Moldovan Food: Halva Pastry and Sarmale

My host mom made two wonderful dishes during my second week: a pastry stuffed with halva and Sarmale made with cabbage leaves and with grape leaves.

The first dish is a sweet pastry filled with either sour cherries or Halva (a sunflower seed mixture). She than covers the pastries with powdered sugar, which she makes with a neat blender add-on.

She cooked these in her summer kitchen so that the oven doesn’t heat up the main living area inside her house. Summer kitchens can be in separate buildings or in our case, it is what was designed as the garage.

The second dish was Sarmale, stuffed cabbage leaves and stuffed grape leaves.. We also made stuffed peppers. My host mom, Ala, made the rice mixture earlier in the day and I helped her pick the grape leaves after dinner We then put it all together. It is served with sour cream and they are delicious both hot and cold. I brought some for lunch the next day and ate without heating it up.

Note: The grape leaves we picked were still soft rather than the more mature leaves that felt stiffer and more waxy. I am really enjoying learning more about cooking and how to select good vegetables and fruits. Poftă bună! = Bon appetit!

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