Friday, August 31, 2007

Hungarian red paprika

The first pepper plants arrived in Hungary during the l7th century. Some say they were brought by Turks, who occupied the country at the time and who grew the plants under strict guard in the central courtyards of their homes--threatening any Hungarians who wished to grow them with decapitation. Others believe pepper plants were introduced by ethnic groups from the Balkans, who were fleeing north from the Turks. This last theory is the most likely, since the towns of Szeged and Kalocsa, which compete against each other for the title of "Paprika capital," are both in the southern part of the Great Plain, close to the Balkans.

Henceforth, records kept by pepper growers and old cookbooks show that paprika became commonly used as a spice in Hungary at the end of the l8th century. Later, it was French chef Auguste Escoffier who introduced it to western European cuisine. In 1879 he had the red powder brought from Szeged on the river Tisza to Monte Carlo, where he brought fame and recognition to this "Hungarian spice" in the noble kitchens of the Grand Hotel.

Related links:
Kalocsa Paparika Museum

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Lángos (fried dough)

Again something, what I've never made by myself, but in my childhood my mum used to bake for us.

Lángos (pronounced LAHN-gosh) is a Hungarian food speciality, a deep fried flat bread made of potato-based dough. It is sometimes rubbed with garlic, but can also be eaten with sour cream, grated cheese. (I love to eat with garlic, sour cream and cheese :) ) It may be cooked at home or bought from street vendors.

The name comes from láng, the Hungarian word for flame, because traditionally it was baked in the front of the brick oven, close to the flames. It was originally made from bread dough and was served as breakfast on the days when new bread was baked. Now that people no longer have brick ovens and usually do not bake bread at home, lángos is usually fried in oil.

Have a look at Kayakman's entry about the "lángos in Szentendre"

If you want to make it at home the recipe is here.
200 gram Flour
2 Cooked, baked potato,mashed
½ teaspoon Salt
1 pack dry yeast
1 tablespoon Oil
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 cup Milk, lukewarm
1 cup Oil, to fry

Let the yeast grow in 1/2 cup of lukewarm sweetened milk for 10 minutes. Add mixture to the flour. Add one tablespoon of oil. Add the mashed potatoes. Add salt. Add as much warm milk as needed to make a soft bread dough. Work the dough well, for at least 15 minutes, until smooth. On a warm place let it rise for one hour (or until doubled in bulk). Make little balls from the dough and then flatten them in your hand by pulling it to the size of a large saucer. Fry then in hot oil. Toppings: Sour cream, or grated cheese, or garlic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hungarian hen soup (tyúkhúsleves)


• 3 pound hen (or chicken) (parts disjointed, sometimes I like to remove the skin)
• 4 or 5 carrots, whole
• 1 whole parsley root with greens on top
• 1 or 2 onions
• 1 kohlrabi (when in season)
• 2 or 3 ribs of celery
• 2 cloves garlic
• 4 qts. of water
• 1 1/2 Tbls. salt
• 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
• slice of savoy cabbage
• little slice of green paprika

1. Wash and clean the hen pieces, and pot in a large pot with water, skimming the scum off when starting soup to boil.
2. Clean and cut up the vegetables.
3. Put all the vegetables and spices in the pot.
4. Cook under a low flame until the hen is soft.
5. Strain and serve with cooked vermicelli.

The Hungarian Újházy hen soup is similar like this, but not the same. Újházy hen soup consists of a little bit more ingredients (for example tomato, mushrooms and green peas).

Ede Újházy was a well known actor in the beginning of the 20th century. The legend says that Ede Újházy used to make this soup by himself and one day he told his special recipe to the chef in a restaurant, which was one of the most famous in Budapest that time. On next occasion this chef had been waiting for Ede Újházy with the delicious hen soup that he'd cooked from the recipe of Újházy.
"This soup can restore to health the sick and the healthy can be in bloom from this soup". says the legend.
The legend was noted by Gyula Krúdy.

Hungarian barbecue (rablóhús)

It's similar like my grill, but not the same. This is another dish that we usually can find on the Hungarian events.

Rabló hús

Skewer some brest of chikens, onions, muschroom, sirolin and bacon and roast on the spit!

Anyway I took this photo on the "Summer on the Chain Bridge" event in Budapest.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Liverwurst and blood pudding (májas hurka, véres hurka)

I captured this picture on “Summer on the Chain Bridge” event in Budapest, like the Hungarian pretzel and the chimney cake.


Blood sausage or black pudding or blood pudding (in Hungarian vére hurka) is a sausage made by cooking down the blood of an animal with meat, fat or filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. In the West, pig or cattle blood is most often used, sheep and goat blood are used to a lesser extent, while blood from poultry is very seldom used. In fact, there are ancient references to sausages made with blood. In Hungary, veres hurka is made with rice, pig's blood and pork. (source:

Hungarian Pretzel


The “perec” (Hungarian pretzel) is one of the foods (beside the chimney cake) that we find on all of the Hungarian events. Saying the truth I have never baked it, but if you want to bake yourself, I searched the recipe out for you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kürtöskalács (Chimney cake)

Kürtöskalács is the oldest Hungarian pastry. It translates as chimney cake. It is originated form Transylvania. It was originally made by wrapping the dough around the chimney pipes.
You can find more information about it here.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Hungarian bean soup (bableves) with "csipetke"

Bean soup is one of the best dishes before the pancake. We usually cook it with smoked knuckle of pork or with sausage. As you can see I prefer the version with sausage.
Ingredients: 150-200 gram drained speckled beans (soaked in cold water over night); 500-600 g smoked knuckle of pork, or sausage (sliced), carrot, parsley root (sliced), parsley 1 small onion, celery, water, and salt (to taste). Place sausage, onion, salt and beans and the vegetables in a large soup kettle. Fill kettle about 1/2 full of water and cook these ingredients about 2 hours. And make a roux. Ingredients for roux: 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of flour, paprika , 2 or 3 clove of garlic.
If you like “csipetke” (hungarian salt pinched dumpling) make it and put it into your soup!
Ingredients for csipetke: 1 egg, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup flour. Place flour on a small board, make a well in the flour, add salt and egg, mix taking up the flour bit by bit. Knead well. This should be very stiff dough. Stretch by hand into a plate size circle and pinch off bean-size bits to drop into soup.