Hungarian Stuffed Pepper, or Töltött paprika

stuffedpepperpI have an extremely kind friend, who regularly visits her family in Hungary and who brings me local delicacies, such as sausages, hot sauces and… peppers. Yes, genuine raw Hungarian peppers! (If you have never had the pleasure to taste or at least to smell them, they have a unique, unequalled, enticing aroma you will never experience if the same variety is grown elsewhere). A couple of days ago my friend has made me a huge surprise bringing a huge bag of hot and sweet Hungarian peppers, given by her mum, who is not only an excellent cook, but also a particularly generous and kind person. Thank you again A. and thank you so much Mrs. J.!

When I opened the bag, the typical, extraordinary aroma filled the whole kitchen. The hot peppers were pickled (see here my Pickled Hot Peppers recipe) and placed in a “VIP” sector of my pantry.  As for the sweet ones, I have planned several dishes, the first of which was töltött paprika (stuffed pepper). I thought that the generous present I was offered was not only an occasion to cook Hungarian, but also to post once more the recipe I wrote about a long time ago, so do not be surprised to find it in my old posts.

Töltött paprika (stuffed pepper) is a very common dish prepared with long sweet peppers, usually very light yellow (usually the “cecei” variety) and often called  “TV paprika” (short for “tölteni való paprika”, meaning “peppers for stuffing”), the variety I was offered. (Their name shouldn’t be mixed up with a Hungarian food channel called tvpaprika where of course “tv” means… tv.) Stuffed peppers are usually served with potatoes, but I find it somehow too rich for hot summer days, so I simply like to have it with good baguette. If prepared with lean pork and if the sauce thickening stage is skipped, töltött paprika is a healthy, light dish, contrary to the stereotypical image of the Hungarian cuisine. Since I have never tasted stuffed peppers made by a Hungarian cook, I’ll not even try to pretend mine are similar to THE original. All I can say is the smell is amazing, the taste crowd pleasing, the recipe simple and easy; in short the quintessence of good home food.

My main modifications of one of the basic recipes, taken from Szakàcskönyv by Ilona Horvàth (the classic “every housewife” cookbook I bought during my trip to Hungary), are numerous. First of all I always have it with sour cream or milk and my Hungarian friend loved it this way too, but I have been told the majority of Hungarians don’t add it (thank you, K.). Browsing through Hungarian food websites I found celery or celeriac addition excellent idea, I also added dried sweet paprika to the stuffing and omitted the egg in it, as well as the roux (mixture of flour and butter or other fat, fried a bit and then added at the end of cooking to thicken the sauce), since I skip it in my sauces whenever I can. The sauce is light, healthy (cooked tomatoes or tomato sauce are supposed to have more lycopene than raw tomatoes) and the whole dish irresistible.

TIP: Of course if you don’t find the Hungarian pepper variety, this recipe can be prepared with any sweet, long peppers.

Preparation: 1h30min

Ingredients (serves 4):

8-10 long yellow sweet peppers (or other long peppers)

300 g ground lean pork 

80g rice

1 litre tomato sauce or canned tomatoes

(tomato paste)

2 onions

5 branches celery or celeriac leaves/ 1 celery stalk/half of a small celeriac cut into pieces

(1 tablespoon dried sweet Hungarian or Spanish pepper)

salt, pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

(sour cream or sour milk)

Put the tomato sauce or tomatoes, the celery stalk or branches, 1 halved onion and the sugar into a big pan (big enough to contain all the peppers). Bring it to boil, lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes. (You may add the tomato paste if you think the sauce is bland).

In the meantime chop the remaining onion finely, mix with the meat, the rice and the dried pepper. Add some salt and pepper to taste.

Cut off the pepper stems (do not throw away the pepper flesh you had to cut off with the stalks! I usually cut them up and put into the tomato sauce), discard the seeds. Stuff them (leaving 1/2 cm empty from the top) with meat mixture. Since the rice will swell, you have to make some space in the peppers.

Take a wooden spoon handle (or your finger) and make a tunnel in the centre of every stuffed pepper.

