Every foodie out there, who is craving to flex his or her cooking muscle,should definitely get acquainted with the traditional Hungarian cuisine. Authentic Hungarian culinary art is a perfect blend of Germanic, Italian, with a little touch of Slavic cooking traditions; their influence is unmistakable. To the majority of Hungarians food is an ethos of the whole national culture. Highly orchestrated flavors define the conventional Magyar gastronomy; rich textures, phenomenal aromas and unique spices infiltrated all the major traditional delicacies.
For those of readers, who have a passion for food, there are some quintessential dishes of the Hungarian cuisine one should definitely know about.
Gulyás (Goulash): An epitome of the original Magyar gastronomy – one of the most popular soups of the region. This delicacy takes on wonderful flavors of the fresh beef, potatoes, vegetables, and seasoned with a generous amount of paprika.
Halászlé (Fisherman’s Soup): Another quintessential part of the Hungarian culinary art. It is a river fish broth, which is typically intensely seasoned with paprika and several other piquant herbs. Traditionally this soup is cooked outside, over a fire, for several hours. That instantly brings out the intensity of the flavors. The fish, its main ingredient, is always locally sourced from the Danube or Tisza.
Meggyleves (Sour Cherry Soup): During a hot summer season nothing can refresh better than a plate of this authentic Hungarian soup. Usually this meal is served chilled, giving a sense of reinvention to the canonic understanding of the soups. Its main ingredients are: sour cherries, sour cream and sugar.
Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash): From its name one can already guess that the most important element of all is, of course, paprika. One of the most recognizable dishes of the Hungarian gastronomic feast is blend of a creamy, spicy sauce with a soft fresh chicken. Traditionally served with so-called nokeldi (dumplings).
This particular side dish has a dumpling-like texture to it, however, it is considered to be noodles. Some genius has come up with its recipe to accompany stews and meats.
Túrós Csusza (Cottage Cheese Noodles): It is an original meal of the Magyar cuisine. Wide noodles are mixed with a cottage cheese, with a little twist to it – tiny pieces of fatty bacon are added along the way, to create diversity of flavors.
Pörkölt (Meat Stew): This rich stew is usually made of beef or chicken. Meat, alongside tomatoes, onions and paprika are cooked on the open air, over the fire. A wondrous side dish option: nokedli.
Gesztenyepüré (Chestnut Purée): An absolute Hungarian dessert specialty. A blend of chestnut purée, sugar and rum. Usually served with a whipped cream.
Dobostorta (Dobos Cake):
A guilty pleasure of every Hungarikum admirer. A sponge cake, layered with chocolate butter-cream, frosted with a crystallized caramel and nuts on the edges, adding a complexity of flavor.
Somlói Galuska (Somloi Trifle): Purely sweet cake, made of three different types of sponge cakes: chocolate, plain and walnut; with an undertone of the rum, which is present in the dark chocolate sauce; studded with raising and walnuts and glazed with whipped cream.
Tokaji Aszú (Aszu wine from Tokaj): Full-bodied, fruity, dessert wine from Hungary’s finest wine region – Tokaj. A vibrant flavor of the Tokaji Aszú wine is admired by thousands of people all over the globe.
And of course, Paprika: phenomenon of the original Magyar culinary art. This authentic Hungarian spice can vary in colour and pungency. Paprika instantly enhances the flavor of any meal, simply creating an inimitable taste.
There are many more amazing Hungarian delicacies: from home-style meals to simply phenomenal, decadent creations. However, it is important we leave some of them untold. That way, every one of you will get a chance to venture into unknown and enjoy the pleasure of discovering these hidden treasures of the Hungarian culture.
by Ekaterina Egorova