Hungarian cuisine has an interesting history and, as a result, a large number of unusual and delicious recipes. Traditional dishes from Hungary – goulash, paprikash, kurteshkalach, langos – are familiar to many. And tourists, along with the sights of the country, first of all want to taste the hearty and colorful local cuisine.
Hungarian cuisine is quite colorful.
History of Hungarian cuisine
2,000 years ago, Hungarian tribes left the Ural Mountains and moved west. For a whole millennium they and the eastern peoples roamed the steppes and in 896 came to the Carpathian valley. The settlers remained faithful to nomadic traditions. Meat and vegetables seasoned with fragrant herbs were still cooked in the cauldrons. Juicy pieces of meat were fried on spits.
Gradually, the Hungarians adopted the gastronomic traditions of their neighbors. And in the rough cuisine of the nomads, new ways of processing products, seasonings and dishes appeared. From the Italian settlers they learned the art of baking; borrowed recipes from Austrian, French and Romanian chefs. From the Ottoman Empire, they retained a love of coffee and a passion for sweet peppers.
The peculiarities of Hungarian cuisine were discussed after the World Exhibition of 1878 in Paris, where Budapest cooks made a sensation.
Characteristics of the national cuisine of Hungary
The basis of Hungarian cooking is meat dishes. The taste effect inherent in local cuisine is achieved due to pork fat. Only in the fat obtained by roasting, the taste and color of paprika – the main spice of the country – are revealed.
Hungarian chefs cook food with a lot of vegetables and spices – cumin, onions, cinnamon, celery, pepper. Before stewing, dishes are often seasoned with flour and sour cream or onions fried in lard.
Main Products and Ingredients
Hungarian cuisine uses a large amount of meat and vegetables. First of all, these are pork, beef, poultry; zucchini, sweet peppers, cabbage, eggplants, tomatoes, onions. An honorable place in local cooking is occupied by fish, whether it is sterlet, pike, catfish, carp or walleye.
The main ingredients that are used in Hungary are fish.
A common food in Hungary is flour, which is present in various dishes. Secondly, it is used as a dressing, in soups and side dishes – in the form of pasta, such as chipette, chusa, tarhonya. It is difficult to imagine the diet of Hungarians without dairy products – sour cream, cream and cottage cheese.
The most popular national dishes of Hungary
Hungarian cuisine is not only lecho, turoščius and goulash. Only here you can try the best fish paprikash and fried goose liver. A whole repertoire of national dishes is popular – flecken, tokan, perkelt from crayfish. The pinnacle of culinary creativity is light, melt-in-your-mouth butter donuts.
Traditional Hungarian pastries. No folk festival and fair can do without it. The first mention of the delicacy dates back to 1450, the records speak of a strip of dough wound with a spiral on a pipe and baked on an open fire. The name kurteshkalach comes from the word kürt – “horn, horn”.
Recipe for the world-famous Hungarian Kalach.
Three centuries later, the recipe was included in the cookbook and improved: kalach before baking began to sprinkle sugar. Now coconut chips, crushed almonds, grated nuts, cinnamon, cocoa, powdered sugar are used as a sprinkling. Often the finished product, a hollow cylinder, is filled with filling: chocolate, cream, fruit, jam, ice cream.
You can cook kurteshkalach at home:
- In 120 ml of warm milk, dilute 10 g of yeast and 140 g of sugar. Leave on for 10 minutes.
- Introduce one 6 yolks, 100 g of melted butter, salt. Stir.
- Add 300 g of sifted flour. Knead the dough and leave it warm for 1 hour.
- Roll out the dough 0.5 cm thick, cut into strips 2 cm wide.
- Heat a rolling pin with a diameter of 6 cm, coat with oil, wind strips of dough on it, lubricate with protein and sprinkle with sugar with nuts and cinnamon. Rotate it over hot coals, periodically lubricating with oil until the dough is browned.
The product can be baked in an oven preheated to 200 ° C, about 15 minutes. Instead of a rolling pin – use ready-made spit or make a base of dense foil.
