Romani (Gypsy) culture and social issues.
Some Vlax Romani Recipes

Pirógo le strugurlása - Boil flat noodles in a pot of water sweetened with honey and colored with saffron.  In another bowl mix currants, raisins and cream cheese.  In a flat dish make a layer of noodles (cooked until soft, and drained), spread thickly with the cheese and raisin mixture, then more noodles, more mixture, finishing with a layer of noodles.  You can arrange the top layer in some kind of design.  Then dot with butter and place in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

Shax shukló - Boil together a small chicken, and some pieces of pork and/or chicken.  Add a half cup of rice, paprika, salt and pepper to taste, and a half cup of vinegar.  Remove all the meat when it's cooked, and add cut cabbage to the broth that's left from the chicken.  Blend together pork fat, flour, and combine all ingredients (including meat) and cook for 15 more minutes.

Gembétsa - Get kidney suet from the butcher and grind or chop it very fine after removing all skin and blood.  Knead this with wheat flour, salt, pepper, baking soda, and parsley and enough water to make a stiff dry dough.  In another pan fry bacon or sausage meat until quite crispy and break into small pieces.  Shape the dough (about the size of a golf ball) around the fried bacon or sausage, sealing the ball.  Drop into the soup you will serve with it and let cook.  They will swell up about three times bigger.

Galúshki - These are small dumplings made from flour and water flavoured with sugar and almonds, boiled in milk.

Sármi - Mix ground beef or chopped ham with cooked rice, salt, black pepper and jalapeños (or similar hot peppers) into a thick paste.  You may add an egg if it's too thick.  Take the biggest leaves from a cabbage making sure not to break or tear them; dip them in boiling water to soften them, then wrap each leaf around some of the filling mixture into a sealed roll.  Secure by sewing or simply stick a toothpick through, and simmer for about an hour in tomato soup.

Bokeli - Wheat bread made with soda but no yeast, with crumpled fried bacon stirred into the dough before baking.

Ankrusté - Dough made from cornmeal, flavored with caraway and coriander and baked in small cakes.

Mamaliga - Cornmeal porridge.

Románo tcháyo - Crumble brick tea into boiling water in a samovar (tea bags and a regular teapot may be used.)  When brewed, serve in glasses with mashed peaches, apricots or strawberries.  Hold a sugar cube between your teeth as you drink the tea.

Manró le smetanása - Bread spread with jam or stewed fruit, and sour cream.

Morenas - Lamb Stew with String Beans (Kalderash)

1 pound lamb
5 potatoes
3/4 pound of fresh string beans
olive oil or lard
fresh parsley
cayenne and crushed pepper, garlic powder
HOT small peppers
red and yellow bell peppers (optional)
tomato paste and fresh tomato
Chop one onion into small pieces. Cut the lamb into little pieces. Stir fry with oil until brown. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes with lid on. Add diced onion and parsley. Cover and simmer for another ten minutes.

Add cut and peeled potatoes and the string beans (just cut the very ends off). Add water as needed, not to let it dry out. Simmer another 15-20 minutes. Add tomato paste for red sauce with one can of water. As needed, stir in garlic powder, salt, cayenne, crushed pepper, small hot peppers and garlic.

Throw in red and green peppers while stirring (optional: add yellow, red, and green bell peppers for color).

Add rice on the side. Serve with fresh french bread.

Posted 22 December 1999.

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