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Hungarian cooking lessons in Budapest

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 6, 2008 in Experiences |

Enjoying a meal in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 21, 2008.

Enjoying a meal in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 21, 2008.

Sometimes, when you use Couchsurfing, you really connect with your host. In time, conversation and interests. Such is how things went for me and my host Bálint in Budapest, Hungary.

I stayed with him two nights. From our first conversation - over a garlic and eggplant dip of his mother’s creation and some Hungarian beers of my purchase - I knew he was a good, fun guy, interested in the world and excited to try out his English - the jokes came faster the better we got to know each other.

So, I was excited to hear his offer to cook a traditional Hungarian stew if we bought the ingredients.

Sean and I dashed off to Budapest’s beautiful Central Market - or Központi Vásárcsarnok if you’re feeling lucky - to buy tomatoes, six chicken breasts and six chicken thighs to supplement Bálint’s heavy store of paprika, onion, hot peppers, more paprika, grease, oil and flour, other materials for homemade noodles, more paprika and more grease.

The result was delightful, as was the company, as Bálint was accompanied by his charming brother and best friend Edgar.

YouTube Preview Image

To review, the first two rules of Hungarian cooking:

  1. More onion
  2. More paprika

Where gulash is their most noted meal - a general paprika and meat-based stew - this was called just that, a stew. The ingredients and process was simple enough to make it about as specific as ’sandwich.’

Regardless, homemade noodles, stew and hearty bread - not to mention the fresh milk that I was drinking - was a welcome relief from weary traveling.

Thanks Bálint !

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2 Comments

Mike
Nov 6, 2008 at 8:34 am

Wink, do you have hair now? Give me a call when you get back to philly, I wanna hear about the trip.

-Mike Korostelev
Team Opinion


 
Csaba
Dec 31, 2008 at 3:15 pm

You forgot the third ingredient: More Grease!
Either if it’s lard, bacon, fat or else… but we use a lot of it! :)

Winters are cold (it’s -10°C/12°F tonight) and grease is a perfect ingredient to balance the alcohol consumption without passing out!One of our most popular meal is zsiroskenyér (literally: fat on bread), which is simply the remaining of cooking fat on a slice of bread, some sliced onions on top, sprinkled with some salt and paprika.
Certainly not a diet food but goes well with a glass of wine.

I know it doesn’t sound too convincing but different cultures, different cuisine. At least we don’t complain about the vinegar on fish’n'chips or about peanut-butter sandwiches. ;)


 

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