If you have any leftover stuffing, form small meatballs and cook them together with stuffed peppers. Put the peppers and the balls delicately into the tomato sauce (it should cover them) and add some water if needed.

Cover it and let it simmer on a moderately low heat for at least one hour.

Check from time to time if they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

If you stir the sauce, do it carefully, as the peppers become very fragile.

Traditionally, in Hungary this dish is apparently served with boiled potatoes. I serve it simply with good crunchy bread.

Even though apparently it’s not a traditional way, I love this stuffed pepper served with a big dollop of sour cream/milk.

79 Replies to “Hungarian Stuffed Pepper, or Töltött paprika”

  1. Sissi, I don’t remember ever seeing a Hungarian recipe here before, in fact I don’t think I’ve come across any Hungarian recipes in the last 2 and half years of blogging! Your friend and her Mom sounds lovely, how sweet is it to share exotic food from far away places…

    I really want to take a peek into your pantry, any chance you might post a photo with all the jars and pickled yumminess in all their glory?

    1. Jeno, I think you will see more of Hungarian recipes here. I sometimes cook Hungarian, but rarely post it. When you click on “Hungarian” category in the left column, there are several recipes though, but I posted all of them a long time ago when I didn’t know you. Photos are usually awful, so I will soon repost all of these probably.
      I will take a photo of my pantry with jars and send you. It’s not a beautiful sight: I’m very messy. You might be disappointed 😉

    1. Thank you, Jed. This dish is a real crowd pleaser. I laughed a lot when I discovered it during my stay in Hungary. They do love paprika 🙂

  2. Hi Sissi, such vibrant colors! I very briefly recall from visit to Hungary (long long time ago) all the wonderful flavors, but it’s true there aren’t many Hungarian recipes out there, any chance you’ll be posting more?

    1. Thank you so much, Gourmantine. I cook Hungarian from time to time, but rarely take photos. I will post more because I see it actually interests some of my kind visitors!

  3. Oh, Sissi, I’m loving the natural light in this photo!! Isn’t it wonderful? That’s summer for you… love it. My youngest son was asking me the other day why I don’t take more food photos outdoors… I find it enough of a production to snap away indoors where all my stuff is ;-), it seems a bigger hassle to head outdoors though looking at this photo I’m reminded of why it’s such a great idea! That’s so kind of your friend and her mom… nothing like fresh food gifts for a foodie 🙂 – your stuffed pepper looks scrumptious topped with a dollop of cream – loving the tomato sauce… what a yummy meal.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Actually I took the photo just beside an open window, but inside. I must say this dish looked so appetising on a plate, but I didn’t like the photos results, so I’m really happy you like it.
      You know I am one of these women who hate being offered flowers, but I jump with joy when offered some excellent food (especially when it’s impossible to get here) or good alcohol.

  4. One of the best blessings is having a thoughtful and kind friend like yours and of course that is a blessing that we should always keep like a treasure. Wow, I am just noticing that you have been using different backgrounds for your beautiful dishes. I like that, Sissi! Well, it’s almost weekend, so Happy Weekend to you, my Friend!

    ~ ray ~

    1. Ray, I totally agree: good friends are a treasure. Thank you for the compliments! I am however always tempted to use my dark table as a background. I really like it in spite of the photography rules… Have a lovely weekend too.

  5. Hungarian food! Now I really wonder how and where I can find such wonderful dish outside (I’m sure we have some Hungarian restaurants in SF, actually checked and people said it’s vanished… we might find a few Hungarian dishes in some restaurants but not “Hungarian” restaurants) I think. It’s such a shame. I’d love to try some new cuisine. This dish sounds very good Sissi, no matter if it’s authentic or not and you have such a kind friend. You must be very famous among your friends in terms of being a good cook!! 😉 Love your outdoor shot!

