Romanian Dumpling Soup: My Mom’s Special Comfort Food

My favorite soup in the entire world is dumpling soup – of course, not just any type of dumpling soup, but my mom’s special dumpling soup. In Romanian it is called Supa de galuste. “Special” not because it has some secret ingredients or magical cooking method, but because I was born and raised with its flavor. “Special” because it was my soup when I was feeling sick, when I was getting a cold, and when I was just feeling down and needed some comfort food. This soup is my cure for so many things that I even consider it a medicine. I love its taste, but most of all I like the memories it brings. I remember my hometown, my mom, my Sunday mornings waking up late (I know, this is pretty unusual for a kid) and waiting for lunch to come, so I could eat the soup. I have a rather unusual way of eating it (though now I try not to do it in public): I like to eat first that part of the dish that I like the least and leave the best for the end. As you can imagine, my favorite part is the dumplings. Soft and tasty, they were what I would leave till the end, and then savored them one by one.

Now that I am a mother, I have started to make this soup for my daughter. She doesn’t seem to be such a big fan, but at 22 months old, she is entitled to be picky. She eats the dumplings – not with the same enthusiasm as I do, but there is hope that maybe one day – who knows? – this will be her favorite soup as well. I try to involve her as much as I can in the process; so, for example, I let her place the veggies in the pot, and I show her exactly how I make the dumplings, and she does seem to enjoy helping.

I want to share this recipe with you. If you ever need a hot soup when you have a cold or are in need of some healthy “comfort food,” then it might be a good choice. 

Romanian Dumpling Soup

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 1 chicken, cut in pieces
  • 2 to 3 carrots
  • 3 to 4 potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 1 parsnip
  • A quarter of a stalk of celery
  • Parsley

Method:

Clean and trim all the vegetables above. Place them (except parsley) in a large pot, along with the chicken; add about 10-12 cups of water and bring to boil. When it starts boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 2 hours, checking periodically and skimming off any grey matter that accumulates. At the end, taste and add salt to adjust flavor. Take out the veggies and keep only the meat from the chicken (that is, remove the skin and the bones).

Ingredients and method for the dumplings:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ c. semolina flour

This is actually the most difficult part of the soup, and depending on how you handle it, your soup will be “state of the art” dumpling soup or just a regular one.

To prepare them is simple: just mix the eggs first and add gradually the semolina flour, form dumplings using a teaspoon, and gently boil them in the broth. Add half cup of cold water and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

It sounds simple. However, I think that you will find the next tips very useful, as you only get to know either from your own experience or from someone who advises you (in this case of course it was my mom). So here is my list of tips and tricks:

  • Start making the dumplings when the broth is ready and when you are ready to boil them
  • Add the semolina flour little by little and stop when it gets thick. Everything basically depends on the size of the eggs, but since this is difficult to forecast then we can only adjust the quantity of semolina.
  • Let the mixture rest for about five minutes. You know it’s ready when you are able to form a dumpling that is soft but doesn’t fall apart.
  • Before you start forming the dumplings, dip your teaspoon into the hot broth and then form and place the dumpling in the broth. This lets the dumpling fall of the spoon without sticking.
  • Dumplings should double their size when cooked.
  • You can try first with just one dumpling and see how it behaves when boiled. If it falls apart in the soup, then you can either let the mixture rest few more minutes and try again, or add a bit more semolina to the mixture.
  • Make sure to gently boil the dumplings in the soup, because if the soup is boiling hard it will break up the dumplings.

Serve hot and add parsley if you wish. Enjoy! Or Pofta buna, as we say in Romania.

I have another recipe to share with you. It is easy to make, and it might prove useful one day when you want a snack and are running out of ideas. 

Savoury waffles

  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g. melted butter
  • 100 g. feta cheese
  • 50 g. cream cheese
  • 100 g. frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 c. milk
  • Half of a packet of baking powder
  • Flour

Mix all ingredients together and add flour until it becomes a thick dough. Use a waffle maker to bake the waffles, and serve them plain or with yoghurt dressing.

Text and photo by Madalina Luntraru

Madalina, originally from Romania, lives in Geneva with her Mexican husband and their daughter. She enjoys travelling, cooking and reading. Shes also interested in child psychology and hopes to travel the world with her family. Contact Madalina through Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/madalina.luntraru

Photo credit: Thanks to http://romanianfoodblog.blogspot.ch/ for allowing us to use their delicious-looking photo.

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