Budapest, capital city of Hungary

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Hungarian - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Hungarian Cuisine HistoryEdit

The Hungarian cuisine is well known as being one of the most complex in the world, having a large variety of dishes appreciated both by the innate people and the large number of tourists who have visited this wonderful country. Situated in the Center of Europe in a magnificent environment with fertile, flat plains, Hungary has always been craved for all the riches that it posses, either from her foreigner neighbors situated in the West Side or from those in the East Side. Their implication in the Hungarian history left these way also a mark over the Hungarian cuisine. Some of the oldest information regarding Hungarian gastronomy was written somewhere in the 15th century under the rule of King Matthias Corvinus. On his demand, everything that happened at his court, including what they ate and how they cooked their food had had to be minutely recorded by Mazio Galetto, his columnist. Thanks to him we know today the way that fish, poultry and meat were served, always with gravies. The Hungarian cuisine started to use garlic in the same period of King Matthias Corvinus, when the king’s wife, Beatrice, introduced to the court a new way of cooking, the Renaissance one.

During the time, many other peoples had a great influence over the Hungarian gastronomic culture. For instance, starting with 1526 and lasting over 150 years, Hungary was under a Turkish autonomy. Under Turkish influence paprika was introduced to the Hungarian cuisine as well as the pastry (named today filo-philo) and the stuffing of vegetables. Another people that seemed to have a great influence over the Hungarian gastronomic development are the Austrian Habsburgs. Anyhow in this case is not quite sure whether the Austrian had a more influence over the Hungarian cuisine, or things were other way around.

Cuisines of Hungary Edit

Map of Hungary

Map of Hungary - Click to enlarge

Once one tastes any dish from the Hungarian cuisine it is for sure he will try it again. Thought sometimes they are heavy and not indicated to those with a sensitive stomach, the traditional Hungarian dishes are a delight for your senses. A mix of flavors abounding in piquant and spicy ingredients transforms sometimes this food into a delicatessen. The secret of a well-cooked dish with a fine taste lies in the ingredients used. The local agriculture provides most of the exquisite ingredients needed and that is why everywhere in Hungary you can easily find paprika and garlic. The most representative specialty for the Hungarian cuisine and one of the favorite dishes for the inanities are Gulyas, square soup made with Beef and vegetables. Besides that, also one of the favorite dishes is the pan-fried Goose livery. Usually this dish is cooked with potatoes. The usage of this vegetable can be frequently found in the everyday cooking since it represents the raw material of the Hungarian diet. Hungarian cuisine and dishes developed during the time and finds his roots in centuries old traditions. Ancient handwritten cookbooks tell us about how important and developed fishing was for the Hungarians back then. This practice still stands nowadays, the only thing that got changed are the names of some fish dishes.

Preparation Methods for Hungarian Cooking Edit

The unique way of preparing the food and which spices and ingredients should used represent the main secret of the exquisite flavors of Hungarians dishes. During the time the preparation methods for Hungarian cooking new many influences from all the cultures that fought over because of her fertile lands and good climate. These way Hungarian cooking methods improved under direct influence of Jewish, Moslem, Byzantine and Christian cultures. Various dishes existing in Hungary nowadays are cooked in many different ways. Meat is made manly grilled or fried. Chiken paprikas for instance are cocked by boiling and mixed with a lot of specific Hungarian ingredients like green-pepper, paprika and sour cream. Fruits are often consumed fresh but also baked in various sweet dishes. Retes, the Hungarian strudel, it is baked having an exquisite sweet or savory taste, filled with all kind of flavors from different fruits, potatoes, nuts or cabbage.

Special Equipment for Hungarian Cooking Edit

The Hungarian traditional cuisine doesn’t need sophisticated special equipment for cooking. Like the other cuisines, the Hungarian one needs the basic equipment set such as: soup ladles, mugs, oven proof casserole dish, frying pans, skillets, mixing bowls, food pans, wooden cutting boards, sauce pans. For example, in preparing the Hungarian “Nokedli”, a noodle dish with braised meats and “Paprikás”, the main ingredients are three cups of flour, one cup of cold water, one teaspoon of salt and an egg. The cooking equipment used in preparing this delicious dish is the basic one: a sharp knife, a large pot, a mixing bowl, a wooden cutting board, an oven and a gas range. The water and salt are added to the flour and mixed in a large bowl. The mixing bowl needs to be covered with a towel for a while. A large pot needs to be filled with salted water and brought to boil. Wet the wooden cutting board and put a small part of the dough on it. Next step is to flick small stripes into the water using a sharp knife.It's easier to just grate it through a single-side large holed cheese grater with the help of a wooden spoon, though. The pot needs to be stirred from time to time and the water kept at a simmer. Add the last batch of dough and cook for about ten minutes. Next step is to drain the water and to melt one or two tablespoons of butter. Add the “Nokedli” next to the melted butter and keep it in the warm oven until serving.

Hungarian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

During the year, there are several food festivals in Hungary. One of the most famous Hungarian food festivals is the “Budapest Cooking Fest” during which people are invited to take part at cooking tournaments. Famous chefs from all over the country perform live cooking and the public is invited to taste the daintiness and even buy more for home. During the food festivals, the Hungarian people are changing information concerning recipes or cooking methods, sharing old recipes or improved ones with the other participants. Live vocal bands are performing and people are having a great time. In Hungary there are even international food festivals over the year. During these international food festivals the Hungarians are zealously presenting their traditional dishes to the other competitors. There are also Hungarian food festivals organized by the Hungarian Ministry of Health, which are promoting a healthy traditional nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. During these events there are food exhibitions and quizzes about a healthy nutrition. The wine tourism is very popular in Hungary. Food and wine festivals are taking place in wonderful Hungarian locations such as Lake Balaton. The Hungarian food festivals are celebrating the beauty of the Magyar culture. The Goulash soup became popular in many European countries. The paprika Chicken, the “Balatoni fogas” or the “Dobostorta”, a delicious caramel and mocha cake, are just some of the many delectable Hungarian traditional dishes served during the food festivals.

People in Hungarian Food Edit

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The Hungarian people are zealously preserving their culinary traditions. The Hungarian cuisine has become one of the most appreciated cuisines around Europe. There are even international food symposiums where famous Hungarian chefs are taking part, sharing their knowledge in the field. There are Hungarian chefs who are writing cookbooks containing either old, traditional recipes or new, improved ones. Some of them have their own TV shows, web pages or restaurants. These experts of the Hungarian food are sharing precious culinary tips and secrets. The Hungarian chefs are devoted to their culinary traditions, customs and culture. Some of the most appreciated Hungarian chefs are members of gastronomic associations, preserving the Magyar cultural inheritance and the culinary traditions. Many experienced Hungarian chef’s own restaurants in Hungary or abroad, being the messengers of the Magyar culture. The Hungarian cooks are promoting a healthy cuisine, rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, greens, and low fat ingredients. There are several Hungarian restaurants in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Romania or Austria and their customers appreciate a lot the Hungarian cuisine. In Budapest, the capital of Hungary, every year there is a contest between famous Hungarian chefs, a food competition that lasts two days. During this contest, the Hungarian chefs are preparing traditional dishes using old traditional cooking techniques and new ones.

More about Hungarian Culture Edit

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