    1. Nami, you would think in Europe it’s easier to find Hungarian restaurants, but not at all! We don’t have any in our city (probably the whole Switzerland) and no Hungarian groceries. I have heard the Hungarian restaurant in Paris has closed too… Hungarian food is really delicious and I think quite crowd pleasing, so I think it should be better advertised and make known.
      My Hungarian friend loved it (I have invited her of course!) and said it was exactly the Hungarian dish and of course like all the home dishes, this is a bit different in every house, so I suppose it can still bear its Hungarian name 😉
      Thank you so much for the compliment (actually it was beside an open window and I was worried before posting it; this stuffed pepper is not very photogenic: it is all wrinkled not like the baked bell peppers).

  6. Sissi, your stuffed peppers look amazing, and vibrant with color. The outside natural light does wonders to photos, if you catch the right light…which you did!

    You are so fortunate to have been blessed with the good old Hungarian sausage, and delicacies. On my last trip to my home town in Cleveland, Ohio, we went picking our own peppers on a farm, and I will be perfectly honest, they were the same yellow Hungarian peppers, hot, and sweet. I brought an entire carry-on bag on the airplane to Florida, and made all kinds of things with it! That was 3yrs ago…don’t know if they would allow to bring them in a carry-on bag.

    I love stuffed peppers, and have not made it in ages…of course, they have to be Hungarian style, and yours is totally mouthwatering and delicious. Presentation and photo is gorgeous!
    BTW-I didn’t know you could read in Hungarian?

    1. Thank you so much, Elisabeth. I don’t know about Australian peppers, but here we have Turkish and Greek peppers looking exactly like the Hungarian. I loved them before I compared the same day both Turkish and Hungarian ones… The latter simply fill the whole kitchen (even the whole flat) with this incredible aroma and the Turkish/Greek ones did smell nice but that’s it. And it’s not a matter of organic or mass produced because one supermarket here sells red long Hungarian peppers now and they are still incredible compared to the Turkish ones from the market.
      I do read Hungarian. I speak basic Hungarian too, but I don’t use it much, so I keep on forgetting a lot. A cookery book or a Hungarian food blog is not that difficult to read if one is crazy for food 😉 I have good memory for what I am passionate about.

      1. Sissi, I don’t know about Australian peppers, either, I just do know that there are a lot of Hungarians in Cleveland, and the farm where we picked the peppers, are owned by Hungarians, and those peppers were Hungarian…planted with seeds from Hungary.

        I also read Hungarian, and speak basic Hungarian, as well. Same goes for me; not using the language often enough. You do have a great knowledge of Hungarian cuisine, which I do too, but mostly the classics!

        1. Elisabeth, I saw your comments on Zsuzsa’s blog: you write very fluent Hungarian! I do not have any Hungarian origins though. I just used to learn Hungarian at a certain point and of course love lots of Hungarian dishes too.
          If the pepper was grown from Hungarian seeds, then you must be right! Hungarian farmers make it perfect of course (just joking!). I have just finished the last stuffed peppers and will be making something else with the remaining vegetables…

  7. What a beautiful dish! Sounds so delicious! I’ve never had the opportunity to try Hungarian peppers. Whenever I make stuffed peppers it’s always with basic green bell peppers. Great job Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Tessa. They are completely different from stuffed bell peppers and the fact that they are simmered in a big amount of sauce makes the difference too.

      1. I’m going to look for these peppers at our local farmers markets. If I can’t find them, I will find seeds and try to grow them next year. I can’t wait to try them because I love Hungarian cuisine!

  8. How delightful to find this post in the box! Have not made ‘real’ Hungarian stuffed peppers for ages and really have to try your recipe. Having been married awhile to a Hungarian foodie who insisted on cooking everything which landed on the table [guess who was the bottle washer 🙂 !] we basically ate Indian or Hungarian!! I did spend one memorable summer in Budapest and environs and vividly remember the huge market halls of produce:peppers, cucumbers andd tomatoes galore. Did not realize they were different from those of other countries tho’ – here in Australia they certainly look, smell and taste the same?! Perhaps others served the peppers with potatoes: we always had them with a special kind of homemade spätzle 🙂 !