A thick soup of small pieces of meat with vegetables is a common food in Hungary. It is prepared simply: finely chopped meat is fried with pepper and onions on lard. Pour broth or wine and stew for at least 1 hour.
There are many options for goulash:
Hungarian goulash is a dish that the country is proud of.
- Hungarian is cooked with potatoes, which are boiled separately and added to the meat. Do not put cumin and tomatoes in the dish. Separately served chusu (small dumplings), seasoned with melted lard.
- In Viennese, beef and onions are taken in equal parts. Tomato paste, cumin, paprika, nutmeg – to taste.
- Transylvanian is cooked with pork. Separately fry sauerkraut on lard and add to the meat. 5-7 minutes before readiness, put sour cream, flour, cumin.
- Fake is made without meat: fry peppers and onions, add tomato juice and potatoes. Pour everything with water or broth, stew until ready and put small dumplings in the dish.
- Similarly, goulash from mushrooms is prepared: meat is replaced with mushrooms, onions, paprika, tomato are fried, a few minutes before readiness, the dish is filled with flour and sour cream.
The ingredients, depending on the recipe, are different. But the main components are onions and paprika.
Spicy soup of different varieties of fish with sweet peppers. Like goulash, it has plenty of local options. But the main condition is a good fish broth.
Soup is usually prepared in nature.
- Prepare the fillet: wash 2 kg of fish, peel, eviscerate, release from the bones. Cut the fillet into pieces 2-4 cm wide.
- Prepare the broth. Fish heads, bones, fins pour 2 liters of water. For a rich taste, you can add small fish of less valuable breeds. Put in the broth 150 g of green pepper, 250 g of onions, 70 g of tomatoes and cook soup for 1-1.5 hours on low heat.
- Strain, wipe the thickness through a sieve. Put on fire. As it boils, add paprika and prepared fish fillet. Cook for 10 minutes.
Halasle in Hungarian means “fishermen’s soup”. Sometimes 2 potatoes are added to the vegetables in the broth for thickness. If the fish gives up silt, before wiping the vegetables, 200 ml of dry white wine is poured into it.
A symbol of Hungarian cooking. Served as a stand-alone dish or as a side dish. Cooked with a lot of sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes.
The proportions of vegetables and seasonings must be observed.
To do this, you need to:
- pour 900 g of tomatoes with boiling water, remove the skin from them, cut the fruits into 4 parts.
- cut 1.2 kg of peeled green pepper into 5-6 parts.
- Cut 80 g of smoked lard into cubes, fry in 80 g of fat. Add 200 g of chopped onions. As soon as the onion turns golden, put 5 g of red paprika, green pepper, tomatoes and stew over low heat.
You can prepare a dish with slices of sausage or pieces of meat.
Cold cuts, grilled or spitted, are served in Hungary on a wooden dish. Hence the name – fatanyeros: from the Hungarian fa – “tree”, tányér – “plate”. Prescription:
- For cooking, take beef fillet, goose liver, smoked lard, loin.
- Meat is laid out with a beautiful slide on a dish. Fried potatoes are served as a side dish.
- The dish is decorated with tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled beets, cabbage, sweet peppers, etc.
A dish with lots of onions and paprika. It is prepared in a small amount of liquid over low heat. The basis for perkelt is meat, fish, crayfish, goose liver, game, sausages. For frying, lard is used. The longer the dish is cooked, the more expressive its taste. Sometimes tomatoes and sweet green peppers are added.
Perkelt can be prepared from any kind of meat: veal, pork, lamb, poultry, game.
For a thick vegetable soup, almost all vegetables are suitable – tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, eggplants, beans, peas, etc.
It should be prepared as follows:
- Cut the vegetables into small pieces and simmer.
- A few minutes before the end of cooking, add a roast of onions with flour or a sour cream-flour mixture to the soup.
Debrecen sausages (debrecínské párky)
Debrecen sausages consist of finely ground beef and pork meat, seasoned with lard and red pepper, in a natural casing – sheep’s intestine. For thin Debrecen sausages, coarser pig intestines are not used. Spicy sausages, soft and juicy, are used to prepare many national dishes.
Hearty and rich bograch is traditionally cooked on an open fire. “Bograch” is a special type of pot. In ancient times, it boiled food like a modern goulash.
