hungarian goulash


[goo-lahsh, -lash]

Goulash is a dish, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, red onions, vegetables spices and ground paprika powder.The name comes from the Hungarian gulyás (pronounced goo-yash), the word for a cattle stockman or herdsman.

In Hungary


In Hungary, Gulyásleves is prepared as a thick soup. The dish Gulyás or Bográcsgulyás was traditionally a stew, made by cattle stockmen. It can still be prepared both like a soup and a stew. Shank, shin or shoulder is used. Goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, and black pepper and then browned in a pot with oil or lard with sliced onions. Paprika, water or stock is added and left to simmer. After cooking a while garlic, caraway seeds or ground caraway seeds and even soup vegetables like carrot, parsnip, peppers like green pepper (or bell pepper), celery and a small tomato may be added. Other herbs and spices could also be added, especially hot chili peppers, bay leaf and thyme Diced potatoes may be added, they provide starch as they cook, making the goulash thicker and smoother. A small amount of white wine or a very little wine vinegar can also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste. Goulash may be served with thin soup pasta, made of a dough with flour and egg, thinly rolled out on a board. called csipetke The name Csipetke comes from pinching small fingernail size bits out of the dough, (csip =pinch), adding them to the boiling soup.

Hungarian goulash variations

  • Gulyás à la Szeged. Reduce the potatoes and add vegetables.
  • Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style. Omit the home made soup pasta (csipetke) and add vegetables.
  • Mock Gulyás. Substitute the meat with beef bones and add vegetables. Also called Hamisgulyás, (Fake Goulash or Gypsy goulash).
  • Bean Gulyás. Omit the potatoes and the caraway seeds. Use kidney beans instead.
  • Csángó Gulyás. Add sauerkraut and rice instead of pasta and potatoes.
  • Betyár Gulyás. Use smoked beef or smoked pork for meat.
  • Likócsi Pork Gulyás. Use pork and thin vermicelli in the goulash instead of potato and soup pasta. Flavour with lemon juice.
  • Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás. Made with mutton. Add red wine for flavour.

A thicker and richer goulash, similar to a stew, originally made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and archivist József Székely (1825-1895).

Some cookbooks suggest using roux with flour to thicken the goulash, which produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using a vast amount of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato purée, may improve the taste and texture, but the original goulash is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible. Many Hungarian chefs consider tomatoes to be absolutely forbidden in goulash and they also feel that if they cook a stew instead of a soup, it should only be thickened by finely chopped potatoes, which must be simmered along with the meat.


Another Hungarian dish is Pörkölt, a meat stew (without any potato or pasta), different from Goulash. The word Pörkölt derives from the Hungarian verb "pörkölni" which means "to roast" or "to simmer". The Hungarian cuisine has many variation of this dish.

Pörkölt is made of boneless chopped meat. Onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, wine and marjoram for the game and a teaspoon paprika powder (usually no or very little caraway) is added. The dish is slowly simmered on low temperature. Small, thin green hot peppers, (green chili pepper) and black pepper are common additions to the basic recipe. The pörkölt's sauce is rich and flavourful and should barely cover the meat.

Several kinds of meat can be used when making pörkölt. Most common are beef, lamb, goose, chicken and pork. Tripe and liver can also be used, or game (venison, rabbit or boar).

A popular meal in traditional Hungarian cuisine is a pörkölt made of tripe, called Pacalpörkölt. (Pacal is the Hungarian word for tripe). It has a unique and very distinguishable taste, often being quite spicy.

In Hungary pörkölt is served with galuska/nokedli, a kind of smallspecial dumplings and even pasta (tészta) or tarhonya (big pasta grains) and pickles. The Hungarian dish Pörkölt resembles the Ragù..


A slightly similar dish is Paprikas, made only with diced meat, beef, lamb, pork, goose or chicken, sometimes bones included (chicken or lamb), in a thick creamy paprika sauce, without vegetables. The diced meat is seared with finely chopped onions and paprika, then simmered along with stock or water on low heat. Chicken paprikash is made with whole chicken pieces, onion and paprika, cooked on a small fire, simmered until the chicken is tender, then sour cream and heavy cream is added to the gravy. Basically, if two-three tablespoons paprika powder is used for spice and a generous amount of sour cream or cream (or a mix of both) is added to the meat in the end, which is prepared the same way as the Pörkölt, it will become what the Hungarians call a Paprikás. Topping the dish with fresh chopped parsley gives the paprikás it's special flavour.. When making paprikás, a tasty vegetarian alternative is gombapaprikás - Mushroom paprikas, where sliced mushrooms are used instead of meat.

Paprikás krumpli

"Paprikás krumpli" is a paprika-based potato stew with a lot of diced potatoes, onion, tomato, bell peppers, ground paprika and some bacon or sliced spicy sausage, like the Debrecener sausage. In German-speaking countries, Kartoffelgulasch ("potato goulash") is a less-expensive goulash-substitute, made with sausage; similar to "Paprikás krumpli".

Outside Hungary

Thick stews similar to pörkölt and the original cattlemen stew are popular throughout almost all the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, from Northeast Italy to the Carpates.

Like pörkölt, these stews are generally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, polenta, dumplings, spatzle or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.

North American goulash

In the United States and Canada, various adaptations have made the dish more suitable for local preferences, with the result that American "goulash" often bears little or no resemblance to the Hungarian original. The amount of peppers and/or paprika is often drastically reduced or even left out altogether. Ground beef frequently replaces stew beef in American goulashes, which reduces the cost as well as the cooking time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other ingredients are added and the dish might be ready to serve in as little time as 20 to 30 minutes. American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles or pasta, with elbow macaroni cited in most recipes. This form of the dish was made popular by its inclusion in popular cookbooks in the twentieth century, such as Betty Crocker's Cookbook and is often noted as a comfort food.

  • Goulash is also a slang term in some parts of the United States, particularly the South, for a dish made with miscellaneous left-overs. Noodles or potatoes are usually added thereafter.

Goulash in the Slavic Cuisines

Goulash (Gulaš) is also very popular in most parts of Croatia, especially north (Hrvatsko Zagorje) and Lika. It's considered to be part of traditional cuisine. In Gorski Kotar and Lika deer and boar frequently replace beef - Lovački gulaš. There is also Goulash with porcini mushrooms (Gulaš od vrganja). Bacon is an important part of Croatian goulash.

Gulaš is often served with fuži, njoki, palenta or pasta. In Croatian and Serbian ciganski gulaš) is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g. pork loin, bacon, or mutton. In Slovenia, they are known as Perkelt, but are often referred to as "goulash" or a similar name. In Slovenian partizanski golaž, partisan goulash, favoured by Slovenian partisans during the Second World War, and still regularly served at mass public events; most meat is replaced with quartered potatoes. It's not as thick as goulash, but thicker than goulash soup.



Gundel´s Hungarian Cookbook, Karoly Gundel, Budapest, CORVINA. ISBN 963 13 3733 2 Betty Crocker's Cookbook


External links


See recipe at Wikibooks Cookbook.

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