Paprikás Csirke
Serves 4
Paprika Chicken
  1. Whole chicken cut into pieces
  2. 2 large onions, peeled and minced
  3. 1 1/2 t salt
  4. 2 T lard (or oil)
  5. 2 T paprika
  6. 1 tomatoe, skinned & chopped
  7. 1 red pepper sliced
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish if desired
  9. Nokedli (dumplings) for 4 people
  10. 4 cups flour
  11. 4 eggs
  12. water
  1. Heat the lard (or oil) in the pot, add the onions and some salt, and cook over low heat for around 20min. Turn off the heat and stir in the paprika. Add the tomatoes and mix. Turn the heat back on low and place the chicken pieces in the pot. Cover and cook for around 30min. Remove lid and add sliced red peppers and cook for another 10min. Turn heat off and mix in the sour cream, turn heat low and cook for a minute or two.
  2. For the nokedli mix the egg and flour in a bowl and mix in some water until you have a gooey consistency. Get a small cutting board and a knife and cut little pieces into the boiling water (with some salt). The ready dumplings will float to the surface which you fish out with a slotted spoon into a serving dish. Add a tiny bit of butter so they don't stick together.
Two Little Piggies by Miki Nava

There is something about paprika itself that makes it synonymous with 'Hungarian'. 'Fiery, spicy, temperamental', all these adjectives suggest both paprika and the Hungarian national character. Paprika is to the Hungarian cuisine what wit is to its conversation, not just a superficial garnish, but an integral element, a very special and unique flavor instantly recognizable.
- George Lang, author of The Cuisine of Hungary

During University in South Africa, I used to live with a girl named Gina. We then continued to live together in London after University. To this day, she has remained one of my closest friends, and my girls absolutely adore her. Gina's mother is Hungarian and once in a while Gina would make this dish she learnt from her mother, which I absolutely love. Now I like to make it for my kids, who love it equally.

Paprikás Csirke (Paprika Chicken) is a popular Hungarian dish, and is a brilliant comfort food. Universally it is called chicken paprikash. 'Paprikash' comes from the word paprika, and describes a range of stew-like dishes made with meat, onions, paprika and sour cream. In Hungary there are 8 types of paprika, ranging from sweet to mildly hot and very hot. The colour of the spices varies from mild to bright red - the brightest red paprika being the hottest! For this dish, it's better to use édes names (sweet paprika).

There are so many variations of this dish, some make it with tomatoes, others without, some make it with water, some with chicken stock, some make it with peppers, some not, some add cream, others add sour cream…. I am sticking to Gina's mother's recipe. She doesn't use any water or chicken stock because enough liquid comes out of the chicken when cooking.

I liquidised the sauce because my kids are so fussy when it comes to onions, but normally you would leave it as it is. Also, unfortunately it is quite impossible for me to get proper Hungarian paprika here, so I had to just get the local 'sweet' paprika.

The dish is traditionally served with 'nokedli', which is dumpling-like boiled egg noodles, a broad noodle similar to spaetzle. Ale helped me with the cooking tonight, and he enjoyed fishing out the nokedli dumplings that float to the surface.

The dish was a success! Gaja and Soraya had more and more chicken, while the boys enjoyed the nokedli with the sauce more. But all in all everyone enjoyed the dish.

This dish is one of my favourite comfort foods!