Hungarians do not eat an extreme amount of fish, not even in a European context – some say Hungarians eat less than a fifth of the average amount of fish consumed per person in Europe. However, some dishes made with fish are still important to Hungarian gastronomy.
In Hungary, an important part of the Christmas menu is the fish soup, for instance. In fact, the fish soup of the Tisza region became an official hungaricum in 2017. The majority of Hungarians’ fish consumption actually comes from these two – Christmas celebrations and the traditions of fish soup-making, especially in the Tisza region. Some of the most popular fish kinds are pike, trout, catfish and carp.
Catfish stew with cottage cheese pasta
Catfish stew is a very popular dish in Hungary. If you combine it with cottage cheese pasta, you not only experience a unique taste sensation but you also get to experience the wonders of another ingredient Hungarians love, namely, cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is actually a very diverse ingredient as it can be used for both sweet and savoury meals. So, you cannot go wrong by pairing a nice catfish with some cottage cheese pasta, and afterwards, you can even finish off your meal with another Hungarian delicacy, the Rákóczi cottage cheese cake, for example.
For the recipe to try at home, click HERE.
Hungarian fish soup
Just like the famous Hungarian goulash, the delicious fish soup also resulted from the harmony that existed between people and nature. Even though fish meals have been around for much longer, due to the core ingredient of this dish – paprika -, we connect it to the 19th century. Fish soup is most commonly made out of carp. When the weather is good, Hungarians like to go outside and prepare it in a “bogrács”, meaning that it can become a community activity, too. If you visit Hungary, trying our fish soup is a must 😉
If you feel like making your own at home, follow THIS recipe.
Carp in aspic
A special way of preparing food in Hungary is making “kocsonya” or aspic in English. You can use fish or pork, too. It is usually consumed in the winter period, especially around Christmas and New Year’s. The main ingredients of a good Hungarian carp in aspic are paprika, red onions, tomatoes and green peppers, but the recipe can vary from household to household. For a more precise recipe and some fun facts about the dish, click HERE.
Carp Serbian style / rácponty
Rácponty or carp Serbian style is another popular dish in Hungarian households. There are many ways of preparing it: you can use smaller pieces of fish or cook the carp as a whole. The main ingredients include carp, potatoes, bacon, sour cream, tomato, red onions, peppers and paprika. With this dish, you can also get a taste of traditional Hungarian gastronomy, with the presence of popular combinations such as sour cream and paprika seen in numerous other Hungarian staple dishes.
In Hungary, excess greaves are often used up by making a spread out of it and pairing it with some toast or some nice fresh bread. However, in the region near Szeged, for instance, fish greaves can serve as an appetiser, often before fish soup as the main dish, but it can be a main course equally well. It is often accompanied by some fried onions or fresh red onions. Paprika is an important part of this recipe, too, proving once again what an integral part it plays in Hungarian gastronomy.