Hungarian Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves) is a rich and aromatic soup filled with hearty vegetables, beef, sweet Hungarian paprika, parikacrem, petite little dumplings and lots of fresh parsley is sure to warm you up and cures what ails you this fall.
My dear friend, Anna, showed me how to make this traditional Hungarian soup just like her mother and grandmother used to make. Anna is from Hungary and is a beautiful musician and conductor. I love listening to her music and was very lucky to have her as a next door apartment neighbour for a few months. She is even a better cook!
Anna brought with her a little taste of Hungary with her on her arrival to Hong Kong. She had homemade freshly ground Hungarian Paprika. It is vibrant red/orange colour and makes all of your dishes taste amazing.
What is Paprikacrem?
Anna also brought with her a few tubes of “Paprikacrem” that is a wonderful combination of roasted peppers, chilis and tomatoes and not like anything I have ever tasted before. I think this would be very difficult to replicate but it tastes similar to tomato paste mixed with pureed roasted red peppers and pureed roasted red chilis and salt. So if you wanted to make this dish and cannot find paprikacrem, then this would be my exchange.
What is a Pörkölt?
Anna started off making a Pörkölt which is a stew with boneless meat, paprika, tomato, onion, garlic, paprika creme and paprika and already her house smelled amazing. This is the delicious base for the Hungarian Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves).
Secret Ingredient to Hungarian Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves)
Then after she added the potatoes, carrots, water and dumpling it was a rich and aromatic Hungarian goulash. Hungarian goulash is one of the national dishes of Hungary. Hungarian goulash is a stew with more gravy or a soup using meat, paprika, vegetables and potato and tiny dumplings simmered along with the meat. I know that some people add caraway seeds to the soup base but this was not in her families recipe, instead they used the fragrant and delicious paprikacrem.
My favourite part of the soup is making the dumplings. They are sweet little petite dumplings made simply with eggs, salt and just enough flour so that it makes a soft drop biscuit. These biscuits are tender and float to the top when they are done and make the Gulyásleves a hearty and delicious soup. If you like dumplings, you may want to try our Grandma’s Chicken and Sliders Recipe.
Where can you find Parsley Roots in Hong Kong?
Anna has moved to Hong Kong and could find the parsley roots anywhere that she used to find in Hungary as this was part of her families’ Gulyásleves recipe. The straight up answer to that is you can’t, so you must substitute. So we exchanged with lots of extra flat leaf fresh parsley in her soup and it was lovely. Anna also used the Hungarian brand of vegetable bouillon powder called “Vegeta” but you could exchange with your favourite brand of vegetable powder (bouillon powder). I brought Anna over some fresh parsnips, thinking they were the same product. I was wrong.
Root Parsley vs parsnips
Just as a FYI, parsley root and parsnip are similar in appearance, but they are two completely different vegetables. Root parsley tastes like parsley. Parsnips have a taste all of their own and are kind of sweet. There’s also a difference in how the leaves are arranged at the top of the root. Root parsley has leaves sporadically on top of the root. However, parsnips leaves are in a tidily inside a ring, much like that of carrots. Root parsley is usually around 11-12 inches long and parsnips are similar to the length of a carrot. The root parsley is rather thin, like a carrot. Parsnips are sometimes double the diameter of carrots. However, we could talk about this until we are blue in the face, still no parsley roots in Hong Kong. Full stop!
I hope that your family enjoys this recipe as much as my family did. I highly recommending doubling this recipe if you have hungry teenagers at home as they will love this comforting soup after a stressful back to school day.
Thank you so much Anna for a lovely lunch and tutorial on how to make one of Hungary’s most loved dishes, Hungarian Goulash Soup Gulyásleves.
More Delicious Cozy Soup Recipe
Hungarian Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves)
Recipe Courtesy of Anna Feher
Hungarian Goulash Soup Base
- 1 tbsp oil
(sunflower or other light tasting oil)
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
peeled and minced
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
(we used the Hungarian Vegeta brand but you can use whatever vegetable powder you like)
- 3 tsp Hungarian Paprika
- 1 cup tomatoes
chopped (we used little cherry tomatoes and cut in half)
- 8 oz beef
2 eye of beef steaks
- white pepper
- 2 tbsp Paprikacrem See notes below for exchange ideas
- 6-8 cups water (part for covering beef to simmer and rest to make the soup)
- 3 carrots
peeled and sliced in about 1/4 inch slices
- 2 potatoes
large, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley
large handful of flat leaf parsley chopped, if you can find parsley roots this is even better.
- 1 egg
- 2-3 tbsp flour or just enough to make a thick paste
- Add sunflower oil to a big soup pot along with onions and garlic until sweated off.
- Take the pan off the heat and add paprika and mix. Then add tomatoes, beef and a little white pepper and place back on the burner to cook.
- Add just enough water to cover meat and decrease the heat down to a medium simmer. Cook until tomatoes break down and you can no longer see it, about 20 minutes. You could extend this time if you wished to make the meat more tender with a low and slow cook.
- Add the rest of water, about 6-8 cups and bring to a boil. Add carrots, potatoes and handful of parsley and cook until vegetables are fork tender.
- Make the petite dumplings: In a little bowl beat one egg and add a pinch of salt and about 2-3 tablespoons of flour or just enough flour to make a thick paste pasta dough.
- Drop the pasta into the Hungarian Goulash Soup with just about a teaspoon of pasta dough at a time. The pasta will float up to the top when cooked.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread and enjoy. (Anna liked to garnish her Gulyásleves with a little bit of spicy paprika sauce but I loved it just liked it was, rich and flavorful)