Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Hungarian Paprika!

From Budapest

While we were on a trip to Budapest, Hungary, we noticed a post card with a wonderful looking market on it. We asked our friends who were showing us around where that market was, and they mentioned it was near our hotel. So, on our last day in Budapest we planned our day; First we would go up the hill with the citadel on it, and then we would walk across the Elizabethan bridge and go to the Market.

In Pest's market there are all sorts of intersesting stands and shops. Many sell vegetables, wine, meat, bread or even, as in the one in the photo, Paprika.

At first it was quite confusing what to buy. A lot of the paprika looks packaged for tourists, with wooden spoons and recipes attached. We wandered around the market, and asked one of the vendors what the differences were in Paprika sold.

The vendor mentioned there were hot and sweet paprikas, but the quality between brands weren't so different. However, there were differences in paprikas with some slightly cheaper varieties having seeds included in the mix, and those slightly more expensive having no seeds in the mix.

I purchased about 1kg of paprika to take home. With 500g being a big bag of regular grade sweet paprika, a small bag of flake and seeds, and two tins of paprika without seeds (and a inexpensive package of saffron threads).

I don't have a recipe yet to post on using paprika, though I plan on trying to come up with a version of the paprika potatoes I had at the open air museum near Szentendre. I have been trying out the paprika, using it to replace the chili powder in enchilada sauce and potato curry so far. I've also made some paprika chicken that turned out pretty tasty. While it is much milder than the hot red chili powder I use in most of my Mexican cooking, it has a nice subtle taste, and is great to use when you want a lot of nice color in the meal without too much heat.


Un-Swiss Miss said...

My better half reaches for paprika all the time: a pinch for the fondue, a spoonful for the mushroom cream sauce he makes for Züricher style veal, a generous sprinkle for his pizza instead of the crushed red chilis I prefer. But I agree with you. On its own, paprika seems better for color than flavor, though maybe the real Hungarian stuff is more intense than what I get in supermarkets.

I do find that the subtle sweet-smokiness of paprika works wonders in Moroccan dishes, such as a spice-rubbed leg of lamb which features the stuff rather prominently. When the paprika's missing, the dish somehow lacks depth.

Z said...

I, too, use the sweet paprika for color sometimes. It's nice to get that red without making it too hot to eat as you say.

Z said...

Apropos your comment regarding Raps vs broccoli on my blog, you were correct. I went over to look and all the seed pods are out now. I'll have to make a post.

Z said...

Don't know where else to put this, so. I was browsing through the Williams Sonoma website and came upon this recipe for a cherry pie that asks for sweet cherries. Search for "latticed cherry pie" at

I'm probably not going to try it out, but I thought it might interest you.

See you, Z in Villigen

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