About the author

Originally from London, I moved to Poland to absorb as much of the culture as humanly posssible. Maybe the biggest influence on me has been the food and I credit my adopted babcia, (Polish for grandmother) Ania, with much of the information here. I lived in Zielona Gora and Szklarska Poreba which are in the west and south-west of Poland respectively.
Please feel free to leave any comments or visit my other site An Englishman in Poland

Monday, 31 March 2008

Top 5 Polish mustard review

Coming from England, when I thought of mustard I thought of the English variety which is radioactive yellow with a simultaneously bland but burning taste. I occasionally entertained French mustard if I was feeling adventurous but mustard never rated highly as a type of additive to my food.

However a new world opened up to me living in Poland as taste upon taste was thrust upon me in waves as friends would bring out a never ending variety of different colour and consistency mustard (musztarda). Meat and mustard became a love affair of mine as one of my friends, Piotr, guided me through this intriguing world with reviews, personal preferences and 'dipping tips for kielbasa' of all things! Kielbasa and mustard are marvelous. There is an infinite number of meat and mustard combinations that I still need to discover but for now I have compiled my top mustards.

Kamis have a monopoly in the mustard department, similar to Guinness and Paddy's day. I like the system they employ to rate hotness, using images of chillies and colours. I had an idea to import these to England, the ones which were unavailable in Polish shops but Tesco have beaten me to it. (click here for more on that!)
Musztarda deliketesowa (kamis)

My all time favourite. As the name suggests it is delicate and very mild (łagodna). It is sweet and has a light tan colour with a smooth texture. I tend to overuse this mustard and overpower the taste of the meat therefore I need to exercise a lot of restraint to strike the right balance. As my friend Piotr told me, the meat is an accessory to the mustard and not the other way around. Choose your mustard first and then decide on the meat that suits it! It is excellent on hot kielbasa.

Musztarda Chrzanowa (kamis)
This mustard is made with horseradish (chrzan) and is lekko ostra (slightly hot) with a yellow chilli. It is smooth like deliketesowa but a little lighter and whiter in colour. It has more of a hit than deliketesowa and so reminds you that mustard should be intrinsically hot even if this comes from the horseradish and not the mustard seed itself in this recipe.

Musztarda Miodowa (Kamis)

There is honey and mustard salad dressing and honey and mustard sauces but the ingenious incarnation of these is to make a mustard using honey (miód). Unsurprisingly it is mild (łagodna) but has a strong interesting taste which like deliketesowa makes you choose mustard before meat. I preferred this on cold cuts of meat like turkey.

Musztarda Sarepska

This brown mustard has one chilli and is labelled as ostra (hot). This is very popular and more traditional in a mustard sense. My adopted babcja prefers this and uses it a lot in recipes like in salatka.

Musztarda Grillowa (Kamis)

Grillowa is dark brown/red, is quite viscous with black whole mustard seeds intact and is lekko ostra (slighty hot - yellow chilli). It has a sharp flavour but is made using sweet peppers. In Polish a barbeque is called a grill so this mustard is aimed at meat that is barbequed, notably kielbasa!

Other mustards of note which did not make top 5

  • Musztarda czosnekowa - I was looking forward to this as I love garlic (czosnek) but felt let down and unimpressed. I think garlic and mustard are too strong to compliment each other.

  • Musztarda Rosyjska - This is Russian in style and bardzo ostra (very hot). Personally I do not like very hot food.

  • Musztarda Francuska - French mustard with mixed whole mustard seeds, slightly hot (lekko ostra). The French do this type better. Rather gluey consistency.

  • Musztarda Ognista - Made with chillies. Hot (ostra)

  • Musztarda Dijon - French style Dijon (ostra).

  • Musztarda Węgierska - Hungarian style mustard with ginger, garlic, hot(ostra). Have not tried this.

  • Musztarda Meksykańska - Mexican style hot (ostra). Have not tried.

  • Musztarda Bawarska - Bavarian mustard mild (łagodna). Have not tried.

My preferences are based on the fact I prefer mild food. My palette is not accustomed to spicy food. This list and reviews would be different for someone who prefers hot food. Furthermore there are many other manufacturers of mustard who make all types of mustard and I did not have time to try a bottle of each. As I try others I will update.

What is your favourite mustard, Polish or otherwise?

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Gołąbki (Golabki - cabbage rolls) recipe

Gołąbki (pronounced go-womp-kee) is translated as pigeon. Although no pigeon is used in the recipe, the name could possibly be due to it's resemblance to the shape of pigeon breast. Legend has it that a king of Poland (Casimir IV Jagiellon) fed his army with golabki before a key battle in 1465 and the subsequent victory was credited to this hearty meal beforehand. Personally I feel like sleeping after a big meal but maybe there was some secret ingredient in the ancient version that 'gave the soldiers wings' (pun intended).

Golabki is basically boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat (traditionally beef but also pork/chicken/turkey), onion and rice (or buckwheat groats/kasia). The cabbage rolls are served with a rich tomato based sauce in which the golabki is cooked.
When I first tasted this, I immediately changed my favourite Polish dish from Bigos to this. Although now I think of both dishes equally as my favourite.

What you need

cabbage rolls and filling

  1. Cabbage (1 or 2)
  2. Minced meat (few pounds of beef or pork)
  3. Onion (1 large chopped)
  4. Rice (few cups)
  5. Carrot (1 or 2 grated)
  6. An egg
  7. Butter (few tablespoons)
  8. Salt and Pepper


  1. Tomato paste (about 1 cup)
  2. Chicken stock (about a cup)
  3. Butter (couple of tablespoons)
  4. Canned tomatoes (1 can)
  5. Flour (2 tablespoons)
  6. Garlic cloves (1 or 2 crushed)
  7. Sugar
  8. Salt/pepper
  9. Fresh thyme and parsley

What you do

  1. Boil cabbage until leaves start to fall off.
  2. Boil the loose cabbage leaves until tender but do not over boil. Roughly 15mins.

3. Place leaves on a colander to drain and cool.

4. Boil rice with salt for about 10mins until tender

5. Rinse rice with water and drain in colander. Leave to dry.

6. Brown onions in a pan with butter.

7. Mix onions, minced meat, rice, salt, pepper, carrot (why not experiment)

8. Trim spines of cabbage leaves.

9. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons mixture onto wider end of flattened out leaf.

10. Fold in sides and roll from wide end to narrower end.

11. Place all cabbage rolls into casserole dish and lined with flat cabbage leaves, cover after half filling with water.

13. Place in preheated oven (about 350f) for 30mins.

14. To make the sauce add butter to a pan and add flour. Heat for a couple of minutes.

15. Add other ingredients and bring to the boil stirring continually. Simmer for 20 mins.

16. Add the sauce to the golabki in the casserole dish, cover and cook for another half an hour.

17. Serve golabki covered in sauce and topped with chopped parsley, with ziemniaki (potatoes) and surówka (similar to coleslaw).

There are a series of adverts I absolutely love involving a supermarket chain called Biedronka (translates as ladybird and unsurprisingly that is their logo). They advertise their products by anthropomorphizing them and in a sea of adverts in which I do not understand, these come as a welcome relief as I can just enjoy the effect. They are are very well done.

Below is one for Gołąbki