Hungarian recipes I.


Most people already know about paprika and the much traveled Hungarian goulash, but there is more to authentic Hungarian cuisine. We will be adding new dishes regularly to our list of Hungarian recipes. If you know of a good Hungarian recipe or would like to see a specific dish on the list please send us a note. Be sure to try a Hungarian cooking class when visiting Budapest.

Hungarian recipes I.
Hungarian recipes I.

Meet a very popular Hungarian street food speciality, lángos. It's a deep fried flat bread made of a dough with flour, yeast, salt and water (a kind of bread dough). Lángos can be made with yoghurt, sour cream or milk instead of water, a dash of sugar along with salt and sometimes with flour and boiled mashed potatoes, which is called potato lángos. It is eaten fresh and warm, topped with sour cream and grated cheese, garlic or garlic butter, or doused with garlic water. Lángos can be cooked at home or bought at markets and street vendors around the country. The name comes from 'láng', the Hungarian word for flame.

Traditionally, lángos was baked in the front of a brick oven, close to the flames. It was made from bread dough and was served as breakfast on days when new bread was baked. Nowadays, lángos is deep fried in oil. Lángos is also very popular and known as a fast food at fairs and in amusement parks in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia and Romania.

The ingredients (makes about 10 lángos, depending on the size)

  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 7 g dried (instant) yeast
  • 250 ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • sunflower oil (for frying)
  • toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, garlic

The how-to

In a mug, dissolve the salt in the water. In a bowl, combine the sifted flour with the yeast. Add the salty water to it and stir thoroughly (if it's very sticky, add a little bit more flour). Work the dough with a wooden spoon or with your hands until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the bowl. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and let it rise for 30-40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Once it is rested, carefully tip out the dough onto a floured surface, stretch it out into a square and cut out about 10 cm (3,93 inch) round shapes with a big glass (a big cookie cutter also works). Stretch out each piece with your fingers into a round shape with the centre being thinner than the edges. Let the pieces rest for another 30 minutes on the floured surface.

In a saucepan, heat sunflower oil. Place the lángos into the hot oil, fry it on one side until golden brown then turn. Repeat with the remaining lángos dough.

Serve while it's hot. You can eat it simple or sprinkled with chopped garlic or doused with garlic water and topped with grated cheese and sour cream.

Hungarian recipes I.

Winter is the season for hearty Hungarian dishes. Cabbage is a favorite winter food that can be prepared in many delicious ways. Stuffed cabbage is one of the most popular classics and it usually makes the Christmas and New Year's Eve menus in most homes. Preparing the dish is time-consuming but not difficult and the result is well worth the effort. Stuffed cabbage rolls come in many variations, the filling can be ground pork, beef or chicken, the sauce can be plain or tomato based and adding smoked meat and/or sausage will only enhance the flavors. Here is a recipe I go to for my winter stuffed cabbage fix.

The ingredients:
(for 6)

  • 12 cabbage leaves
  • 2 pounds of sauerkraut
  • 1 pound of fresh ground pork
  • 3/4 pounds of smoked ribs
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup of rice
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • paprika, salt and black pepper to taste
  • oil
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • sour cream

The how-to:

Partially cook the rice in a bowl and sauté half of the finely chopped onions. Let them cool down. Mix the ground pork, onions, garlic, rice and egg in a bowl. Add the salt, black pepper and a teaspoon of paprika and mix everything together thoroughly.

Remove the heavy ribs from the cabbage leaves and place equal amounts of the ground pork mixture in the middle of the leaves. Fold and roll the leaves.

Take a larger pot, spread about 1/3 of the sauerkraut on the bottom, add some of the remaining chopped onions and place some smoked ribs and a layer of the stuffed cabbages. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients. Finish with a layer of sauerkraut. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Add the bay leaves, a teaspoon of paprika and some pepper. Cover and let it cook on medium heat for about two hours. Adding salt is usually not necessary, as the sauerkraut and the smoked meat are already salty.

In a saucepan make a light broth from 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of flour and a teaspoon of paprika. Add a few tablespoons of water (from the pot) for a smooth, creamy texture. Remove the stuffed cabbages and the smoked meat from the pot, reduce the heat, add the hot broth to the sauerkraut. Bring it to a boil and thicken the sauerkraut (it takes about 3 minutes). Place the stuffed cabbages and the smoked meat back onto the sauerkraut, add some sour cream and your Hungarian stuffed cabbages are ready for serving.

Hungarian recipes I.

Hungarian cuisine isn’t all about heavy meat stews and hearty dishes with an overdose of paprika. Főzelék, which probably translates best as creamed vegetables, is a very popular Hungarian main dish.

Hungary produces plenty of vegetables and as kids we grew up on főzelék, which was not only prepared at home but was also one of the most common dishes served in school cafeterias. Every kid loves ’zöldborsófőzelék’, made of sweet green peas, while ’tökfőzelék’, made of summer squash, is probably their least-liked. Főzelék is a seasonal dish, as it’s best made from garden fresh vegetables (however canned or frozen veggies can also be used). In the summer different types of creamed vegetables are available in restaurants throughout the city. Főzelék is so popular that there are Hungarian restaurant chains dedicated to it.


