When I ask people what their favourite cuisine is, I usually hear answers like Italian, Chinese, German, Indian, Mexican, Greek, and so on, but… I never hear Hungarian. Not because Hungary doesn’t have its own cuisine, but we’re such a small country that noone notice us and our wonderful, and colourful culture.
In this post, I would like to show you some Hungarian meal which you MUST try once if you’re in Hungary. If you are on diet, or you just don’t eat healthy food, then I need to make you sad: Hungarian cuisine are not healthy. Compared to other nations’ foods we use way too much salt! I remember when I returned back from India, I couldn’t eat any foods made by my mother as it had too much salt (well, she doesn’t cook so salty!). Above salt we love using paprika powder (the traditional paprika powder is hot, but most households use mild paprika powder – Hungarians usually don’t like spicy foods, except for a lot of men, haha). We also love eating meat… with meat. The traditional foods are made from mainly beef, but nowadays we use pork in order to spend less money. Chicken is also a common meat, but we eat many other animals, like turkey, rabbit, duck, lamb, and so on.
So, here is a list what you need to try for sure:
- Goulash soup (Gulyásleves) – made of beef, vegetables (some potato, onion, pepper, carrot, etc.), paprika powder,black pepper and salt. It comes from the Hungarian Great Plain (Alföld), where the cattlemen took the ingredients with theirselves and cooked the soup in a portable cauldon (bogrács) over an open fire. Many Hungarian families make some salty “scones” (pogácsa), which they eat with the soup. These are made from dough.
- Fisherman’s soup (Halászlé) – is a hot, spicy paprika-based river fish soup, a bright-red hot soup prepared with generous amounts of hot paprika and carp or mixed river fish.
- Pancake of Hortobágy (Hortobágyi palacsinta) – it is a savoury pancake, filled with meat (usually veal). The meat is prepared as a stew; minced meat is fried with onions and spices using veal, veal with mushrooms, chicken, or Hungarian sausage. The pancakes are filled with the minced meat, tucking in the ends, and are baked in the oven with a paprika and sour cream sauce, then topped with fresh parsley. Although the name says Hortobágy, it’s origins are different.
- Potato paprikash (Paprikás krumpli) – is a traditional paprika-based potato stew with diced potatoes, onion, bell peppers, ground paprika and some bacon or sliced spicy sausage
- Stew (Pörkölt) – It has meat, paprika, and some vegetables. It’s usually eaten with little dumplings called “nokedli”. Any kind of meat can be used when making it. Most common are beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but game, tripe and liver can also be used.
- Chicken paprikash (Csirke paprikás) – it’s made with chicken, onions, butter or lard, sweet paprika, green peppers, tomatoes, clove garlic, flour, and sour cream. The dish is traditionally served with dumplings (nokedli).
- Mushroom paprikash (Gomba paprikás) – it’s the vegetarian form of chicken paprikash, made with mushroom.
- Stuffed cabbage (Töltött káposzta) – It can be made from pickled cabbage leaves, filled with minced pork meat. It often contains minced pepper and is served with sour cream on top.
- Túrós csusza – it’s a savoury quark cheese noodle dish made with small home-made noodles or pasta.The noodles are cooked in salt water and drained, mixed with butter, crumbled quark, chopped, fried, crispy bacon, topped with thick Hungarian sour cream and lightly salted.
- Potato Pasta (Krumplis tészta) – made from pasta and potatoes and is seasoned with Hungarian paprika
- Lángos – it’s a deep fried flatbread. The dough is made from flour, yeast, water and salt, and it’s fried in oil. When it’s done, we usually put some sour cream on it with some galic, salt and cheese. There are several modernized type of Lángos, but I wouldn’t like to write about them, as I don’t consider them too Hungarian. It was introduced by some Hungarians in Serbia.
- Chimney cake (Kürtőskalács) – it is made from sweet, yeast dough, of which a strip is spun and then wrapped around a truncated cone–shaped baking spit, and rolled in granulated sugar. It is roasted over charcoal while basted with melted butter, until its surface cooks to a golden-brown color. During the baking process the sugar stuck on the dough, caramelises and forms a shiny, crispy crust. The surface of the cake can then be topped with additional ingredients such as ground walnut, powdered cinnamon, coconut, cocoa and so on. It comes from Transylvania.
- Túró Rudi – it’s a very tasty snack, which is composed of a thin chocolate-flavored outer coating and an inner filling of curd. You can buy it in any shops. Look for it in the fridges, where the yogurts are. The most popular is the “Pöttyös”
These are some foods I would like to recommend. The list is too long to mention all of them, but if you taste some of these foods, I’m sure next time you’ll put the Hungarian cuisines onto your “loved it” list.
Have you tried any of them before?