29.02.2012 - cuisine
Ukrainian Cuisine Weekly - Week 5 - Banosh
If you’ve been to the Ukrainian Carpathians, but left without tasting authentic banosh cooked by a hospitable Hutsul hostess, your visit just doesn’t count. This creamy corn dish which just melts in your mouth is one of the true symbols of the rich and vibrant culture of people that live in the westernmost part of our country. And every time I cook banosh, I daydream of seeing the luscious greenery of the mountains, listening to the music of waterfalls and rapids, and feeling the wind in my face as I inhale pure pine scented air of Carpathians yet again. The charm of Carpathians leaves no visitor indifferent, and banosh recipe is one of the most precious souvenirs I brought back from my visits there.
- 1 cup of fine corn grits
- 1 cup of cream or milk (full fat)
- salt to taste
- butter (optional)
Topping options (quantities depend on how much topping you prefer per portion)
- bacon fried with onions
- porcini mushrooms fried with onions or cooked in a creamy sauce of your liking
- brynza or any other goat cheese
- sautéed vegetables (eg. tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, onions and pepper)
1. Start prepping a day before: put the grits into a large non-stick pan (keep in mind that banosh will significantly expand in volume). Then pour the water into the pan so that you have at least twice as much water as the grits. Cover the pan and let the grits soak overnight (or at least for 6 hours).
2. Now time to start cooking! Put the pan with grits and water on the stove, add some salt to taste and bring to boil on low heat. Remember to stir.
3. When banosh starts to boil, you have to be careful stirring it (and you have to do it often, otherwise corn will stick to the pan). The mixture bubbles and may cause some unpleasant burns if it lands on your skin. I find it helpful to wear oven gloves on this stage of the process. ;)
4. Continue stirring banosh as it slowly cooks on low heat and taste it from time to time. When it’s so soft that just melts in your mouth, you know it’s almost ready. Pour in the cream, mix it into the banosh, and let everything cook for a several minutes. Actually, you can use as much cream as you want and not just 1 cup – the thickness of the mixture is totally up to you. Don’t worry if it is too watery, because banosh tends to thicken as it cools. If you let it stay overnight, you’ll be able to cut it with a knife. ;)
5. Turn off the stove. Now you can add some butter to your banosh (as much as you like). Let the butter melt and stir it in.
6. Banosh can be served hot or cold. Don’t forget to complement it with the topping of your liking.
There are a lot of similar corn dishes that are typical for various countries in the world. Banosh, however, is a delicious and hearty cornerstone of Hutsul cuisine. I hope you find the recipe helpful and that you enjoy banosh! As always, I’d be happy to hear how it turned out for you. If you have any questions – feel free to leave them in the comments. And make sure that you don’t miss the next episode of Ukrainian Cuisine Weekly by subscribing to our RSS feed of following Tour 2 Go on Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest!
Have a nice meal, or as Ukrainians say it, “Smachnoho!”
Photo from http://lolaguna.livejournal.com
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