Hungary is world-famous for its unique and spicy dishes and food-specialities. The most popular spice is Hungarian paprika, which is the symbol of Hungarian cuisine.
There are many different types of Hungarian paprika coming in different colours (including yellow, green and various shades of red). The hottest is the orange one. As far as the types are concerned, there are sweet, mild and hot types.
Types of Hungarian paprika:
- Special quality (Különleges) – the mildest, very sweet with a deep bright red colour
- Delicate (Csípősmentes Csemege) – colour from light to dark red, a mild paprika with a rich flavour
- Exquisite Delicate (Csemegepaprika) – similar to Delicate, but more pungent
- Pungent Exquisite Delicate (Csípős Csemege, Pikáns) – an even more pungent version of Delicate
- Rose (Rózsa) – pale red in colour with strong aroma and mild pungency
- Noble Sweet (Édesnemes) – the most commonly exported paprika; bright red and slightly pungent
- Half-Sweet (Félédes) – a blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium pungency
- Strong (Erős) – light brown in colour, the spiciest paprika
Paprika powder is produced by grinding the dried paprikas. The spiciness depends on the variety of paprika used and the seed to flesh ratio used in the mix.
The colour of paprika powder varies from red to brown. The seasoning is used in many dishes to add both colour and flavour. The most famous paprika production areas in Hungary are Szeged and Kalocsa.
The most popular national Hungarian dishes nearly all make use of paprika including:
- Goulash soup (Gulyásleves or Babgulyás) - soup of meat, with noodles, and vegetables, seasoned with paprika, garlic, tomato, caraway seed, bell pepper, red wine.
- Fish soup (Halászlé) – fish soup with vegetables and stock, juice, water, flavoured with paprika
- Stew (Pörkölt) - the main ingredient is meat (pork, beef, poultry) with a combination of vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beans, pepper, tomatoes), seasoned with paprika, salt, pepper and wine
- Stuffed cabbage (Töltött káposzta) - cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with a variety of different fillings (meat and rice) in a tomato-based sauce, flavoured with paprika
- Lecho Soup (Lecsó) – vegetable stew made with green and red peppers, tomatoes, onion, lard, salt, sugar and ground sweet and hot paprika.
- Chicken Paprika (Paprikáscsirke) – chicken cooked with Hungarian paprika.
Below you will find a video from YouTube showing how to make Chicken Paprika:
If you are visiting Budapest not only should you try the local food but you might find that Hungarian Paprika is the perfect souvenir for your friends and family back home to give them a taste of Hungary.
One of the best places to buy Hungarian paprika in Budapest is the Great Market Hall.