Ciorba – The Romanian Soup

 

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In the Romanian traditional cuisine, soups are one of the most cooked and consumed dishes. Light in calories, fresh and flavored, the soup is considered “one of us”, authentic, always part of diets, children’ meals and the dish that opens a Romanian lunch.

Although Romanian people are proud of their ancient “ciorba” recipes, that are often so much appreciated by the foreign tourists, “ciorba” is not actually a Romanian invention, but one that comes from ancient times. Archeologists have found evidence of ceramics pots dated 5000 years ago, probably being used for soups depositing.

Soups have been regularly consumed starting with Middle Ages, when there was not a lot of nourishing food for common people. They were also recommended for sick people’s recovery, because of the vitamin content. During Renaissance, soups were starting to be served as main course. There were new, more elaborate recipes put together, with more ingredients and spices. Nowadays, soups have become a gastronomical art themselves. Today, the soup is a staple food, with specific recipes and transmitted from generation to generation. It can be found in most restaurants and households around the world.

“Ciorba” was introduced in the Romanian menu and language by the Ottoman Empires’s military troups and, later, by the Greek’s culture. Among the most consumed types of “ciorba”, you can find vegetable soup (ciorba de legume), meatball soup (ciorba de perisoare), bean soup (ciorba de fasole, usually preferred with smoked meat), tripe soup (ciorba de burta), chicken soup with noodles or dumplings and broccoli, carrot, tomatoes or mushrooms cream soups, also found in the international cuisine.

Much beloved meatball soup, a Greek recipe, can also be found in Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian and Albanian gastronomy. As cooking method, bean soup is similar in both Romanian and Bulgarian cuisine, but tripe soup is a little bit different, as Bulgarians prefer to add garlic, grated cheese, marjoram and bay.

The classic soup is a mix of water, root vegetable (carrot, celery, parsley), season vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes) or legumes (beans, peas) and, optionally, animal protein (meat, fish, egg, sour cream). To add flavor and seasoning, you can use borch, horseradish, hot pepper. At the end of cooking, you can sprinkle chopped parsley or tarragon, if you are cooking a Transylvanian soup. In tripe soup there is no need for greenery.

A vegetable based soup is a low calorie food and can be consumed at any time of day, including as a light dinner. The addition of meat, fish, egg and / or pasta will lead to an increased caloric intake and consistency.

Soups at Vatra Restaurant

The Vatra Restaurant menu includes various traditional “ciorba” dishes, as bean soup, tripe soup, meatball soup and chicken soup “a la Grecque”. They are all slowly cooked, to increase the ingredients aromas. We will also add a fresh hot pepper to your soup dish and a strong brandy (tuica), to properly honor your stomach and fellow table guests (See Menu).

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