Traditional food from the Hartibaciului Valley

The secret about traditional food

Jeleru Adriana

What is making Transylvanian food special?

In the following lines, Adriana Jeleru will present you the diversity of traditional foods from the Transylvanian area, specifically from the Hâtibaci Valley. A region where many customs and traditions, some hundreds of years old still past to nowadays.

Reading time: 5 Minutes

Also known as the "Green Valley", the Hârtibaci Valley offers unique views of wild nature and spectacular Saxon churches. Surrounded by defensive walls, the buildings have galleries and watchtowers - real Transylvanian castles. The urban centre of the Hârtibaci Valley is the town of Agnita and sustainable development focuses on industry, agro-ecology and nature tourism.

Traditional food and the way to prepare a certain kind of food differs from area to area from man to man but in Romania the recipes for traditional food in a certain area are the same because if you change it there would be no traditional food.

Does each region have a traditional dish specific to that area?

Every area of Romania has a traditional food and as much as other regions of Romania would try to reproduce it, it will never be the same as in the area where it comes from.

From the area of the Hârtibaci valley there are certain dishes specific to the area:

Traditional soups from the Hârtibaci valley

The main dishes that are emphasized in the Hârtibaci Valley area are usually Ciorbele for the simple fact that it is the first dish offered by the local people.

Pork soup as in Cașolț  

Olaritul is the way our ancestors made dishes. The material used in making the pots is yellow clay which is shaped on the potter's wheel and then put in the oven.


  • 1 kg of lean pork meat (preferably basna)
  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 parsley root
  • 1 celery
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon lard
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • salt to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 and a half cups milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar


  1. Boil the parsnips (carrot, parsley, celery and one onion) finely chopped in 5 litres of water. When it is almost boiled, add the diced potatoes, bay leaves and salt.
  2. Separately, in a frying pan, in lard and oil, sauté a finely chopped onion, then add the meat cut into pieces. Cook this mixture for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar and then a mixture of a cup of milk and a tablespoon of flour.
  4. Once it has boiled for another 10 minutes, take the pot off the heat and add a mixture of egg yolk and half a cup of milk.

This preparation can be eaten with hot pepper or sour cream and according to preference with bread or without.


The traditional dish from the Drylands that we reveal to you today is a rich broth of cabbage and young mutton, seasoned with bay leaves, dill and thyme, then drizzled with milk and yolks.


  • 1 kg lamb
  • 5 onions
  • 2 gooseberries
  • 2 carrots
  • 1,5 kg cabbage
  • 100 ml broth
  • 50 ml oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 glass milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • thyme
  • dill
  • salt


  1. Boil the meat in 4 litres of water, skim and simmer until almost cooked through.
  2. Sauté the onion in the oil, then add the chopped gooseberries.
  3. Slice the carrots into rounds, cut the cabbage larger and place in layers in the soup pot, interspersed with the sautéed onions.
  4. Add vinegar, salt to taste, thyme, dill and stock.
  5. When the carrots and cabbage are cooked, take the soup off the heat and deglaze with the yolks mixed with the milk.

You can eat it with hot peppers or cream and with or without bread.

Traditional main dishes from the Hârtibaci Valley:

The main course or more precisely the second course is based more on dishes containing meat or more precisely dishes richer in protein

Chicken stew with galuste as in Iacobeni

A traditional recipe of the Romanians from the Hârtibaci Valley!


  • 1 kg chicken meat
  • 4 onions
  • paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • flour
  • oil


  1. Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil, then add a little paprika and the chopped chicken.
  2. Once the meat is cooked and changes colour, add two cups of water and the seasonings: salt and pepper.
  3. For the dumplings, beat the eggs, add flour and put them in the stew.
  4. After five minutes of boiling, add crushed garlic and the dish is ready to serve.

Veal stew as in Kasholț

Prepared over an open fire, with vegetables well braised in a couple of tablespoons of lard, the stew of the housewives of the Hârtibaci Valley has a unique flavour.