Főzelék is quick and easy to make and almost any type of vegetable can be used. Green peas, spinach, summer squash, green beans, lentils and beans are the most popular. There are several variations and most households have their own recipe. Basically, főzelék is cooked vegetables thickened with roux. Depending on the vegetable used and personal taste, roux can be prepared either by mixing flour with hot oil or butter, or mixing flour with sour cream. Some recipes call for adding milk, which makes spinach and green peas especially tasty. Some recipes add garlic and/or fresh herbs like parsley or dill. Főzelék is usually served with eggs, roasted or fried meat or meat loaf.

I love főzelék and I have my own super healthy creamed vegetable recipe with a twist. It uses potatoes for thickening instead of a roux-based sauce. Try my version of ‘finomfőzelék’ or ’tasty creamed vegetables’ made with green peas, carrots and kohlrabi.

The ingredients:

  • 250 grams green peas
  • 150 grams diced carrots
  • 150 grams diced kohlrabi
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Parsley
  • 2 dl milk
  • 1 vegetable cube (or bouillon cube)

The how-to:

Cut the potatoes in half and add them to 4dl of water together with the vegetable cube. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the peas, carrots, kohlrabi, sugar and 2 dl of milk. Cook for another 15-20 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft). Remove the potatoes and mash them using a hand mixer until creamy. Add the potatoes back with the vegetables and cook for about two more minutes, while stirring constantly. It's simple and quick. Serve with eggs or fried meat.

Hungarian recipes I.

Sour cherry soup is a traditional summertime treat in Hungary, where it is known asmeggyleves (sour cherry soup), hideg meggyleves (chilled sour cherry soup),cseresznyeleves (cherry soup), meggykeszőce, or cibere.

Every Hungarian family has its own unique recipe for sour cherry soup. In Hungary, this soup is generally served before the main course and the cherries are un-pitted, but many Americans consider it a dessert and prefer pitted cherries and whipped cream. This recipe is simple to make and the result is a truly refreshing and delicious soup.

Ingredients, serves 4-6:

  • 500 g (1.1 pound) sour cherry (fresh or preserved, pitted)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 6-7 pieces of cloves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (or cream) to thicken
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • and optionally: 100 ml (1/2 cup) red wine

Add the cherries and the sugar to 1 liter (33.8 ounces) of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the cinnamon sticks and cloves to the cherry soup. Cook it for about 10 minutes or until the cherries are soft.

In a medium-sized bowl add the sour cream, the flour and a pinch of salt to a cup of the hot cherry liquid and mix until smooth. Add the mixture to the cherry soup. Carefully simmer for about 5 minutes without boiling. Optionally, add the red wine to the soup to give the cherries a special flavor.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and the cloves. Let it cool down and put the cherry soup in the refrigerator until chilled. Serve cold on a hot summer day.

Hungarian recipes I.

Hungarians like stuffed vegetables. Whether it is cabbage, kohlrabi or pepper, stuffed vegetables are on the menu in every household. Hungary is a major pepper producer, and paprikas come in all colors, shapes and sizes. There is even a type of yellow pepper called ‘TV Paprika’, which is short for ‘paprika to stuff’.

Hungarian stuffed peppers aren’t really Hungarian. This recipe has Turkish origins and was adopted by Hungarians during the Turkish occupation in the 16 and 17th centuries.

Hungarian yellow peppers give this dish its distinct taste, although any kind of bell peppers can be used. Multicolored bell peppers have thicker skin and may take longer to cook.

This is an easy recipe to prepare and impress your friends with. There are many different ways to make stuffed peppers and the recipe below is the way my family has been making this tasty dish for generations.

The ingredients:

  • 5-6 Hungarian yellow peppers
  • 1 pounds of fresh ground pork
  • 1 liter (34 ounces) of tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup of rice
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, black pepper, paprika and sugar to taste
  • parsley, chopped
  • oil
  • 2 tablespoons of flour

The how-to:

Mix the ground pork, onion, garlic, rice and eggs in a bowl. Add the salt, black pepper, parsley and paprika and mix everything together thoroughly. Put the mixture in the fridge and let it settle for a few hours.

Wash and de-core the peppers and remove the seeds and the membranes. Take a larger pot, add the tomato sauce, add 1 liter of water, salt and sugar to taste and stir until it comes to a slow boil.

Now it’s time to stuff the peppers with the meat-rice mixture. Be sure to leave some room, as the rice will expand when cooked. Form meatballs from the remaining stuffing and place them in the simmering tomato sauce along with the stuffed peppers. The sauce should cover the peppers and meatballs, so if needed add some more water. Cover and let it cook for about 50 minutes.

