I wanted a Hungarian cookbook, because I love Hungarian food (If you live in Melbourne, you really should try The Hungarian sometime). I looked online for recommendations and Culinaria Hungary was recommended by many people for both the recipes as well as the explanation of Hungarian culture, origins of food, the people, and the country itself. It certainly is a great book to read through, I spend an afternoon browsing through it before selecting the recipes I was going to make. I certainly have a better appreciation for the country, the food, and can’t wait to visit it in a few years time.
The instructions in this book are not written for a novice cook. If you are new to cooking, you want to cook from several other books (I recommend most Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks) and be familiar with cooking before you use this book. The instructions are just vague enough for an experienced cook to have to read them a couple of times before starting to cook. The recipes are fairly straightforward when you know what you’re doing. The results are tasty, and the servings are ginormous (now added to my dictionary because apparently it wasn’t a word). Overall I give this 4 out of 5, just marking it down for the poor instructions in parts – which I will try and correct where necessary.
Paprikás csirke (Chicken paprika)
- 1 chicken (about 1.2kg) (Or 1.2kg pieces of chicken with skin on)
- 1 large onion
- 2.5 tbsp oil
- 1 heaped tablespoon paprika (mild or sweet)
- 2 capsicums
- 1 large tomato
- 400ml sour cream
- 1 – 2 tbsp flour
- Divide the chicken into pieces (do not skin). Finely chop the onion. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and gently cook the onion, stirring occasionally until it is soft. Remove the pot from the heat, and sprinkle with the ground paprika. Add the chicken pieces, return the pot to the heat, and fry over a high heat for several minutes. Then reduce the heat, season the chicken with salt, and cover with a lid.
- Remove the seeds from the capsicum and slice into rings, reserving a few for garnishing. Peel and seed the tomato, and chop. Add the capsicum rings and the chopped tomato to the chicken and again cover with the lid. (We did this straight after adding salt, there is no indication that you should wait).
- Let simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally, making sure the mixture is not sticking to the pan. Add a little water if it appears to be sticking. Towards the end of the cooking time, tilt the cooking pot from side to side instead of stirring.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and put in a serving dish.
- Combine the sour cream with the flour and stir until smooth. Add the cream to the sauce left in the pot and simmer gently for 4 – 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Notes on this recipe:
- This tasted amazing. Nice and creamy, and just as I hoped it would taste.
- I’ve heavily rewritten the recipe here so that it is easier to follow. The original recipe said “continue cooking until done” which is incredibly vague. It also said that you should cook the onion, but not until what stage.
Sárgarépafőzelék (Creamed carrots)
- 1 kg carrots
- Bunch of parsley
- 40g butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 150ml beef stock (can be any stock)
- 5 tbsp flour
- 200ml milk
- Peel and thinly slice the carrots. Finely chop the parsley. Saute the carrots in hot butter, and season with sugar, parsley and salt. Add the stock and cook for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the flour. Add the milk and heat through. Once the sauce has thickened, serve.
Notes on this recipe
- It was simple and tasty, also the quickest dish to prepare. You can add more stock to make the sauce runnier. You can add other herbs if you like them.
- This dish didn’t need much rewriting
Sárgaborsó főzelék (Vegetable dish of yellow peas)
- 1 small onion
- 500g yellow dried peas (I used split peas)
- 50g lard or copha
- 5tbsp flour
- 2 cloves garlic
- Onion rings
- Oil for Frying
- Peel the onion and leave whole. Place the peas and onion in a saucepan of cold, salted water. Bring to a cook, and cook for about 1 hour, stirring frequently. The peas will cook down into a puree if they are cooked slowly. Further pureeing should then be unnecessary. Remove the onoin at the end of the cooking time.
- In a separate pan, melt the lard and blend the flour into it to form a roux (paste of fat and flour). Add the crushed garlic to the roux. Blend the pea puree and the roux, the reboil thoroughly. Season with pepper.
- Brown some onion rings in oil and scatter on top of the peas to serve.
Notes on this recipe:
- The biggest problem for this recipe is that there is no indication as to how much water you should be cooking the peas in. I kept adding water so the peas would not boil dry and burn. I really don’t know how much water I ended up using, so I’d recommend with a good 5 cm of water over the top of the peas, and adding more water as it evaporates/is absorbed. Towards the end of the cooking though you want a good solid mush of peas, so don’t only add small amounts of water.
- I hate peas, and this just tasted like onion and garlic pease porridge, which is really nice.
- It makes a lot of food, 500g of dried peas expands to a lot of pea.
- I didn’t have time to garnish with onion rings, I think that would have been a nice addition.
- You could also use butter if you didn’t have any lard or copha.