Have you ever tried the traditional Hungarian stew, the so-called ’pörkölt’? What does it exactly? How it looks like, and what is the taste of it!?
According to its “definition”, ‘pörkölt’ is a roasted meat with (often made from beef – named as Hungarian beef stew as well or geese), tomatoes, peppers and onions, served with the Hungarian ‘nudli’, that is, the ‘nokedli’ as home-made pasta.
Why is it so great? How could this meal be the main part of the so famous Hungarian cuisine? Stew is often cooked outdoors in a kettle, in a traditional and heavy Hungarian metal pot. Outdoor stew with fine bread and some wine is the foundation of a great company. Hungarian culinary culture is the result of more than a thousand years of historical development based on the good natural conditions of Hungary and the heritage of centuries of traditional animal husbandry, plant production and manufactory food production. The reason for using pork and fat, characterizing the Hungarian cooking habits, could date back to the Turkish times, known Hungarian meat dish is Hungarian stew. It can be made from pork, beef, lamb, chicken or fish, sometimes mushrooms cooked with tomatoes, paprika, pepper and many onions. The most important factor of cooking a perfect Hungarian beef stew is the meat actually.
Moreover, the amount of onion… some says onions can give the sauce, swearing its great amount. Although the too much onion will make the stew sweet, suppressing the taste of beef. Oil or fat? Or bacon? Avoid oil surely, using fat is better than bacon but by adding some bacon, the stew could have a smoky flavour, tastier and softer. Even do not miss the red pepper! Add it to the roast after the meat has been roasted but has not been watered yet. While roasting, it is important to refill the liquid with water constantly instead of adding the total amount at the very beginning. Finally, in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking, add some prime red wine to be more characteristic.
Have you ever wondered what kind of first impression tourists have after leaving Budapest? Does everyone coming to Hungary still remember only red peppers and stew?
One the one hand, onions and oil… we start everything with onions fried in so much fat not only for the reason to make a roasted meat but also use it for starting a soup or a lot of one-course meals. On the other hand, paprika and potatoes everywhere. The trinity of pepper-onion-fat seems to be outstanding and essential parts of the Hungarian cuisine. Using peppers in everything either fresh salad or pasta, stew, goulash, paprika with potatoes, ‘lecsó’ and so on.
Fortunately, the Hungarian cuisine is so rich and impressive, offering many specialties you must taste while staying in the country. Some examples I have to mention…
Goulash is one of the most famous of all Hungarian dishes, although today not everyone knows the origin of this Hungarian specialty. It is named after the goulash kept by the cattle. Each region of Hungary has its own goulash species, but in terms of texture it is generally located between the soup and the vegetable, and contains beef (sometimes veal or pork), potatoes, spices and peppers. The history of the Goulash dates back to the 9th century, but it became a symbol of the Hungarians only in the 1800s.
Fish soup, like goulash, is a real Hungarian dish, and it is worth cooking in a kettle for real flavors. The soup can contain a variety of fish (carp, catfish, perch or pike) and tastes a good amount of red pepper, giving it its distinctive red color. There are many variations around the country.
We have perfected our specialties so it is no wonder that certain dishes have become an integral part of our cultural heritage.
All in all, once you will have the opportunity to visit our country – not only Budapest-, besides sightseeing and discovering the many beautiful places of interests, do not leave the chance to taste some traditional Hungarian meals mentioned above. Surely, you would find the best!