In a saucepan make a light brown broth from 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of flour. Remove the stuffed peppers and the meatballs from the pot, reduce the heat, add the hot broth and stir until you get a smooth sauce. You can also use a stick blender to smooth the sauce. Bring it to boil, and when the sauce thickens (it takes about 3 minutes) add the peppers and meatballs back into the sauce. Heat thoroughly and your Hungarian stuffed pepper dish is ready for serving.

Hungarian recipes I.

Chicken Paprikash (paprikás csirke in Hungarian) is a dish with no "official" recipe. It has many variations. Almost everyone prepares it differently, yet it’s a classic Hungarian dish. Here is a popular way of preparing chicken parikash.

The ingredients:

(for 6)

  • 4 ½ pounds chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh, medium tomato
  • 1 cup of green pepper
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of Hungarian paprika
  • salt
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 1 ¼ cups of sour cream
  • plus: 4 cups of flour, 1 large egg, salt, 2 tablespoons oil for the 'Galushka' dumplings

The how-to:

Fry the onions to a light yellow color. Lower the heat, add the paprika and stir it rapidly (so the paprika doesn't burn). Add the meat and add salt. When the meat is well browned, add a small amount of water (or stock), spices and herbs (some people add marjoram, caraway seeds and some 'Vegeta', which is a mixture of various herbs and vegetables). Add the cubed green peppers and tomato. Cover the pot, let it simmer, and stir occasionally adding more water if necessary, but do not boil the meat.

When the meat is tender (about 1.5 - 2 hours), mix the flour and the sour cream and add the mixture to the pot to thicken the gravy. Instead of stirring it, shake the pot side-to-side to, so you don't brake the meat.

Serve it with small ‘Galushka' dumplings.

Hungarian recipes I.

You've likely heard of Goulash (Gulyás), the world-famous soup that is so filling it could easily be a meal on its own. Gulyás is a typical Hungarian food. It's a soup and not a stew (pörkölt), as it is sometimes mistakenly referred to.

The ingredients:

(for 6)

  • 2 pounds lean beef, cut into 2" pieces
  • 5 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh tomato, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 fresh, medium size green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 pounds of potatoes
  • 4 teaspoons of Hungarian paprika, salt, caraway seeds
  • plus: 3/4 cup flour, 1 egg and salt for the 'Csipetke' soup-pasta

The how-to:

Fry the chopped onion until it's golden yellow. Lower the heat, add the paprika and stir it rapidly (so the paprika doesn't burn). Add the meat and keep on stirring, add salt.

When the meat is browned and it let out its own juices add the caraway seeds, the finely chopped garlic and a small amount of cold water. Cover and braise the meat slowly. Stir it occasionally and add water if necessary. The meat should be braised and NOT boiled.

Just before the meat is completely tender (this can take about 1,5 hours, depending on the meat) cube and add the potatoes, green pepper and tomato. Add some more (2-3 cups) water.

Prepare the 'Csipetke' soup-pasta. Mix ¾ cup flour, 1 egg and a little salt and stir it into a stiff dough. Roll it out on a floured board and pinch small bean-size pieces out of it. When the potato is almost cooked add the pasta bits to the boiling soup and stir. Cook the soup for about 5 more minutes. The pasta is cooked when it rises to the surface. (If you don't feel like making 'Csipetke', you can add any kind of pasta, preferably small, used for soups.)

Goulash has many variations, even in Hungary. In some regions it is prepared with mixed vegetables (1-2 carrots, parsnips and celery) and the amount of potatoes is reduced to 1,5 pounds. Some people omit the pasta and eat the Goulash with bread. It's delicious any way you prepare it. If you want to reproduce the authentic flavor, use stock instead of water.

When in Budapest, you can take a cooking class and learn how to cook Goulash along with many other Hungarian dishes.

Hungarian recipes I.

Almost any kind of meat can be used when making Hungarian meat stew (pörkölt). Most common are beef, lamb, chicken, veal and pork, but tripe and liver are also used. The key is, that the sauce should not be thickened. It should be flavorful and just barely cover the meat. There are different stew variations from region to region. In most parts of Hungary, pörkölt is made with beef or pork. The most often used cuts are the juicy neck, blade and breast. A traditional beef stew is prepared as follows:


(for 6)

  • 2 ½ pounds beef
  • 7 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 fresh, medium size green peppers
  • 4 teaspoons of Hungarian paprika, salt, caraway seeds

Slightly fry the onions. Lower the heat, add the paprika and stir it rapidly (so the paprika doesn't burn). Add the meat and add salt. When the meat is well browned, add a small amount of water (or stock), spices and herbs. Cover the pot, simmer, stir occasionally and add more water if necessary, but do not boil the meat; it should be almost fried.

When the meat begins to soften add the cubed green pepper and tomato and simmer until the meat is tender. Serve it with small 'Galushka' dumplings (see Chicken Paprikash for the recipe) and dill pickles on the side. Instead of 'Galushka' you can also serve the stew with boiled potatoes or noodles.

Adding a cup of Hungarian red wine makes this dish even more delicious.

Forrás: visitbudapest.travel


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