There is no doubt that food is one of the highlights of any visit to Romania and one of our favourite dishes is papanasi (pronounced ‘papanash’).
Romanian food doesn’t get more traditional than papanasi, and the good news is it’s simple to make. In fact, when we asked Monica Popovici - a lady who often cooks for us in her home - for the recipe, she said “Why? Everyone knows how to make it!”
Sorry Monica, you're a lovely lady, and we often agree with you, but here you’re wrong. So, friends, this is how to make the perfect papanasi.
500g fresh ricotta
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 cups of breadcrumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
400g sour cream
Fruit compot or jam
Mix together the ricotta, eggs and vanilla extract. Once fully combined add the semolina a stirring further. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. If the consistency is too sticky (it sticks to your hand), just add in a touch more semolina.
When it’s cooled, use your hands to roll the mixture into balls – we recommend about 5 centimetres in diameter.
To cook bring a saucepan of water to the boil and drop in the papanasi. Cook for around 5 minutes. Alternatively, for crispy, fluffy papanasi drop them into a saucepan of hot oil. Once the papanasi have risen to the surface they should be golden brown and ready to enjoy.
To serve, place on a plate topped with a dollop of sour cream, add some fruit compote and dust with some icing sugar. Serve immediately and never look back!
Do let us know if you manage to make papanasi and send any photos of your creation to firstname.lastname@example.org