words.) and mamaliga (which means polenta). I learned it from a Romanian friend, she served it with sour cream and cheese.  I don’t know, if it’s Romaninan to use savoy cabbage, but I don’t care. However it’s probably not correct to call all this a bento (as there’s no Japanese food in it), so I think adding the words “Romanian Style” doesn’t make things worse.


For one person you need:

1 cup (225 ml) salted water
about 3 tblsp polenta

1 small onion
oil (if you want, you can also add some dices of a sausage like chorizo. Then omit the oil)
1/2 of a small head of cabbage
3 tblsp tomato purée

sour cream

cheese (Gouda or Feta or… whichever you can find in your fridge)

Chop the onions. Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot, sauté the onions. Cut the cabbage very finely and add. Continue sautéing for some minutes. Add the tomato purée, some water, season with paprika, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let everything simmer for some time until the cabbage is tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the mamaliga: Bring the salted water to a boil and add – stirring well to avoid lumps – the polenta. Continue stirring and let it boil a little bit. If it’s too liquid, add some more polenta. At the end it should be creamy. As I prepared it for the next day and didn’t feel like eating mamaliga with the consistency of a brick (as polenta thickens while cooling), I didn’t use very much polenta. If you serve it immediately, you may need more polenta.

Serve everything together with pieces of cheese and sour cream.

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