Hungarian Paprika is considered as the national spice of Hungary, – Budapest Hungary – ECTV


by Papri Spice



Paprika is considered as the national spice of Hungary, and therefore it’s one of the most common items for sale in the Budapest Market Halls. It is a powder made from dried, deep red paprika pods of various kinds of Capsicum annuum peppers.

Since the plant arrived in Hungary in the 16-17th centuries, Paprika became the symbol of Hungary’s cuisine and is an essential component of the everyday dishes like Porkolt (stew), Goulash, Chicken Paprikás, and Halászlé (fisherman’s soup).

If you fancy tasting the real Hungarian Goulash soup, we recommend to book a Guided Market Hall Tour, where your dream can come true!

The color of the spice varies from mild to bright red and even brownish color, depending on the type of pepper.
Due to the climate, and geographical conditions Hungarian paprika has a bright color and unique rich flavor that allowed Hungary to become one of the leading producers in the world.

Kalocsa and Szeged are the capitals of Paprika production in Hungary. These south regions have the highest amount of sunny hours a year, and the plants need lots of sunshine to get ripe and sweet. Ripe peppers are harvested in September.

The surrounding towns and villages are organizing Paprika Festivals and Fairs to celebrate the Harvesting period, with music, dance and delicious paprika meals.

The Paprika harvesting villages are adorned with fresh, threaded paprika strings, hung from porches and gates.
Kalocsai and Szegedi Paprika are listed Hungaricums. (Hungaricums are special items from Hungary, that characterize the Hungarians by their uniqueness and high quality).

The grades of Hungarian paprika are édesnemes (it’s the most popular paprika type, with the brightest color, made only from the finest yield and often hand cleaned), csemege (delicate and mild), csípős csemege (more pungent), csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild), félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency), rózsa (mildly pungent and grounded, pale red), különleges (“special quality”; mild and finely grounded and vibrant red colored), and erős (hottest and light brown to orange)

“There is something about paprika itself that makes it synonymous with ‘Hungarian.’ ‘Fiery,’ ‘spicy,’ ‘temperamental’—all these adjectives suggest both paprika and the national character,” writes George Lang in The Cuisine of Hungary.

Paprika Sauces
Piros Arany- Hungarian Mild or Hot Pepper paste
Hungarians love paprika, it fits almost every traditional meal. A true classic of the Hungarian kitchen is Piros Arany (Red Gold) which is a mild or hot paprika paste with vibrant crimson color. It is ready to eat with sandwiches or cold plates but it gives a nice paprika taste to cooked meals too.
Piros Arany is a popular product on the domestic market since 1963.

Édes Anna – Hungarian Crushed Mild Pepper
The second most popular paprika paste on the Hungarian Market after Red Gold. It is sold in small jars and can be added to any paprikash style meals or sandwiches.

Erős Pista is hot the pair of Édes Anna, it is also crushed paprika paste but the main ingredient is hot paprika. It is used in spicy Goulash or Fisherman’s soup but it fits to almost every hot dish.

Chicken Paprika
Paprika Chicken with Nokedli photo by Tim Venchus
Paprika Chicken with Nokedli photo by Tim Venchus
Paprikás csirke (pronounced paprikash cheerke) or Chicken Paprikash is a classic meal around the country.

In Hungary, this dish is usually eaten with Galuska (spaetzle, Hungarian mini dumplings), and a Cucumber Salad or Pickles, but it tastes good with pasta or rice too.

It is very simple to make, you will need only a few ingredients: chicken drumsticks and thighs, onions, flour – all-purpose, goose fat or cooking oil, sour cream, salt, pepper and of course paprika. You can also add some tomatoes and peppers if you like.

Using the basic Paprikash Method can be applied to any other meat, fish or mushrooms.

Paprika Catfish (Harcsapaprikas)
Catfish Paprikash photo by Molesworth II
Catfish Paprikash photo by Molesworth II
Paprikash Method:

Heat the lard (or oil) in the pot, add the 1 or 2 chopped onions, and stir them until the onions are glossy (Use 2 small onions for 500 g of meat and 3 or 4pcs for 1000 gr of meat).
Remove the pot from the heat and add the grounded paprika (so the paprika doesn’t burn and become bitter). You can add some chopped tomatoes too (1 or 1 pcs).
Place the chicken pieces in the pot and add salt, pepper and a bit of water.
Cover the pot, and cook for about 30-45 minutes in medium/ low heat. If the Paprikas is too juicy, remove the lid.
When the meat is cooked mix the sour cream and flour in a bowl (you can add some cream too).

My name is Eric Clark and I am a world traveler. I have been around the world a few times and decided to help fund my travels by sharing my videos and pictures. I have been to almost every country and would be glad to give tips and pointers. Drop me a note. = )

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