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Goulash is primarily a soup, also existing as stew, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, red onions, vegetables, spices and ground paprika powder. The name originates from the Hungarian gulyás ( IPA: /ˈgujaːʃ/ ), the word for a cattle stockman or herdsman.

In Hungary


Hungarian Gulyásleves, Goulash soup
Hungarian Goulash
Gulyás is a typical food of Hungary (often called "Goulash"). Gulyásleves is prepared as a soup (leves meaning soup). The dish Gulyás or Bográcsgulyás was traditionally a thick stew made by cattle stockmen; today, it is still prepared in both soup and stew form. The traditional Hungarian stews Goulash, Pörkölt, and Paprikás all originated as herdsmens stews and are considered to be the national dishes of Hungary. It is best to keep them simple: they do not really need anything else than the onions and paprika (hot and/or mild), although garlic, a little tomato for the colour, a small amount of caraway seed, fresh green pepper when in season, and wine for game, are always acceptable. Other herbs and spices should be avoided. Flour is used only for paprikás (see below), never for gulyásleves or pörkölt.

An important rule for all kinds of goulash, pörkölt and paprikás is to start by frying the onions in the fat until light gold (never darker), take the pan off the fire, immediately add the paprika powder to the hot mixture and stir well, then add the meat and stir again to coat the meat well with the onion-fat-paprika mixture before returning the pot to the fire. This ensures that the flavour of the paprika is released by contact with the hot fat, but that it does not burn or become bitter, which can easily happen if the pan is not taken off the fire first.

Goulash can be prepared from beef, veal, pork, or lamb. Typical cuts include the shank, shin, or shoulder; as a result, goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, and then browned with sliced onions in a pot with oil or lard. Paprika is added, along with water or stock, and the goulash is left to simmer. After cooking a while, garlic, whole or ground caraway seeds, or soup vegetables like carrot, parsnip, peppers (green or bell pepper), celery and a small tomato may be added. Other herbs and spices could also be added, especially hot chili peppers, bay leaf and thyme. Diced potatoes may be added, since they provide starch as they cook, which makes the goulash thicker and smoother. A small amount of white wine or wine vinegar may also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste. Goulash may be served with small egg noodles called csipetke The name Csipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csip =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup.

Hungarian goulash varieties

Hungarian Goulash served with pasta
Hungarian goulash variations
  • Gulyás à la Szegedmarker. Reduce the potatoes and add vegetables.

  • Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style. Omit the home made soup pasta (csipetke) and add vegetables.

  • Mock Gulyás. Substitute the meat with beef bones and add vegetables. Also called Hamisgulyás, (Fake Goulash or Gypsy goulash).

  • Bean Gulyás. Omit the potatoes and the caraway seeds. Use kidney beans instead.

  • Csángó Gulyás. Add sauerkraut and rice instead of pasta and potatoes.

  • Betyár Gulyás. Use smoked beef or smoked pork for meat.

  • Likócsi Pork Gulyás. Use pork and thin vermicelli in the goulash instead of potato and soup pasta. Flavour with lemon juice.

  • Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás. Made with mutton. Add red wine for flavour.

A thicker and richer goulash, similar to a stew, originally made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and archivist József Székely (1825-1895).

Some cookbooks suggest using roux with flour to thicken the goulash, which produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using a vast amount of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato purée, may improve the taste and texture, but the original goulash is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible. Many Hungarian chefs consider tomatoes to be absolutely forbidden in goulash and they also feel that if they cook a stew instead of a soup, it should only be thickened by finely chopped potatoes, which must be simmered along with the meat.


Pörkölt in Hungary
Another Hungarian stew using ground paprika, developed around 1800 from the old, original Goulash, is the Pörkölt, a meat stew (without any potato or pasta in the stew) for which the meat is browned slightly in the base fat before the liquid is added. The word Pörkölt derives from the Hungarian verb "pörkölni" which means "to roast" or "to singe". The Hungarian cuisine has many variation of this dish.

Pörkölt is made of boneless diced meat, onion, , garlic, and paprika powder. Tomatoes and bell peppers are usually added in summer, but they can be dispensed with. Pörkölt made from game is usually enriched with wine and marjoram. The dish is slowly simmered on low temperature. Small, thin green hot peppers, (green chili pepper), a little caraway,and black pepper are common additions to the basic recipe. The pörkölt's sauce is rich and flavourful and should barely cover the meat.

