Paprikás csirke. Paprika is everywhere. There is little chance you try something traditional in Hungary that does not contain the peppery spice. Hungarians are surely among the top places in the world in the consumption of paprika that’s for sure but how did the story of paprika in Hungary unfold?
Some historians claim that paprika came to Hungary with the Ottomans, a claim supported by the name used for the spice at the time. Others claim Portugal and its merchants, heavily involved in the spice emporium of the time with the Far East was the country that brought the spice to Hungary when the Ottomans closed most of the essential trade routes to the East after the fall of Constantinople and Hungarians were looking for a spice that could replace pepper.
Although Hungary was an importer of the spice for many years after its introduction, its popularity and health benefits led to the production of paprika in Hungary since the beginning of the 18th century which made the spice more affordable than pepper and hence used by poor and rich alike. Today Hungarian paprika has become widely famous in many countries across the world.
According to thehungarianpaprika.hu “It is available in many different versions with varying colors and hotness: the brighter the color, the hotter paprika usually is. The main reason why paprika can cause a burning sensation in the mouth is a chemical called capsaicin that can be extracted from the plant. However, hotness is not the only characteristics of capsaicin: thanks to its inflammatory and painkiller effect, it can be found in many different medications. This means that eating paprika has excellent health benefits as well. Fresh Hungarian paprika has a high amount of Vitamin C so eating it on the regular can help you stay healthy and energized.”
If you want to taste one of the most typical paprika dishes in Hungarian cuisine then you could opt for the Paprikás csirke, which is of course named for the large amount of paprika used to prepare it. Chicken legs or thighs are fried lightly and then stewed in a mix of chopped onions and tomatoes that are covered in a generous amount of paprika powder and paprika pepper sliced into rings. It is typically eaten with galuska (also known by its German name, späetzle) a popular soft egg noodle that is popular in Hungary and throughout Central Europe.
Barack & Szilva is a restaurant with nice and pleasant atmosphere in the heart of Budapest, on the edge of lively “party-district”. One of their specialties is this particular dish. Carefully prepared dishes in a calm, cozy, friendly environment. “No frills, only high-quality raw materials, expertise and hospitality.” The chef, György Gunst has decades of experience: the menu was set according to this.
The guests can taste the traditional Hungarian cuisine and also the delicious dishes of the French, Italian and Jewish cuisine. The place also has set a wine list with the finest Hungarian wines. The aim was to create a home-style cuisine in a rustic-modern environment. This, combined with the heart-warming play of Kálmán Varga, the dulcimer-master creates the harmony of flavors and melodies.