“……… I DO IT MY WAY! …..”

I am pretty certain that most of us have a favourite ‘comfort soup’ – for some it is chicken soup, for others a nice vegetable soup, but for me my absolute No 1 soup is “GULYÀS”.

This ‘love affair’ goes back quite a few decades now and I can never get tired of this.

For you who are not familiar with this deliciousness: GULYÀS is actually a soup! And what is generally referred to as Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás) is in fact known as Pörkölt in Hungary which in fact is a One-pot dish, (sort of stew) and that’s why we can find cubes of potatoes in this dish. And as our Hungarian friend in Vienna assured us, a Pörkölt has absolutely nothing to do with Gulyás.

A few years ago JS decided literally on the spur of a moment to take me to Vienna for my birthday, a city which neither of us had been to previously. We spent two glorious weeks there, seeing “the sites”, visiting friends, etc. But the highlight of our stay was a visit to the “Wiener Staatsoper” to see a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” – no question about it, this was my most happiest birthday!

Our friends, Katharina and Sandor (who is a true Hungarian!) ‘wined and dined’ us royally during our stay, but when Katharina learned of my passion for a ‘Hungarian Gulyás Soup’, she of course cooked a splendid version of her husband’s traditional Soup for us. Thank you, my friends!

Like most traditional recipes one can seldom find the same one in two households. Every family for generations will put their own little ‘tweak’ to this dish.

And once I started writing the recipe here, floods of (nice) memories came back from quite a long long time ago.

The nearest big city to my hometown Bonn is of course Cologne. And it was and still is quite common to quickly drive or take one of the super trains to this city for Lunch, Shopping or Dinner.

And there one can find one of the famous Restaurants called “Pusztahuette” on the “Neumarkt’ which only serves one dish, and one dish only – yes, you guessed it “Gulyás (Soup)”. This restaurant is still going strong even after nearly 50 years!!! They also sell Gulyás in tins to take home and if you take your own container to this restaurant they fill it with the Soup to be enjoyed at home. Oh, how often I went there with friends for a most enjoyable meal.

Because I started to live around the world, I had to come up with my very own version of this wonderful “Gulyás” which today I like to share with you. And so, although it is not quite like the original recipe, my version is nevertheless most delicious. Maybe you will give it a try one day.

For 4 people you will need:

1 kg of pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 x Tbsp of Vegetable oil
3 x cloves of garlic, minced
2 x big onions, sliced
2 x Capsicum, I like to use 2 different colours, sliced finely
2 x medium sized potatoes, peeled and grated
2 x tsp of caraway seeds
2 x tsp of marjoram
3 x Tbsp concentrated tomato paste

A very generous shot of dry red wine
3 x tsp of paprika, mild
3 x tsp of paprika, hot
1 x Tbsp of “Lingham’s Chilly sauce” – (if liked!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 – 4 x cups of water

And this here is how I do it.

Heat oil in large/wide pot.
Add meat, few pieces at the time, and brown slightly before taking it out again and keep aside.
Now add sliced onions, sliced garlic, and the capsicums, stir and let also brown very slightly.
After some time add the meat, tomato paste, the 2 types of paprika, marjoram and caraway seeds, stir well.
After 5 minutes add the water, cover your pot and let this simmer until meat is NEARLY tender.
Now add your red wine, stir, and also add “Lingham’s Chilly Sauce” and the grated potatoes.
Stir, cover and let simmer for another 10 minutes maximum.

How to plate

Fill your soup cups or soup plates with this delicious fare. Sprinkle some finely chopped spring onion greens over this and finish everything off with a dollop of Crème fraîche.

N.B. Here are some tips which I learned over the years out of sheer necessity, i.e. non-availability of certain items.

If you cannot get decent Paprika use 2 types of chilli powder, one for heat and Kashmiri powder for colour.

This dish is equally delicious made from beef.

I like to add the grated potatoes, they give the Gulyás body – remember, this is not a thin soup at all.

That’s it – enjoy!




  1. That looks delicious. It’s amazing that paprika has become so closely associated with Hungarian cuisine, since it didn’t arrive there until the 19th Century. Apparently Gulyás goes back ten centuries before that. I wonder what they cooked the pork with back then, since the paprika, potato, capsicum and tomato were all brought to Europe by the Spanish, from South America. Of course one could say that about most European cuisine – for example, it’s hard to imagine Italian food without tomatoes!

  2. Since I tried to be a ‘good Hungarian wife’ to a guy who believed no woman could cook for a whole four years, including a summer in the then Communist Hungary, I ate more than my fill of the said dish 🙂 ! Yours is a nice punchy version: altho’ I departed not only from husband-dear but Hungarian cuisine, I should really try your version, except for using beef rather than pork . . Lingham’s chilli methinks is your very own addition 🙂 !! That aside, Vienna is not ‘my town’ but I also relish the memory of quite a few evenings at the Staatsoper, altho’ I was always more interested in their vey good symphony and philharmonic orchestra’s . . . .best . . .

    • Unlike you, Vienna is my town – Paris is not!!! Memories are an important factor here, of course.
      Would have loved to hear the Vienna Symphony and Philharmonic orchestra’s live – alas, time was against us on that trip. But the memory of “La Traviata” (which I had seen a couple of times in London) lingers on.

  3. This looks a fantastic filling soup, with all the flavours I love. We are just at the beginning of the long hot summer in Beijing, so I have saved it for making in November when the weather demands a really hearty warming soup. Thank you!!

  4. My pleasure! and thanks for writing. Hope you are well – have not seen you around. Will you have an open fire? If yes, that soup tastes even better sitting in front of the said fire getting all warm, inside and out 🙂 🙂

  5. Oh, I do like the sounds of your Gulyas. It differs somewhat from our Gulasch, which doesn’t include the marjoram and caraway which I’m sure will kick the flavor up a notch. Using a blend of hot and medium paprika is genius. But, what I’m most curious about is the Lingham’s Chilly sauce. Never tried it, but will look for it at our English shop in Malmö when next there. Thanks for a new look at how to make Gulasch.

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