    1. Hi, Eha. What a funny coincidence! You are one of the rare foreigners who like me knows and likes Hungarian food. I imagine you had excellent Hungarian meals with your husband genuine cooking. I have also thought the Turkish/Greek ones we have here were the same before I compared with Hungarian ones the same day… They only looked the same, but the taste and especially the smell was hundred times better.
      My Hungarian friend always has potatoes and I have seen potatoes served with this pepper on many Hungarian blogs. My firend’s family serves spätzle with some other dishes though. I suppose it depends on the family. Like all home dishes 🙂

  9. WOW your post and description of peppers is making me very hungry!!!
    This look really yum.
    I am also loving the picture… How pretty and the lighting very very beautiful!!

    1. Thanks, Giulia. That is very interesting, but sometimes I find almost the same dishes in even more distant parts of the world…

  10. I don’t believe we have anything else other than ground hungarian paprika here. Lucky you! I suppose I can always use our local peppers but I can tell you, they pack quite a punch and there’s nothing sweet about them. I really must find myself a Hungarian friend over here 🙂

    1. A friend who brings you delicious food is a real treasure 🙂 This recipe can be made with any pepper, even very hot if you prefer!

  11. Your photo is gorgeous, Sissi. And I know exactly what you mean about the smell of sweet Hungarian peppers. We would have them for breakfast with some crusty bread, a little cheese and of course, Hungarian Salami.
    My dear Mother bought me an Ilona Horvath cookbook in English (BTW, Ilona is my middle name!) and I have used it many times to create my versions of Hungarian delicacies. I haven’t had a stuffed pepper in ages but it will surely be on my list of goodies for my Aunt to cook for us (she loves to cook for us) when we visit Hungary in the fall.
    My Mom always reduced the rice in her versions of the stuffed peppers, she just never liked too much rice.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. I had no idea the book exists in English. On the other hand at least I can practice my Hungarian now 😉 It’s a very basic book, but I find it very useful.

  12. This is new. I’ve never seen an Hungarian stuff pepper recipe before. Love the real Hungarian paprika – the only kind! Thanks for sharing this recipe – definitely a new one to try!

  13. Aaah, everyone needs a friend who brings them sausages and other delicacies! I have a German colleague who’s from Bavaria and whenever he goes back home he returns with sausages, nougat, smoked ham etc… so nice 😀

    You really make these peppers sound so interesting. I’m really curious as to what they might taste like. Are they ever sold anywhere? I guess not, right? I love the rich colours of your dish though – it sounds like a wonderful meal. I didn’t have stuffed peppers in a while and to be honest, I went off them a bit because I always made them the same way with no change. Even though I can’t get the Hungarian peppers I can try and apply the same concept to “boring” regular peppers… I especially LOVE the idea of the sauce!

    1. Thank you, Charles. The sauce is a very very light and delicate. You know, the kind which seems nothing special but that you want to keep on eating and eating… (or drinking?).
      You can cook it with any kind of long sweet peppers. Long sweet peppers are available in Switzerland almost all year round both in supermarkets and outdoor markets. They usually come from Morocco and Turkey, sometimes from Greece and sometimes from Hungary (of course these brought by my friend taste 100 x better!). You should maybe look on outdoor markets? (The ones less “franco-français” 😉 ). Long sweet peppers have a thin skin, so they cook quicker, are softer and are easily simmered covered in sauce.
      I do miss smoked cold meats… Sausages…

  14. It seems I’ve arrived late to the party. I don’t know how the notice for this dish escaped my notice as it’s something I intend to make in tribute to the wonderful stuffed peppers my mother served to our family growing up and the Hungarian SIL who joined our family 30 some years ago and always enjoyed the Hungarian dishes that showed up on our Yugoslavian/Romanian table. 🙂

    My mother thickened her tomato sauces with a flour slurry rather than a roux so it wasn’t quite as unhealthy as it could have been. Though my father’s hand cut pork (never ground) always included a bit of that tasty pork fat.

    Like you, slices of fresh crunchy bread for dipping into the sauce accompanied my mom’s stuffed peppers.

    Congratulations on a wonderful Hungarian dish.

    What’s your favourite kind of Hungarian sausage? The local Hungarian church makes/sells different varieties and my SIL usually gets some hurka (Hungarian rice sausage).

