Mocnik, also called buckwheat pap, is the national dish of Slovenia, which is made from cereal flour and water, milk or cream. Its texture is soft and floury, and taste mild and pleasant. It is traditionally perceived as a food for the poor. The dish is light grey in color, with darker pellet spotting. The variant cooked in milk has an attractive aroma. Buckwheat is considered to have a warming effect on the body, hence the dish is considered a healthy, warm food option for long winter evenings. Traditionally, poor families prepared it with corn and water; wealthier ones used eggs, wheat in place of corn and milk in place of water to improve the taste of the dish.
Ingredients and Preparation
The traditional mocnik recipe suggests use of buckwheat flour. Flour of other cereals like corn, wheat, millet, oats or rye may also be used to make it. Water, milk and cream or sour cream are the other ingredients used. Salt, pepper and sugar are added as per individual recipe and taste.
To prepare the dish, buckwheat flour is scalded and sifted and made into small pellets, which are boiled in salted milk. Sugar may be mixed in this or served separately.
Contemporary recipes suggest sifting the flour and then mixing beaten egg and salt in it. The ingredients are lightly mixed with a fork, so as to form crumbles. The crumbles are dropped into boiling broth and cooked for some time.
Plain mocnik is prepared by the rural poor simply by boiling corn flour in water.
Mocnik is served warm for breakfast or sometimes as a light meal.
- Mlečni koruzni močnik: This is mocnik made with corn and milk.
- Usukan močnik: This is Slovenian twirled porridge. Usukanci dumplings are made with flour and eggs, which are cooked in boiling salted water and are seasoned with cracklings. It is typically a dish from the Zasavje region.
Mocnik is an easy-to-digest and nutritious dish. Buckwheat flour present in it is a good source of essential amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and B vitamins. It is high in fiber and hence, good for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. It also contains omega 3 oils and helps in maintaining blood glucose levels. Corn based Mocnik is a rich source of fiber and nutrients like niacin, folic acid and vitamin C. Besides this, it is a good source of vitamins B1, B5 and E, and minerals like magnesium and phosphorus.
- The novel "Waifs and Strays", which was initially published in 1917, has an account of the Jeraj family having lunch, for which Mocnik was served, and the house's master was furious about being served such a humble dish despite the fact that he earned well.
- The term mocnik is often metaphorically used to refer to poor performance.