The Hungarian word nudli (noodle) was inherited from the “schupfnudel” (also called finger noodles), which spread throughout south German and Austrian kitchens. The version which is still popular today reached Hungary through Jewish cooks during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. However, Slovak halusky (potato dumplings) could already be found in Hungarian recipe books as early as the 18th century.
Translation by Tamás Vaski
A little bit south of Hungary, Italians call such noodles gnocchi, but gnocchi is spherical and typically served in salty dishes.
The version of noodles which has spread throughout Hungary is prepared from potato dough and wheat flour – and similarly to Austria’s eastern regions, it is served sweet. Poppy seed noodles are unique to Hungary, particularly because poppy seeds are not consumed in nearly as great of a quantity elsewhere as they are in Hungary. Furthermore, even growing poppy seeds is illegal in most countries around the world because of the ingredient’s use in the production of opioids.
Poppy Seed Nudli
- 500 g potatoes
- 150-160 g fine flour
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of cooking fat
- 100 g poppy seeds
- 40 g powdered sugar
Peel the potatoes and cook them in salty water until they are soft. Drain them, mash them with a potato press, then leave them to cool for a bit.
When the potatoes are warm enough to touch, add the flour, the salt, and the egg, then knead a mediumly hard dough out of the mix. (The amount of flour the dough picks up depends on the size of the egg and the type of potatoes as well.)
Cover a cutting board in flour, place the dough on top of it, then tear rods as thick as fingers from it. Cut those rods into 3-4 cm pieces and twist them into nudli with quick movements.
Boil the nudli in semi-salted boiling water. When the pieces come up to the surface of the water, boil them for another minute before removing them from the pot. It is worth boiling the dough in multiple portions and plenty of water. This keeps the pieces from sticking together.
Once the noodles have been removed from the boiling water, rinse them in cold water then spin the pieces around in some butter and oil.
Finally, pour the poppy seeds, mixed with the powdered sugar, on top of the nudli. The dish can be served hot or cold.
Photos and Featured photo by Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today