    1. Thank you so much, A_Boleyn. My favourite Hungarian sausage is the thin one with hot chili peppers (preferably home-made by someone from my friend’s family 😉 then you recognise the homely touch because it’s a bit messy when cut… a miracle!). In general my favourite sausages are hot.
      Hurka is the Hungarian black pudding, isn’t it? I have tasted once when I went to Budapest (I always taste local black puddings wherever I go) but I was unlucky to stumble upon a very fatty one. My Hungarian friends say even though most Hungarian sausages are excellent, it’s very difficult to find a good hurka (not the case in France or Poland where most black puddings are excellent).
      For me flour in general is more unhealthy than butter, in general carbs are more dangerous for me than fats maybe because I love carbs and cannot have too much fat…
      I had no idea such stuffed pepper is popular in ex-Yugoslavia and Romania too! This is probably why I have access to this kind of peppers all year round (many immigrants from ex-Yugoslavia live in Switzerland).

      1. Although hurka can have blood added to it, here in Ontario, Canada, they don’t add it to the ones the church sells. Perhaps to cater to the sensibilities of the children, grand children and great grandchildren of the elderly ladies who make it. 🙂 Yes, we love most of the same sorts of dishes: goulash, paprikash, nut and poppyseed rolls, tortes, pierogi, palascinta.

        Of course the great debate is cabbage rolls (sweet or sour, and sour cream or no sour cream).

        1. Yes, of course! Black pudding it’s “véres hurka” (bloody hurka)! I have to study more my culinary Hungarian 😉 I still don’t understand why so many people are afraid of black pudding, but the same people love rare steaks surrounded by a pool of fresh blood…
          I still must taste cabbage rolls made with sour cabbage, but here the only one I can get is shredded sauerkraut. I should start fermenting it on my own 😉

          1. My mother very rarely soured her own cabbage. I remember the lidded pot in the basement giving off its own ‘special’ aroma. 🙂 But more often, she used the best jarred sauerkraut she could find to layer over the top of her casserole dish before it went into the oven. As well as the fatty skin from a picnic shoulder ham to flavour it.

  15. My mom always made stuffed peppers for me when I was a girl. Her version is quite different — she adds thyme and cloves to hers. The cloves gives it quite a unique flavour. Your version looks really lovely, but judging by the ingredient list I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks. Now I have a craving!

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. Cloves addition sounds extraordinary! I will try it one day. I bet it makes the whole stuffing magically different. Thanks for the idea.

  16. This is amazing! I came across your blog a few days back looking for kimchi recipes, hit refresh this morning and…..VOLILA 😉 I’m Hungarian living in the UK, and just recently found some of these peppers in our local Polish shop. I guess I know what I’m cooking today 😉 The only kind of pepper I can’t find anywhere outside of Hungari is the “hegyeseros” variety the long green and beautifully spicy one. The turkish kind looks exactly the same and widely available here, but dadly has no kick to it…. Love your blog, will read some more now!

    1. Hi, K. Thank you so much for the compliments. I know what you mean by the long, green hot chilies! My friend brought me some of these too and I have pickled them in vinegar and some oil (plus added some to a stir-fry and a sandwich). I also totally agree about the difference between the Turkish peppers looking sometimes exactly the same. They just don’t have the same aroma and are not as hot. It’s funny because paprika was brought to Hungary by Turks! I suppose the Hungarian climate and soil does all the difference and maybe during the centuries there were some mutations in the seeds too.
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting on my blog. I’m very pleased to meet a kimchi and Hungarian cuisine fan in one (who moreover is Hungarian!).

  17. I had a very similar version of this in greece! I think it is just a very european dish, stuffing vegetables with rice and/or meat and cookign with tomatoes. I guess what makes this very hungarian then, is that dollop of delicious sour cream! yum!

