The Porridge Made from Cornmeal and Cheese
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Anastasia Barinova
Translation: Vera Root

Montenegrin cuisine is a mix of two very different culinary traditions. On the coast, Montenegrins enjoy Mediterranean ingredients, seafood and vegetables, while hearty dishes prevail in the northern highlands. Among them is cicvara, the porridge made from cornmeal and cheese.

This is one of the most ancient dishes in the Balkans, the first recipes are found in monastic books. Rye or wheat flour was used sometimes, instead of corn, and even oat flour in the hungry years. Corn came to the region after Columbus's voyage, and now it is considered the best for cicvara.


  • 500 grams semi-hard cheese;
  • 200 milliliters water;
  • 200 milliliters milk;
  • 200 grams kajmak;
  • corn flour;
  • salt.

It is a rich and fulfilling dish, and quality of the ingredients is very important.

Classical cicvara is cooked with semi-hard cheese, but a mixture of several varieties is welcomed. You can use goat or sheep cheese, slightly or strongly salted, and so on. A fundamental condition is the age of cheese and its rich aroma.

Water and milk are poured into the pan. When the liquid boils, add the slices of cheese, and bring to boil again. To avoid lumps and burning, the dish must be stirred all the time (traditionally, in the clockwise direction).

Now lower the heat and carefully pour the flour into saucepan, stir for another ten minutes. There is no exact amount of flour in the recipe, but cicvara should be quite thick and consistent, and easily come off the walls of the saucepan. If you are really hungry, you can add kajmak along with the cornflour, the dish will be even more satisfying.

Salt to taste and serve cicvara in deep bowls (wooden will be the best). You can sprinkle porridge with herbs, add sour cream, fried bacon, baked potatoes. Dessert lovers can eat cicvara with honey.

Cicvara, the porridge made from cornmeal and cheese

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