Although it was brought into the country by the Turks in the 16th century, Hungarian paprika became the symbol of local cuisine. Many of the Hungarian dishes are based on the same cooking technique: warm up some fat, throw in sliced onion, cook slowly until the onion becomes soft and translucent, then add some paprika spice and stir it. The simple combination of onion and paprika cooking in sizzling hot fat provides a characteristic peppery aroma that every Hungarian instantly recognizes. This is the basis of some of the most well-known Hungarian dishes.
What is Hungarian paprika?
Sweet capsicum peppers, which are similar to red bell peppers, are dried, ground and sifted through a variety of screens to produce this bright red flavorful powder called paprika. It can be sweet or hot depending what kind of pepper it was made from. Hungarians also call the plant itself from which the spice is made “paprika”. The paprika plant is often consumed by the Hungarians for breakfast with a slice of bread and butter. Paprika has a significant medicinal value. It’s the greatest source of vitamin C.
What is Hungarian paprika used for?
This paprika has a sweet taste with a barely perceptible heat that makes it perfect for two classic Hungarian dishes: goulash and chicken paprikash. It can also be used as a finishing touch for deviled eggs, to season chicken, rice, potatoes, and vegetables, and is commonly used as a base for creating seasoning blends.
Hungarian paprika production
Due to the favourable geographical conditions and great climate, Hungarians are not only consumers, but also the one of the leading producers of the paprika spice in the world. The heart of the production is in the southern, most sunny part of the country, in Szeged and in Kalocsa. Kalocsa even has a paprika museum, where the origins as well as the different techniques of paprika production is explained.