    1. Hi, Shu Han. Until I discovered this dish I have only come across stuffed bell peppers baked (never simmered in any sauce) and this is the method practiced in many European countries. Long sweet peppers are often not available or unpopular (in France for example), so I wouldn’t call it a very European method. Until I read my kind visitors’ comments I had no idea if such a method of cooking stuffed long pepper was popular elsewhere because I only knew it from Hungarian cookery books and blogs. Now I know it’s similar in ex-Yugoslavian cuisine, in Romanian cuisine and, thanks to you, in Greek cuisine. Sour cream is popular in Central, Eastern and I think also Northern Europe, so it’s certainly not a Hungarian touch 😉

      1. btw this dish is one of the few dishes (Goulash/Gulyas being the other one) we don’t normally put sour cream on top of 😉 Does Horvath Ilona use it in her recipe?

        1. I love sour cream with many, not only Hungarian dishes. I have seen stuffed paprika served with sour cream on some Hungarian blogs (not many though) and since I loved it with sour cream and my Hungarian friend had it with cream too, I decided to post it this way (I also thought it looked nice with cream 😉 ). I will update the post saying the majority of Hungarians don’t add sour cream. Thanks for letting me know.

  18. Well done Sissi, a nice interpretation of stuffed pepper! After seeing your photo I mightily desire that my peppers would hurry up and grow. I still have a few frozen peppers from last year, but fresh is the real thing.

    1. I would like to add that Sissi you managed to keep the essence of this dish.

      But I agree with K. Hungarians don’t serve Hungarian stuffed peppers with sour cream or milk. The usual way to serve it is with a thick slice of crusty bread.

      About Hungarian cookbooks in English:
      The best Hungarian cookbook in English is Culinaria Hungary. It is out of print at the moment, but Amazon still sells it, that is where I got my used copy a year ago and in excellent condition. There are some bad Hungarian cookbooks in English on-line as well as in print. I took one out from the local library and promptly returned it. It was written by a woman whose mother was Hungarian. She mixes all kinds of strange things into her Hungarian dishes. I cook “internationally”, but am very careful to use only authentic Hungarian recipes when I cook Hungarian. Without first hand experience it is very difficult to separate out what is authentic and what is not.

      1. Thank you for the approval and for the tips. Actually (since one bad experience with a book written by a Hungarian woman, but in Polish) my only sources are your blog and Ilona Horvàth 😉 and sometimes Hungarian cuisine websites (in Hungarian). My low level of Hungarian doesn’t allow me to read literature of course, but allows me to read recipes (often with a dictionary), so I am more than happy to read I. Horvàth in Hungarian.
        Whenever I prepare a dish and modify it, I test it on my Hungarian friend (and sometimes two friends!), then I’m sure at least it’s good… Last week I invited my Hungarian friend and served this pepper with sour cream (because I love it with sour cream) to thank her for the wonderful present she brought. She took the cream several times and enjoyed it, so I decided to post the dish the way I like to have it. My friend’s family serves it always with boiled potatoes which for me would be too much.
        I find Ilona Horvàth a good source: it’s very very basic, but after reading her recipes, I check on your blog and on other Hungarian sources for more creative interpretations, more spices for example, and maybe more detailed explanations (remember the turos pogàcsa? I needed several sources to finally get the recipe which works with me).
        By the way: I have cooked something Hungarian from your blog this weekend! It was delicious and I will post it soon.

      1. Yes, the Horvath recipes are authentic. They are good guideposts; the only shortcoming is her recipes were intended for using authentic ingredients. Outside of Hungary is a different world. This is a shortcoming translated Hungarian recipes share. Even Culinaria Hungary has one or two such recipes, [for lack of real turo] but by far, it is the most authentic and most reliable resource in English.

        1. I just ordered a paperback version of Culinaria Hungary as I’m curious as to the types of recipes it has. The hard cover price, even used, is ridiculous. 🙂

        2. Personally I appreciate when both original ingredients and possible substitutions are indicated. One never knows. I can now buy in my standard Swiss supermarket the same good Hungarian paprika I bought in Budapest! Thanks to Polish and Russian migrants curd cheese is available in many countries too, so one never knows…

          1. You are lucky Sissi, I couldn’t even convince the local Safeway to get Hungarian paprika, they told me they would not be able to sell enough to make money on it. I have to order my paprika from a Hungarian deli in California. I guess the 1956 immigrants are a dying breed and there have not been too many Hungarian immigrants in recent years. I was really surprised on Canada Day, [that is when we go down to the park and feast on ethnic delights] that the only European food tent was Italian. There were several Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and mid Eastern tents though. I was looking forward to good Ukrainian food, but they didn’t have a tent either.

