Master Class: Hungarian memories

Rediscover the wonders of Hungarian Jewish cuisine on a new Internet application that offers many easy-to-prepare recipes alongside nostalgic anecdote.

cherry soup311 (photo credit: Michal Ravivo)
cherry soup311
(photo credit: Michal Ravivo)
Ofer Vardi, journalist and foodie, grew up on his beloved grandmother’s Hungarian cooking.
Only after she died did he realize that the aromas of her delicacies had disappeared with her forever. Armed with a battered notebook of recipes and his countless memories of Grandma Nana, Vardi embarked on his quest: to try to recreate the much-loved flavors of a time gone by. A year in Budapest helped bring him even closer to one of the world’s greatest cuisines.
In 2006, “Going Paprikash,” a weekly Hebrew-language column on the secrets of Hungarian cooking, hit the Internet and was an instant success, garnering demand for a book that became a best-seller. (The book Going Paprikash and recipes are now available as a special edition for iPhone and iPad.) The next stage was an Internet application called Going Paprikash with 120 easy-to-prepare kosher Hungarian recipes, enhanced with tantalizing photographs and many nostalgic stories, home movies and classic Hungarian music, all of which will surely entice any cooking enthusiast into the kitchen.
The application includes a search engine, shopping lists, a timer for cooking and baking, sharing options and a few surprises. Vardi dedicates the application “to everyone who longs for Rakott Krumpli, Paprikás Csirke, Gombóc and, in general, to all who miss Grandma’s cooking, whether Grandma was Hungarian or not.”
Here is but a taste from the application’s many recipes. For more delicious Hungarian dishes, go to
CHERRY SOUP (MEGGYLEVES)Makes 4 ✔ 1⁄2 kg. cherries (pitted) ✔ 3 cups water ✔ 1 cup (250 ml.) whipping cream or 1 cup (200 ml.) sour cream ✔ Juice and zest of 1 lemon ✔ 3⁄4 cup (150 gr.) sugar ✔ 4 cloves
✔ 1 level Tbsp. flour ✔ 1 tsp. cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
In a large pot, cook cherries with water, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves and sugar for 10 minutes.
In a separate dish, mix flour and sour cream or whipping cream well until a smooth and uniform mixture forms.
Keeping pot over heat, add the flour-sour cream mixture to the pot very slowly while stirring continuously. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Important: If you are using sour cream, do not to boil the soup because boiling will cause the sour cream to separate.
Cool thoroughly. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Note: The soup tastes better the following day.CHOCOLATE MOUSSE SQUARES (RIGÓ JANCSI)
For a 26 x 31 cm. pan
For the base:
✔ 6 eggs, separated
✔ 100 gr. sugar
✔ 2 Tbsp. cocoa
✔ 6 Tbsp. flour
For the cream:
✔ 100 gr. sugar
✔ 1 generous Tbsp. cocoa
✔ 10 gr. vanilla sugar
✔ 2 cups (500 ml.) whipping cream
For the frosting:
✔ 150 gr. dark chocolate
✔ 250 gr. butter
Prepare the base:
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Add cocoa and flour.
Whip the egg whites and add to the batter by gently folding them in.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake in a preheated 180º oven for half an hour. Cool.
Remove the cake from the pan. Slice it width-wise into two layers.
Prepare the cream: In a bowl, mix sugar, cocoa and vanilla sugar.
Whip the cream and slowly add the sugar and cocoa mixture while whipping.
Place one half of the cake on a platter and spread on the cream.
Prepare the frosting: Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Pour the hot chocolate on the top layer of cake and immediately slice it into squares before the chocolate hardens. Cool.
Place each chocolate square on the layer of whipped cream.
All the recipes are from the book Going Paprikash by Ofer Vardi. Design by 2littlePiggies Studio, Lunch Box.