To do this, you need to:
- Cut into cubes 0.5 kg of beef.
- In 40 g of fat, save 150 g of onions, put 10 g of paprika and meat, salt, stew until the liquid evaporates.
- Add cumin, crushed garlic, a little water and continue to simmer.
- As the meat is ready, put the diced potatoes. Slightly fry, pour the broth, add 30 g of finely chopped tomatoes and 70 g of green pepper.
- At the end of cooking, add a chipette and cook until done.
Chipette (from the word “chipkedne” – to pinch) – shapeless pieces of dough the size of a fingernail.
Lángos is Hungarian for “fiery”. This is a yeast dough tortilla, deep-fried. According to the original recipe, the ruddy flatbread is generously smeared with a sauce of sour cream and garlic, sprinkled with cheese and paprika. Now sauces for flatbreads are with pieces of bacon, ham, salami, vegetables. There is a langosh burger with a cutlet between the cakes. There is also a sweet langosh with fruits, yogurt and chocolate syrup.
A sophisticated version of perkelt. It is prepared with the addition of a sour cream and flour mixture from any meat.
The recipe of the famous Hungarian paprikash is easy to recreate in the home kitchen.
- For chicken paprikash, chop the chicken into several parts, dry the meat.
- Save the onion in 60 g of fat, add a spoonful of sweet pepper, chicken meat, salt and stew until soft. Put a diced tomato.
- Pour the dish with a mixture of 10 g of flour and 75 g of sour cream.
Similarly, mushroom paprikash is prepared, instead of meat – mushrooms. Take a little more paprika, flour and spices: garlic cumin, parsley. Serve paprikash with boiled rice, potatoes or dumplings.
Hungarian goose liver pate is served whole or as an addition to a dish, for example, a turkey stuffed with chestnuts.
Libamai can be made from finely chopped liver soaked in milk, cream, wine or cognac with spices. The prepared mass is still wiped through a sieve.
There are recipes for liver fried in breading from eggs and flour with the same name. The liver should retain a pale pink color and “melt” in the mouth. Libamai with onion jam is served.
A dish of cottage cheese, dumpling, sour cream.
- From unleavened dough prepare chusu – thin pieces of dough in 2-3 cm. They are boiled in salted water and stirred with lard.
- Pureed cottage cheese and sour cream are added to the chusu.
- Before serving, cottage cheese, sour cream and cracklings are once again laid out on top.
Pancakes a la Gundel are the invention of chef Carol Gundel. Pancakes with nutty and cream filling and chocolate gravy are often poured with rum and set on fire, arranging a fire show on the table. The author of the recipe writes that this is wrong. In pancakes, the taste of rum should dominate.
Gundel pancakes are perhaps the most famous pancakes in the world.
Shomloi galuska (somlói galuska)
Shomloi dumplings are a dessert of sponge cakes soaked in rum sprinkled with walnuts. Dark and light cakes alternate, smeared with custard. The top of the dumplings is smeared with cream, sprinkled with nuts and cocoa. Before serving, take out a tablespoon of “dumpling”, lay out on a dish and decorate with whipped cream.
A dessert of puff pastry with cream.
It is prepared as follows:
- Bake 2 cakes from puff pastry.
- One is covered with custard. The second is cut into squares and laid out on top of the cream.
- Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar.
Cake (rigó jancsi)
The origin of this culinary masterpiece, like many Hungarian dishes, is associated with a beautiful history. A small talented violinist from the Gypsy family, Rigo Janos, got into the ensemble of József Barca. Years passed, and the young man performed secondary parts. Yanchi, as everyone called him, left the ensemble and after 2 months played in restaurants in Europe.
In 1896, he entertained visitors to the Paris Payard. At one of the tables sat the Belgian prince Chime with his beautiful wife Clara Ward. For a few seconds, the violinist’s eyes snatched the young princess’s admiring gaze from the twilight. Soon, European newspapers were writing about their whirlwind romance.