            1. Zsuzsa, we don’t have many Hungarians in Switzerland, but there are a lot of people with ex-Yugoslavian origins and I suppose the supermarket found importing Hungarian sweet pepper easier (European Union) than from Serbia for example. Curd cheese is bought here mainly by Russians and Ukrainians, but imported from Germany and produced in Poland. I live in a very international city, so I can buy products to cook different world cuisines. I also see more and more ethnic food products (Turkish, British, Asian etc.) sold in standard supermarkets. Several years ago some were only available in specialised grocers. I think also many people start cooking foreign dishes too. There are also some funny things like a fish variety (horse mackerel) which is very popular in both Portugal and Japan and since there are lots of people with Portuguese origins here I’m lucky and can cook Japanese dishes with this fish.
              I also think some nations don’t know how to advertise their cuisine. I don’t want to mention the country, but there are at least two countries with really not interesting and not varied cuisines, but the restaurants serving their food are packed with Swiss clients. I have always wondered why Hungarians don’t open more restaurants abroad… If well advertised they would make a fortune.

              1. There appears to be a blending of cultures in the EU now but don’t hold your breath, it will be short lived. I am of cynical mind, because I watched the slow but sure cultural takeover here. Very few restaurants serve fresh food anymore. Even the salad comes in bags and they just heat up and assemble the various things on the plate. I don’t like to go to restaurants anymore, its just a rip off here. I absolutely abhor McDonalds! I have to go all over town looking for Canadian produce. We live in orchard country and at the height of the strawberry season; the stores were still selling Californian strawberries.

                There used to be Hungarian restaurants in the larger cities, even here. They employed a Swiss pastry chef to help with the family operation, but that is long gone. Mom and pop operations have a terrible time here and few ever make it. Big American chains and fast food establishments push out and buy up everything Canadian owned, we even lost Tim Horton’s a few years back. They bought up the Hudson’s Bay and pretty much killed it, and Zellers is replaced by Target by the end of the year. [these are department stores] American multis are taking over everything Canadian and stereotypically Canadian means multi cultural. Our money and national identity is pretty much swallowed up by the United States.

                1. Zsuzsa, I am convinced Europe is different although there are of course similarities. First of all immigration is different in cases of many nations and there are many expats who move for only a couple of years.
                  As for the food quality, I don’t know every single European country of course, but in both Switzerland and France supermarket offers are better every year. Organic food and meat is now available in every supermarket in Switzerland and France (I mean standard supermarket) and the choice is bigger every year (or even month) and also prices go down (sometimes the price is the same for organic and pesticides-pumped vegetables). We don’t have battery chickens (the basis of the US chicken production): they are forbidden in Switzerland for 30 years now and in one year this will be the case in the whole UE. We don’t have as powerful food producers lobbies because the mass production is not as huge as in the US, etc.. Of course every country is different and Britain has a big problem with the way people eat. In France for example, in spite of supermarkets present for dozens of years, I know people who have never bought a piece of meat elsewhere than at their butcher’s. Same for the bread or cheese they buy in the cheese shop. Moreover, prices are often the same! On the other hand, France is the biggest consumer of McD in the whole Europe, but people who eat at McD don’t necessarily eat junk food all the time (I know someone who eats at McD regularly, about once a month, but never buys meat in the supermarket and cooks fabulous food).
                  Of course I am afraid of the bad changes (people eat more junk food because more junk food is available), but there are also positive changes. We started to copy the US mass production of meat and produce, but now we are quickly changing. I can see positive changes all the time at least in the two countries where I do my grocery shopping.

