by | May 3, 2017 | Vegetable dishes

Bálmos is an old Transylvanian dish, a kind of polenta made from coarsly ground cornmeal, bacon and sheep milk cheese. It was originally prepared with fatty whey, a byproduct of the manufacture of cheese. In default of whey cornmeal can be cooked in cream or whole milk, but some recipes call for clabber. (Sorry, low-fat and fat free dairy products are out of the question in this case).

Bálmos is served with sheep milk cheese and fried bacon, but feel free to use other cheese that has a characteristic taste. You can scatter the cheese over the dumplings or mix in the polenta while cooking.

Bálmos – photo: zserbo.com


  • 400 ml (~1 2/3 cups) cream
  • 100 ml (~3 1/4 oz) sour cream
  • 120 g (~2 1/2 oz) polenta (coarsly ground cornmeal)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 g (~1 1/5 tbsp) butter
  • 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) sheep milk cheese
  • 80 g (~3 oz) bacon

Chop and fry bacon until crispy. Set aside.

Place cream, sour cream and salt in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. When bubbles aplenty burst, stir in cornmeal. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook while stirring constantly. Once cornmeal is almost tender and thick enough, start stirring vigorously until grease sweats out. Add butter to the hot dish and keep mixing until butter melts.

Once it’s soft and tender, turn off the heat and pour off the grease in a small bowl. With 2 spoons form dumplings from the polenta and place them onto a platter. Sprinkle the drained grease over the dumplings, then scatter crumbled sheep milk cheese and crispy bacon all over them. Serve immediately.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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