This story was covered by all Hungarian newspapers. A Budapest pastry chef came up with a recipe for a new cake: a mousse of whipped cream with chocolate framed by juicy chocolate cakes. Delicious dessert: without unnecessary sweetness, with a delicate creamy taste.
Retesh is a roll of the finest dough. The filling is different: from traditional cherry or apple to cabbage. The recipe is simple, but stretching the dough requires patience. The composition of an unusual ingredient is pork fat. Replacing it with oil affects the structure of the dough.
You need to prepare as follows:
- from 350 g of flour, 2 yolks, 25 g of fat, salted and acidified vinegar water knead the dough;
- grease the dough with fat and give it half an hour to “rest”;
- stretch the dough, dipping your fingers in flour;
- let the thin sheet dry slightly, grease it with fat, put the filling on the dough, roll up, sprinkle with fat and bake until crispy.
A good retesh is obtained from flour with high gluten. In Hungary, it is called retes-flour.
Cottage cheese balls (túrós gombóc)
Turogombots – boiled balls of cottage cheese dough. Ready croquettes are sprinkled with toasted ground breadcrumbs, served with sour cream. Lovers of sweets sprinkle the finished balls with powdered sugar.
Cottage cheese balls are a very tasty and simple dessert that usually appeals to both adults and children.
For the traditional In Hungary retes are suitable for any fillings:
- Fruit is made from grated fruit. The dough is sprinkled with breadcrumbs. Lay out fruit mass, nuts, cinnamon, raisins, powdered sugar.
- The filling of walnuts is also placed on crackers, on top – sugar, raisins, lemon zest.
- For poppy seed filling, poppy seeds and sugar are boiled in milk with lemon zest, after which raisins and grated apples are placed.
- For cabbage in fat, brown a little sugar, add salted chopped cabbage, glove and fry until golden brown. Thin dough is sprinkled with breadcrumbs and cabbage is laid out.
The filling can be with jam, almonds, cottage cheese, chocolate, cherries, plums and even noodles. Before baking, the roll is drizzled with fat.
In 1885, the Hungarian confectioner József Dobos at a ceremony in honor of the Austro-Hungarian ruler Franz Joseph and his wife presented a cake of 6 sponge cakes with chocolate cream and crispy caramel glaze.
The cake is named after its creator, Austrian pastry chef Josef Dobos.
It became a favorite delicacy of Empress Elizabeth. Cooking dobosh is not easy, but one of its main advantages is that it is stored without a refrigerator for at least 10 days.
Almond-chocolate cake (eszterházy torta)
Esterhazi cake appeared in 1847 According to one version, the recipe was invented by Prince Esterházy The Younger. The dessert consists of 5 cakes of egg whites with almonds, layered with cream with cognac. On top, on the sugar glaze, there are patterns of black chocolate watering.
Herbal balm (unicum)
Balm “Tsvak Unicum” was created in 1790 by the court physician of Emperor Joseph II. Medicinal tincture with a strength of 40% is aged in oak barrels. The signature recipe has remained unchanged for 200 years and is kept secret.
Other Hungarian dishes
There are many original dishes in Hungary that you need to try:
- esterhasi fillet;
- steak festival;
- stuffed with chestnuts and goose liver turkey;
Spicy chicks sauce is served with almost all dishes. Only in Hungary you can find Silvasgomboc and pie a la Rákóczi.
Homemade recipes of Hungarian dishes
In the home kitchen, not only bograch and goulash are common. Also popular are:
- chicken cutlets;
- krumpliläves – soup with sausage;
- potato pancakes with mushrooms;
- smoked herring salad, etc.
Tea is served with pancakes with various fillings and delicate coffee cookies in the form of hearts, letters, pretzels.
Secrets of the national cuisine of Hungary
Using different products in one dish, the best cooks of the country achieve a variety of flavor combinations:
- Use animal fat in the heat treatment of food and almost do not use oil. In pork, the qualities of onions and paprikas are fully revealed.
- A large number of spices and spices give dishes piquancy and spiciness.
- Sour cream is present in many soups, sauces, meat dishes.
In Hungary, food is often prepared in various pots. Stewing and languishing of products, so loved by Hungarian chefs, give dishes a special aroma and unforgettable taste.