All about Hungary: Salads


Posted on Apr 7, 2010| | | No comments:
It is useful to know that traditionally Hungarians do not eat raw vegetables for salad as appetizer (entré) but mainly sauring (marinated) vegetables to eat together with meat dishes (side salad). Here you find some salades...

Hungarian Summer Pickled Cucumbers

Some call it 'dill cucumber', some 'home-made pickled cucumber with a hint of dill', others refer to it as 'summer cucumbers'. Clearly, there is no exact term for kovászos uborka in English. It is so popular in Hungary, that a summer would not be the same without the sight of huge jars placed in windows or on balconies. Many Hungarians buy pickles sold from huge barrels by small family businesses, in preference to factory-made preparations. Some market stands can have as many as twenty varieties, a sight not to be missed in itself. Kovászos uborka, however, can easily be prepared by your grandmother, or even by you.

The Hungarians make two types of pickled cucumbers: one is made when the cucumbers first come into season. They are fermented with yeast and the cucumbers sour within a few days and can be eaten straight away (bread is used as the source of yeast). Also, there is the sweet and sour variety, where cucumbers are pickled in vinegar and are kept for use during the winter ('csemege uborka' we won't deal with, as it is commercially available in large quantities).

Hungarian Summer Pickled Cucumbers
(Kovászos Uborka)

5 liter, wide mouthed glass jar
7-12 cm cucumbers - enough to fill jar
3 liters of water
2 tablespoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of fresh dill
1-2 thick slices of bread

Make sure the jar is perfectly clean (or at least there are no cucumbers in it from last year...). Wash them and trim off each end. Cut each vertically without going through the end (check close-up picture for a cross-sectional view). Boil the water with the salt.
Place 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill in the bottom of the jar. Arrange the prepared cucumbers in the jar on top of the garlic and dill. Place the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill on top of the cucumbers and pour over the hot liquid making sure the cucumbers are covered.

Place the bread on top of the liquid. Put a lid on the jar and place in the sun for 2-3 days. You must have sunny, warm weather, or the magic won't work. When the cucumbers begin to turn yellow they are ready.

Remove the bread and put the jar into the refrigerator for at least a day before using.
Serve chilled.

Dániel Beke

Beetroot with horseradish 

Cékla ("TSE-KLA" - beetroot) is ubiquitous in Hungary, and is most commonly eaten plain as a side "salad," or grated into mixed salads. Vinegary cékla salad flavored with horseradish is traditionally eaten at the pig killing feasts (disznótoros) that take place across Hungary every winter.

Serves 4 - 6

  •   bunch of six beetroot
  •   1 x 150 gr pot of Greek-style Natural Yoghurt
  •   10 ml (2 tbsp) creamed horseradish
  •   2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) Dijon mustard
  •   salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Twist off beetroot tops, then trim root tips and rinse carefully. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for approximately 1 hour or until tender.
2. Combine the yoghurt, horseradish, mustard and seasoning.
3. Drain and peel the beetroot when cool enough to handle.
4. Cut into quarters and fill the centres with the sauce. Serve immediately garnished with chopped chives.

Microwaving is a good way of saving valuable cooking time. Prepare the beetroot as above. Place in a dish with 150 ml (1/4 pint) of water. Cover and cook on high for 15 - 20 minutes or until tender, turning the beetroot every 5 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then continue as above.

Cabbage salad

1 cabbage head
1 small onion
white vinegar
oil – peanut or vegetable (not olive oil)
Sugar or Sugar substitute
Salt & Pepper

Use a V-Slicer and slice cabbage head finely into a bowl. Mince the onion or finely slice or chop (your preference). Mix the dressing: 5 tablespoons oil, 2-3 tablespoons vinegar (try it with 2 first, but for me 3 is better), 1 teaspoon sugar, salt (1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (taste and adjust). Pour dressing over the cabbage. With VERY clean hands, put your hands into the bowl. Mix and squeeze the cabbage quite a lot, so it makes juice.  Taste, add more seasoning if needed. Put in fridge. The salad is good for quite a few days. Serves 4 to 6.
Very yummy with all kinds of meats, especially BBQ, but also great with smallgoods like Continental Frankfurts and Knackwurst.

Sources :

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