egg barley, gastronomy

There are certain things all Hungarians know, but that might be puzzling for foreigners. This is the case with egg barley soup and egg barley in general. All Hungarian canteens served it in some form every other week. If you want to feel a sense of nostalgia or want a nice warm soup these wintery days, this recipe is for you.

According to, egg barley or ‘tarhonya’ in Hungarian, this egg-based pasta, is a remnant from nomadic Hungarians’ lifestyle. Shepherds who spent all day herding the livestock and wandering from place to place needed something quick and easy to make as a meal. Dried pasta is ideal for this, as it can be stored for long periods of time and goes nicely with a number of different dishes. Today, it is still popular to have egg barley on the side of stews or ragouts.

egg barley, gastronomy

Egg barley probably came to Hungary during the Ottoman occupation. Interestingly, the Hungarian word ‘tarhonya’ first referred to scraps of meat. It was only around 1788 that the word got associated with dried pasta.

Although it may look like it, egg barley is not actually dried pasta; making it is very labour-intensive, even though it only has three ingredients: eggs, salt and flour. Two sieves of different sizes were needed to get the desired shape and size of egg barley, and they needed to dry out thoroughly after that. Luckily, egg barley production has been mechanised since then, and you can easily get it from any shop in Hungary. If you like a challenge, however, feel free to make your own at home; it will definitely taste better.

Egg barley soup

soup, egg barley, gastronomy


30 g smoked bacon, chopped

100 g dry egg barley

2 l water

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tomato, peeled and chopped

1 pepper, sliced

200 g potatoes, diced

some parsley, finely chopped


Fry the chopped bacon in a pot until crispy. Add the egg barley and fry it until it turns light brown, stirring continuously. Remove it from the stove for a while, sprinkle the paprika on top, then give it a few stirs so that it covers the egg barley. Add the water and put it back on the stove. Add the tomato, the pepper and the salt as well. When the egg barley is halfway to being cooked, add the potatoes, too. Cook until the potatoes as well as the egg barley are tender. If they soak up too much water, feel free to add some more.

When the soup is done, sprinkle the parsley on top, then it is ready to serve.

Enjoy! 😉

For last week’s punch cake recipe, click here.

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Source: Daily News Hungary

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