Hello my dearest Readers!
I’ve decided to start kind of a series about food. If you know you know I’m a foodie, so that must not be a big surprise. So in my last post I was
talking writing about traditional and most popular English food for breakfast and main courses. As you may have noticed earlier, I uploaded my last post only in Hungarian language. After thinking about it quite a lot, I thought it might be boring for you guys who already know these dishes very very well, but I really wanted to share these things with the Hungarians. Here we go know, it’s time for you to get know the Hungarian cuisine a bit better.
As in the other blog post, let’s start with breakfast which I think is (or should be) the most important meal of the day. I really like having breakfast especially when I have enough time to prepare it and take the time to eat it as long as I want. Here are some typical Hungarian alternatives:
- Bread and toppings – As we don’t have a specific name for the most common breakfast we eat I think this sums it up well. Usually we start the day with a slice of bread (white, brown, or I really like rye) or roll or crescent, some margarine or butter and several toppings. As for me, I can’t really imagine this kind of breakfast without any cheese. In Hungary cheddar cheese is not so widespread, the most popular is the Trappist. Another important part is some kind of meat: it can either be a cold cooked ham or chicken breast just like here in the UK, salami or some sausage. In Hungary, sausages are different to the UK ones, they can often be spicy, smoked or made with lot of paprika. They are usually dry, as well. Now, to make this meaty and cheesy sandwich complete, we like to eat it with some vegetables, for example tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, radish, spring onions, red onions. So, this is one kind of sandwich. We can also top our slice of bread with some fruit jam, the best are the homemade ones. We always have homemade jams at home, because during the summer my mom and my grandma like to make a lot that lasts through the whole year. I think I’ve never bought a jar of jam in my whole life (and I feel very lucky to be able to say that). I would like to share with you another topping which is quite common in Hungary and it’s going to freak the hell out of you my British friends. It’s basically quark with onions, paprika, salt and pepper and you can simply spread it over your slice of bread. No surprise, it’s best homemade but you can also buy it in the shops. It’s really fresh, tasty and nutritious.
- Eggs – Just as you do, we like to have eggs for breakfast. Poached eggs are not popular in Hungary, we rather eat boiled eggs instead, typically with bread, ham and vegetables. I like to eat fried eggs only with plain bread or a roll. And it’s the same with scrambled eggs to which we often like to add some onions or peppers or cheese.
- French toast – A real treat for Hungarian children, usually with some tea. Yumm! We make it without sugar or cinnamon, so it’s rather salty and we eat it on its very own. Nothing else is necessary to make someone happy…
- Semolina porridge – An alternative for the oat porridge. It can be eaten on its own (the milk is already sweet), sprinkled with some cocoa powder or cinnamon.
After we have fought our way through loads and loads of bread and things you can have it with, let’s check out some dishes eaten typically for lunch (main meal of the day). Heavier or lighter, you can choose which one you would try (or not).
- Soups – In Hungary, soups are very common starters and unlike in the UK the most of them are not creamy but made with water, oil, meat and vegetables. The most famous is the goulash, which is a very warming and rich soup with pork or beef cubes, potatoes, carrots, lot of paprika and onion. Another typical soup is the “meat soup” usually made with chicken, that’s why we call it “hen soup”, as well. This is also a filling soup with the meat, some carrots and thin noodles and it has a lovely bright yellow colour. The last soup which is very popular, too, is the rich bean soup with smoked bacon or ham, carrots, onions – you can add dumplings or sour cream to make it even more satisfying!
- Chicken paprikash – Half fried – half cooked chicken pieces in silky sauce made of sour cream, onions, sweet paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Usually served with dumplings called “nokedli”. Just lovely!
- Stews – Meat stews are traditional Hungarian dishes made with onions and paprika. The most common meats are pork, beef and chicken and it’s served with dumplings or mash potato and pickles to balance the heavy stew with a touch of sour flavour. Red wine can be a nice extra to any stews to make it more special.
- Vegetable sauces (főzelék) – Thicker than a soup but thinner than a stew, these dishes are the nightmare of every Hungarian children (especially the one called “delicious vegetable sauce”). There are endless variations, and to be honest there are some great ones and some bad ones. The preparation method is quite easy: you boil the vegetable of your choice and you add sour cream or flour with some butter to thicken the potion. Onions and paprika are common additions to it. We can eat it alone or top it with some fried eggs, meatballs with garlic, fried sausage. My favourite types are spinach and pea.
- Stuffed peppers/cabbage – I believe these are not the favourite of everyone again, but quite common in Hungary. The stuffing is basically spiced rice and minced meat, and it goes into the peppers or cabbage leaves. While the stuffed peppers are cooked in thick tomato sauce and served with boiled potatoes, the cabbages are cooked in their own juice and water and are rather savoury and usually sprinkled with some sour cream. Again heavy and filling but delicious.
- Quark pasta – You will see that Hungarians have many many different ways to eat quark. This dish is one of them. And this dish can be eaten at least three different ways (I can think of three right now). The base is a simple cooked pasta with some quark on top. And here’s where you can really personalize it. You can have it as a side dish with catfish paprikash. You can sprinkle it with fried bacon and add some sour cream (and salt if you’d like). You can add just sour cream and salt. Or you can add sour cream and sugar – as I like it. A very divisive dish…
I think this is the end of my little Hungarian food documentary. I’m sorry if it’s a bit too long, but I really wanted to share a little piece of my little culture with you. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have! Check back later for some mouthwatering Hungarian desserts! 😉
Bye for now and kisses. F.