Red meats are best for pörkölt: most common are beef and pork, but other meats can be used as well, like lamb, rabbit, goose, and game, venison or boar. Tripe and liver is also used.A popular meal in traditional Hungarian cuisine is a pörkölt made of tripe, called Pacalpörkölt. (Pacal is the Hungarian word for tripe). It has a unique and very distinguishable taste, often being quite spicy.

In Hungary pörkölt is served with side dishes like galuska/nokedli, which are a kind of small dumpling, buttered potatoes, mashed potatoes, pasta (tészta) or tarhonya (big pasta grains) and pickles. The Hungarian dish Pörkölt resembles the Ragù.

Paprikás krumpli

"Paprikás krumpli" is a paprika-based potato stew in which diced potatoes replace the meat, with onion, tomato, bell peppers, ground paprika and some bacon or sliced spicy sausage, like the Debrecener sausage.In German-speaking countries, Kartoffelgulasch ("potato goulash") is a less-expensive goulash-substitute, made with sausage; similar to "Paprikás krumpli". Paprikás krumpli is a proverbial, traditional, tasty poor man's dish in Hungary.

Outside Hungary

Thick stews similar to pörkölt and the original cattlemen stew are popular throughout almost all the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, from Northeast Italy to the Carpates. Like pörkölt, these stews are generally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, polenta, dumplings, spatzle or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.

Goulash in Germany

Gulasch, Rindergulasch or Gulaschsuppe is a beef stew with potatoes in a rich tomato based broth.

Goulash in The Netherlands

The Dutch also prepare a version of the goulash (vleesstoofpot). While the Hungarian national dish refers mostly to the soup, in The Netherlands, it is more related to the Pörkölt. There are some variations however to the Dutch goulash, using beef, lamb or pork and even fish.

Goulash in Italy

Goulash is found in Italy, in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the autonomous Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region, as a regular Sunday dish.

North American goulash

In the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, various adaptations have made the dish more suitable for local preferences. Ground beef frequently replaces stew beef in North American recipies , which reduces the cost as well as the cooking time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other ingredients are added and the dish might be ready to serve in as little time as 20 to 30 minutes. North American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles, pasta, or elbow macaroni. This form of the dish was made popular by its inclusion in popular cookbooks in the early and mid twentieth century, such as Betty Crocker's Cookbook.
  • Goulash is also a slang term in some parts of the United States, particularly the South, for a dish made with miscellaneous left-overs. Noodles or potatoes are usually added thereafter.

Goulash in the Slavic Cuisines

Goulash ( ) is also very popular in most parts of Croatiamarker, especially north (Hrvatsko Zagorjemarker) and Likamarker. It's considered to be part of traditional cuisine. In Gorski Kotar and Likamarker deer and boar frequently replace beef - Lovački gulaš. There is also Goulash with porcini mushrooms (Gulaš od vrganja). Bacon is an important part of Croatian goulash.

Gulaš is often served with fuži, njoki, palenta or pasta.In Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian ciganski gulaš) is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g. pork loin, bacon, or mutton. In Sloveniamarker, they are known as Perkelt, but are often referred to as "goulash" or a similar name.

In Slovene partizanski golaž, partisan goulash, favoured by Slovenianmarker partisans during the Second World War, and still regularly served at mass public events; most meat is replaced with quartered potatoes. It's not as thick as goulash, but thicker than goulash soup.

Goulash ( ) is also popular in Polandmarker, dish is similar to hungarian Pörkölt and it is usually eaten with buckwheat kasha.

In the Czech Republic Goulash is made with beef, dark bread and beer added to the stew.


  • Writer and filmmaker Stephanie Yuhas published a series of short stories and films in 2007 called American goulash, a term used describe the medley of culture a person develops as a Transylvanian-Americanmarker.

See also


Gundel's Hungarian Cookbook, Karoly Gundel, Budapest, CORVINA. ISBN 963 13 3733 2

Betty Crocker's Cookbook


  1. page 20
  2. Gundel's Hungarian Cookbook, Karoly Gundel.
  3. Famous Hungarian recipes
  4. page 31
  5. page 21
  6. page 56
  7. Famous Hungarian recipes Pork pörkölt
  8. Famous Hungarian recipes Lamb pörkölt
  9. Rindergulasch Lieblings-Rezepte
  10., [1], retrieved 22 September 2009

External links


See recipe at Wikibooks Cookbook.

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