Favorite Hungarian Comfort Foods

We called this “Hungarian Soup” at our house. It was a Sunday staple!

When life gets stressful we often think back to simpler times. And with most of our days centered around three meals a day, food is a central part of our life experience.

I often hear customers mention their favorite foods from childhood. When I am with a tour group in Hungary, there is often a request for the very simple dishes. My tour partner, Andrea, cannot believe that people are requesting such uncomplicated and unrefined food when there are so many delicious and sophisticated options in Hungary. But, it makes perfect sense to me. When you are in a place surrounded by the language and music of your ancestors, you also think about and crave the foods that bring back so many memories.

Comfort foods are foods that conjure up good feelings and emotions connected to happy memories. Often they are very simple foods, born out of necessity and utilizing whatever ingredients are readily available. Sometimes a meal or dish can jet you back to a time when life was simpler. There may not have been much food around, but, as a child, you may not have known that. You just remember the aroma coming from the kitchen and the loving hands that prepared the meal. A skilled grandmother (nagymama) or mother (anyu) can whip up something amazing with very few items, mostly from the backyard. That backyard might have a large vegetable garden, a few farm animals, and fruit and nut trees.

Comfort foods do not have to be complex, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t works of art! Happy memories don’t always come out of a great monetary investment. Sometimes, a little effort goes a long way!

My top comfort food is definitely a clear bone broth soup with uncut vegetables and thread noodles, known as Húsleves. The aroma of this soup is amazing as it slowly steeps on the stove all day.

Chicken paprikás is another one. My mom served it with sour cream and the nokedli (dumplings) were perfection. I didn’t even really care for the chicken! Just a serving of the dumplings with the gravy and I was in heaven!

I could go on but I won’t because I want to hear from you!

So, tell me, what is a comfort food for you? I’ll gather the names/descriptions of these foods and share it. Why make a list? Because seeing these things will inspire people to talk about them and recall important memories, recipes, and ideas that might get lost in the busyness of living our regular lives. And, it might encourage people to drag out some old recipes and make them for the next generation.


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6 People have left comments on this post

» Joe said: { Apr 16, 2020 - 08:04:26 }

re: Hungarian Comfort Foods. I regularly make Turos Csusza and Chicken Paprikas with nokedli and they are both a big hit with my kids.
Two other Hungarian comfort foods that are easy to make and too delicious to ignore
Rakott Krumpli (to die for an so more-ish), and
Turos palacsinta
Jó étvágyat

» Liz said: { Apr 16, 2020 - 09:04:24 }

Hi Joe! We definitely have the same favorite tastes!

» Ladislau Lancsarics said: { Apr 16, 2020 - 04:04:53 }

very good

» Chris said: { Apr 16, 2020 - 05:04:58 }

All of the ones already mentioned except I wasn’t a fan of rakott krumpli — maybe I just never had a good recipe! I would add kaposzta teszta with sour cream! My grandmother also served palacsinta filled with apricot jam and chopped walnuts alongside the turos variety.

» Katherine Demes said: { Apr 16, 2020 - 07:04:49 }

Kaposzta teszta as well, made with lots of caramelized onions and butter, but no sour cream on it. And palacsinta with sweetened cottage cheese. I will definitely be trying the recipe for Hungarian Farmer Cheese.

» Joan Toth said: { Apr 17, 2020 - 03:04:08 }

Liz, thanks for posting this thread – my faves as a kid were always chicken paprikash (my mother made nokedli to die for), husleves, green beans soup, navy bean soup, palacsinta (always with cottage cheese or cherry filling). Her kiflis were outstanding – tiny and melt in your mouth. She filled them with canned fillings (she was a 1960’s housewife) but I make my own apricot, prune, walnut, and cherry from scratch. These are the cream cheese kiflis vs. the crescent-roll type. She made my dad hurka and noodles with cabbage or kraut, but the kids were always disinterested in those. And mom’s own favorite – stuffed cabbage. As a good Hungarian, I definitely inherited the “kraut gene” and “soup gene.”