Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hungarian Goulash

It's been a long time since my last post... I've spent the past year planning, executing and recovering from my wedding. I think I am now safely recuperated.

My last post was on the wonderful city of Budapest, so it follows nicely for this post to be about the famous Hungarian dish, Goulash, or Gulyás in Hungarian. I have been thinking about Goulash for a few months (probably since it started to get cold in London), and I recently encountered some at a cafe in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden. It was a miserable rainy day, and Goulash was a perfect antidote to sustain my friend and I, battling the shopping crowds in the drizzle. So, I got to thinking about making some Goulash myself. Something that I always meant to get around to doing after I left Hungary.

The key ingredient in Goulash is paprika. And not just any old Sainsburys paprika; you want the real
deal Hungarian paprika. Paprika is a spice that can vary wildly from place to place, it depends I guess on how they grow their peppers, and also whether it is smoked (as it is in Spain - think chorizo). So to get the right flavour, you need to find quality paprika from Hungary - paprika is what flavours this dish so it is worth investing a bit of legwork into finding this stuff.

And so it was that I set off on a Saturday from South London all the way north to Green Lanes, Harringay. Walking these streets is like being transported to Istanbul; humming with people busy making and eating Turkish bread, kebabs and sweets. There are also a few Eastern European shops dotted about; among them, Paprika Store, where I found my Hungarian paprika. Careful when you buy this - there are two different varieties, hot and sweet. The sweet one is what you want - mine says 'csemege' on the packet. I also picked up a tube of hot paprika paste, which can be added to Goulash at the table to spice it up.