Goulash Gulyás Everywhere

Following up on my last post on markets, here’s a bit more about my trip to Budapest Central Market …

Goulash gulyás everywhere. We must be in Hungary!

I had my first bowl of this famous soup in a little étterem just outside of Budapest’s Central Market.  Truth be told, the first spoonful reminded me Campbell’s Vegetable soup. However a dollop of hot paprika paste quickly lifted it from bland to tasty. Packed with meat and potatoes and partnered with some excellent bread, it was a fine lunch.

The essential ingredient in goulash is paprika and the finest paprika is sold in the Central Market. This particular stall sold all kinds of paprika but they also made their own. Lined up on display, the packages looked like artisan ground coffee. Certainly, they were as fragrant. I purchased a couple bags to take home. But you know how fresh coffee can smell so delightful in the shop but overpowering at home? It’s the same with freshly roasted paprika.  Back in the hotel I had to doubletriple, quadruple bag the packets to muffle the smell.

Freshly ground paprika in Sweet, Hot and Smoked flavors
Paprika is made from red peppers. Dried, roasted and ground, the different levels of heat is a function of the type of pepper and the presence of seeds in the grind.

I love visiting markets and seeing the foods on display. When I look at the fruits, vegetables and meats, I am inspired to cook. In European markets, produce is relatively easy to identify but meats can be challenging.

For instance, in one stall I saw a huge tray of glisteny fresh chicken (csirke) livers that had me hankering to fix pate.  In another stall, the eye catching display of rich red poultry meat had me thinking of duck magret and boneless confit. As it turns out, pulyka is actually turkey. Unlike in Canada, in Hungary the whole bird is butchered and sold fresh in portion friendly cuts. What a good idea!

Budapest, Hungary in 2018


    1. This was a real market too. A lot of times, famous market become tourist attractions and get swamped with cutesy kitsch. This market had some, but you can see that it catered to residents … no tourist is going to buy csirke livers, no matter how fresh!

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    1. I bought two 500g bags – Hot Smoked and Sweet Regular. I loved the Smoked version but discovered I had a low tolerance to the paprikash pepper. Hungarian paprika is suprisingly strong … talking as someone who regularly cooks with Indian, Jamaican and Sichuan spices) After a few tries I’ve learned to balance the combination of hot & sweet and mellow it out with sour cream.
      Have you ever tried cooking Hungarian paprikash Alison?


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