While it may be completely different in its modern form, lángos, in its original style, is the most ancient piece of Hungarian cuisine in the world. It is as old as bread, as it was created with the leftovers of the ancient grain, from the small clumps of dough that stuck to the kneading bowl during its preparation. A person of the past era ate lángos while bread was in the oven, since it was baked sooner thanks to its smaller size.
Translation by Tamás Vaski
The filling of the oven alone was already a costly operation, meaning that an individual would only bake bread every 5-6 days back then. On the special day that they set to heating up the oven, there was usually no more bread leftover, and so lángos became the chosen meal of the day.
The lángos of that time was similar to today’s bread lángos. The popular fried lángos we know today was first seen at the end of the 1950s, primarily offered by small business restaurant owners. The first locations where it was available were large cities and beaches, but once the beach-buffet reform of the 70s came around the Hake-Lángos-Crepe holy trinity became king, and has remained at the top ever since.
Just like every other nation, Hungary has its own simple but filling street food: lángos. It is available in countless different flavors, the most popular being sour cream and garlic, the variation which unavoidably brings to mind vacations at Lake Balaton.
The popularity of lángos has spread to our neighbors as well. It can be found at festivals and markets in Austria, in the same way that it is offered in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or even Romania.
- 350 ml lukewarm water
- 25 g yeast
- 500 g flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Plenty of oil for frying
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream
Heat the water in a pot until it is lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar, then wait until it rises. Mix the salt with the flour in a bowl, then pour in the water with the risen yeast, and knead it all into a dough. Let it sit for an hour.
Rub some cooking oil into your palms and tear tennis ball-sized pieces from the dough, molding each into a disk shape. Fry each piece in plenty of hot oil. A few minutes on both sides is enough to make them crispy.
Placed the fried lángos on paper towels and cover each piece with generous amounts of sour cream and grated cheese. According to preference, garlic can also be rubbed onto the top of each piece prior to adding the sour cream and the cheese.
Photos and featured photo by Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today