Lifting the Lid off the Goulash

May I introduce the best traditional Hungarian cookbook EVER!

My 89 year old friend Irena has finally published her book of traditional Hungarian recipes Lifting the Lid off the Goulash– a heritage cook book representing almost a century of cooking experience.  The recipes are drawn from Irena’s early life watching her mum make home-made pasta, dumplings and market-fresh dishes back in Budapest – and from Irena’s post-war life cooking for her English husband and gazillions of new friends in Australia.

Despite rave reviews from everyone who’s tried her recipes, Irena’s never made any money out of this brilliant and lovingly written book – in fact, she’s literally given it away. She’s a warm and generous person, so much so that she now, in her later years, has very little money to call her own.  So I’d like to invite you to buy the book if you can – because Hungarian food has got to be THE best food in the world, because this book has got recipes for damn near everything – but to help Irena at last realise her lifelong dream of passing her mother’s and grandmother’s traditional recipes on to the world.

Here’s a recipe for vegetarian goulash, which as a vego I love!  If you make it – and like it l- let me know via the Facebook page for the book, at  I’ll be adding more stuff there soon!


Hamis gulyás

2 tablespoon cooking oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

400g soup vegetables cut to bite size

½ teaspoon caraway seed

¼ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)

1 small tomato, skinned and chopped

½ medium capsicum, in one piece

¼ piece chilli pepper (optional)

½ kg potatoes, peeled and cubed

salt to taste

Nokedli (Hungarian dumplings) or soup noodles


Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 2 litre saucepan. Add the onion, stir, and simmer until the onion wilts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika, then add all the other ingredients except the potatoes.

Blend in well, then replace the pot on the heat and add ¼ cup of water. Simmer while covered to allow the vegetables to release their juices.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in four cups of salty water.

Check the vegetables and stir occasionally so that they don’t stick to the bottom.

When the vegetables are cooked down to the fat, but still firm, add the half-cooked potatoes, together with the water in which they are cooked, and boil until both potatoes and vegetables are done. Adjust the consistency by adding more water if needed.

At this stage you can add dumplings or soup noodles, and cook together until they are also done. Serve with rye bread.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s