  • 1 kg veal
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 3 onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method of preparation

  1. Chop the vegetables and sauté in lard.
  2. Once cooked, add the paprika, a litre of water, salt and simmer until the onions "soften".
  3. Add the meat, cut into pieces, and cook until the meat is cooked through.
  4. Serve with the mămagüta.

Swallowed crumpet

Crumbled melons are eaten on fasting days as a main course, with cucumbers, pickled goulash or with sour cabbage.


  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 50 ml oil
  • parsley leaves
  • salt


  1. Boil the potatoes, preferably red, in their skins, drain and leave to cool, then peel.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a saucepan, then sauté the finely chopped onion.
  3. Add the potatoes, which you break up by hand, do not cut.
  4. Stir everything together and season to taste.
  5. The remaining larger pieces are further shredded, i.e. "floured" with a wooden spoon.
  6. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley leaves on top.

Traditional desserts from the Hârtibaci Valley :

Hencleș as in Iacobeni

Today's inspiration comes from the Saami of the Hârtibaci Valley: a pie made from a few simple ingredients, baked in the oven with the everyday bread, whose unctuous taste reminds you of your grandmother's desserts.


  • 2,5 kg flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 g yeast
  • 2 l milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 100 g melted butter
  • Ingredients for the batter mix
  • 800 ml fat (500 g butter, 300 g lard)
  • 800 ml eggs


  1. For the dough, make a slurry of 0.5 l milk, eggs, sugar and yeast, let it rise for 10 minutes, then make a crust. This is left to rest for another 20 minutes, then kneaded with the rest of the ingredients and left to rise for half an hour. Roll out the dough into a 1cm sheet on the table, then spread with melted butter and fold into quarters. Spread the dough again over the whole table.
  2. Mix the eggs to be put on the dough: beat the eggs as for the paparade, separately melt the fat. Spread the eggs first and then the fat on the dough sheet. Mix the two ingredients by hand until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
  3. Cut the dough into 12 pieces, cut to the size of oven racks and bake on a medium-hot oven.
  4. When serving, sprinkle sugar on top.

Donuts as in Kasholts.

The Hârtibaci Valley doughnuts are made with much love and gusto as they are eaten with gift by every member of the family.


  • 1 kg flour
  • 1/2 cube yeast (13 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 100 ml oil
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 l milk
  • 1 l frying oil
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Mix the yeast with the flour and gradually add the milk. After incorporating the yeast, add the other ingredients and knead until smooth.
  2. Leave the dough to rise for about two hours until it doubles in volume.
  3. Roll out into a sheet, not too thin, and cut with the lip of a cup. To avoid sticking the mug to the dough, dredge it in flour before cutting the doughnut shape.
  4. Separately, in a saucepan, put the frying oil to heat. When the oil has heated up, put the doughnuts in the frying pan.
  5. After frying, dust with sugar.

 Hibiză cu prune pocănite

The recipe was borrowed from the ethnic Saxons in the village of Vurpăr by the local Romanians.


  • 1 kg flour
  • 100 g yeast
  • salt
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar
  • 100 g oil
  • 1 kg plums
  • for the custard: milk, semolina, vanilla, cream, 5 eggs, 2 tbsp sugar


  1. Mix the flour with the yeast and a little salt in a saucepan; add the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil; knead until the dough no longer sticks to the hands, then leave to rise.
  2. In the meantime, wash the plums and prune them, i.e. remove the stones.
  3. Separately, prepare a milk and vanilla curd. Add the cream, eggs and sugar to the cold cream.
  4. Roll out the dough by hand into a patty on a floured surface. Place the dough in the greased baking tray and place the halved plums on top, with the core down, side by side. Sprinkle sugar over the plums and spread the cream.
  5. Bake in a heated oven.

Traditional Romanian food is specific to each area, in Transylvania you will most often find as traditional food: pork stew or rubbed beans or even pork charity . Another popular spectrum in Transylvanian food is the Hungarian specific dishes because for a long time Transylvania was under Habsburg occupation.

Places in the surroundings