                  1. Alas I too see the TV programmes about how some people eat rubbish in the UK, my personal experience is very similar to yours, both the availability of ingredients and the selection of outstanding restaurants improved immensely in the last decade, most people I know cook from scratch and the ones who don’t go pop-up restaurants and secret dining places, none of which existed a few years back! What an interesting conversation!

                    1. Thank you for participating in the discussion. I think that it depends on the social group and also financial situation. Alas, according to the statistics the poorest populations eat the worst food and are the most obese (although often it’s not because they cannot afford vegetables or healthier meals). We both probably know “middle” and “upper” class people, hence our experience. I still remember the tv program with Jamie Oliver where he went to a British city and taught people in a factory how to cook. I remember the shock I had when he asked hundreds of people who had never cook at home meals from the scratch and the number of hands up!
                      I only hope that the good quality food “fashion” will spread to the entire nations. Even though in Switzerland and France there is less obese people and people eat better in general (at least they cook) than in the UK, the obesity rate (read: bad nutritious habits) among the children and young people increases every year.

              2. My nephew is currently in New York (Hicksville area) for school and researched possible Hungarian restaurants to visit. He only found one (Andre’s Cafe) in the immediate area and was less than impressed by the lack of variety and quality. He was shocked they didn’t serve real whipped cream with the Sacher torte. 🙂

                The Romanian restaurant he went to wasn’t as disappointing.

                1. oh… the sadly recently passed away Nora Ephron has a small piece in her book “there is something wrong with my neck” about her quest for the perfect Hungarian Cabbage Strudel she used buy in NY before the bakery closed down. She spent 20 odd years trying to find it or even re-create it until she received a tip off that Andre’s cafe sells it. she goes and buys it and it’s not exactly the same but even better than the one ,she remembers. so there you go a redeeming short for Andre’s…well if it’s indeed the same one. my housemates adored the cabbage strudel when I made it with loads if pepper and dusting sugar in top….

                  1. That’s the one. He went there based on the good reviews/info he had but unfortunately it didn’t hold up to the high expectations he had going in.

                    1. Hi Sissi,
                      sweet (fresh) cabbage is used. I looked around a bit as I don’t normally use a recipe this one appears to be closest to the method I use . If you google cabbage strudel Andre’s version comes up pretty much first and while the ingredients are similar (his is lacking sugar for my taste) the oven baking method sounds like you wouldn’t have enough control over the cabbage. It needs to be golden uniformly but not burnt, this is important as you will still bake it and overcooked cabbage might turn bitter. The dusting sugar on top appears to be my family’s perversion, no other recipes mention is 😉 There is also a pasta dish with the same topping kaposztasteszta or kaposztas cvekedli latter being a twisted german word for the square flat pieces of pasta, an expression left behind from K.und K. Austro Hungarian times used by my great grandma! That most definitely calls for sugar on top.

                    2. Thank you so much, K. for the link and for the answer. I love testing (or tasting) such “perversions” and most of all if they turn out delicious. My grandmother used to put sugar on pickled cucumbers and I remember I once tasted it and it was totally logical from the flavours point of view (although too sweet for me, she had a much sweeter tooth than me).
                      I think I have seen somewhere the pasta dish you talk about, although I don’t remember the sugar. Thanks a lot for inspirations!

  19. Are you Hungarian? This is a daring dish for pedigree or expats alike. One wrong move and you have mush! Excellent delivery. Gorgeous picture. Good for you!

    jo etvagyat kivanok!

    Check out our website if you are interested. Lots of free recipes. Also on Ezine.


    1. Thank you so much, Clara. I’m not Hungarian, but I like Hungarian cuisine and cook it from time to time. As you see, I have modified it a bit.

  20. I don’t know this particular dish but judging from other Hungarian plates I have tasted, this must be very tasty and full of flavors. I am keeping this to try Sissi!

  21. I don’t believe I’ve tried this. I have heard of an Armenian version but haven’t tried that either. Adding this to my every growing list of things to eat/make!

    1. Mr.Three-Cookies, long stuffed peppers simmered in a light sauce are very different from the stuffed bell peppers (more popular). I am very curious about the Armenian dish. A future post maybe? 😉

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